How to protect your pets in the garden

With Spring brings the promise of warmer and longer days, and pet owners across the UK are looking forward to making the most of the season by relaxing in the garden with their four-legged friends.

But while we may love spending time outdoors with our pets, many of us fail to consider the threats that are present in our own back garden.

Gardening experts from The Greenhouse People are on hand to give their top tips for protecting your pets in your garden.

Gated off

A sturdy fence is no longer just to prevent your furry friend from getting out but is now essential for keeping unwanted guests from coming in.

It’s estimated that there has been a 250% increase in dognapping since the pandemic inflated puppy prices, while The Kennel Club reports that a shocking 52% of dogs are stolen from gardens, making it the most likely place a pet will be stolen from.

Ensure your garden is as secure as possible by checking all garden gates are locked and defensive shrubbery is tactically planted around your fence line to prevent intruders from climbing over.

Tech-savvy pet owners may also want to consider investing in extra deterrents such as motion sensor security lights, CCTV and alarm systems.

With all these measures in place, it is still recommended that you adhere to the RSPCA’s advice that you never leave your dog unsupervised while in the garden or at least keep them in view.

Protective planting

Now Spring has arrived, we’re sure to see plants blossoming in our gardens.

Though pleasing on the eye, the fresh colours and smells can be very attractive to pets, enticing them to feast. This may be dangerous, or even fatal, should that plant be poisonous.

A few plants you may not know are poisonous to your pets are…

Tulips – The colourful bloom of tulips are the perfect accent for Spring but avoid keeping them in reach of pets as these plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. On rare occasions, tulip poisoning has also been known to cause heart failure in dogs.

Azaleas – A part of the rhododendron family, Azaleas are considered highly toxic and could cause death in cats and dogs. A vet should be called immediately if these are believed to have been ingested.

Daffodils – Nothing says Spring quite like the sunny-faced Daffodil. However, these friendly flowers are actually poisonous, with the majority of their toxicity stored in their bulb. While low in toxicity, they can still cause upset stomachs and vomiting in cats and dogs.

Spring clean

Much to the dismay of their owners, many dogs will eat their own poo and other animal faeces.

However, this is a very dangerous habit for your dog. It should be quickly discouraged and prevented by regularly removing animal droppings from you garden.

Animal poo can host a variety of diseases and parasites. One of the deadliest for dogs is parvovirus which is highly contagious and often fatal in dogs who are unvaccinated.

Cat stool also poses a very serious threat to both humans and other cats alike and should never be left to fester in the garden.

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which infected cats can pass on to humans through their faeces.

Although in most people it will only cause flu-like symptoms, it can have more severe effects on those with weakened immune systems, such as children or pregnant women.

In the know

You may not know what toxins are in your gardening products, particularly if it is not labelled as unsuitable for pet owners.

Fertilisers, lawn feed and weed killers can all be hazardous to pets, so be careful when using these products.

Many gardeners love to use cocoa mulch for its natural weed prevention – not to mention its chocolatey aroma. However, pets can be poisoned by all products made from cocoa beans. This could even be fatal if large quantities are ingested.

Pet-loving gardeners should be cautious to avoid products that could be harmful and should always strive to use pet-friendly alternatives.