Top tips to keep new dogs safe in the garden

As we begin to enjoy the fresh new beginnings of both early summer and the opportunity to visit family and friends, Natures Menu, reveals its top tips to keep new and visiting canine companions safe and happy whilst out in the garden.

Toxic Plants: Just like human foods, there are many plants that are not harmful to us but are potentially toxic to dogs. Common garden plants such as ivy, daffodils, hydrangea, tulips, rhubarb, and asparagus can all cause illness. It is highly unlikely that a plant will be fatal but do contact your veterinarian urgently if you think that your dog has ingested any toxic plant.

To avoid any horrible mishap, it is always worth searching online or consulting your local garden centre to ask whether particular species of plants are toxic or not. If you already own a toxic plant, remove it or replant in an area where a dog cannot access it, such as a planter or hanging plant pot.

Avoid Fertilisers, Pesticides and Garden Chemicals: Some fertilisers and most pesticides do have ‘irritants to pets’ indicators on the bottles, so do think twice and check before using if you are unsure. Most brands will have customer service lines for FAQs, such as questions regarding exposure to pets.

If you have to use these chemicals, consult the instructions or manufacturer to establish how long the cooling off period is before you can let your dog back onto the lawn to play fetch.

Shelter/shade: Just like humans, dogs love a bit of shelter to call home. Shelters or dog houses provide shade in the baking sun, or a bit of cover during a downpour. If a dog knows that it is the lucky owner of its own canine pad, then it will be more comfortable within the garden environment.

Security: Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that lockdown has spurred on the number of dog thefts in the UK, and the RSPCA is urging dog owners to stay vigilant and invest in good security. Even something as simple as having a sturdier fence with no gaps will do better in stopping thieves from spotting a dog. For some, smart home security tech – such as Amazon’s Ring system – has helped catch thieves before it is too late.

Solid Ground: You might have noticed; dogs love being active and running around. Therefore, it is incredibly important that the ground under their feet is sturdy and flat enough to run about and prance around. This is often overlooked by a lot of new dog owners and there have been some horror stories of dogs getting stuck or injured in holes and grates in the garden.

Make sure all holes and nasty terrain is removed and when it comes to choosing shale or stones for patios and paths, make sure these aren’t small enough to be easily swallowed by a teething dog.

Barbeques: Barbeques are fun and entertaining for humans, but for dogs it can be a different story. First, before the puppy-eyes work their magic, make sure all guests know to say no to giving scraps, which can upset a dog’s tummy –give your pet a healthy chew or stuffed Kong toy to play with so you can eat in peace! Keep dogs at a safe distance from the barbeque as hot flames, hot coal and hot food can cause serious burns. Pet parents should keep their wits about them and use common sense to keep firelighters and alcoholic drinks out of paws reach, as well as bagged rubbish, which may contain sharp kebab skewers, cooked brittle bones, and corn on the cob – all a common cause of serious internal injuries.

There are quite a lot of potential hazards in this situation, so it is probably best practice to keep dogs on a lead during barbequing so they can be kept away from harm, especially the larger, more excitable breeds (retrievers, we are looking at you).

Finally, always have plenty of fresh bowls of clean water available for dogs around the garden and keep them topped up. This is especially important in hot weather and when you have excitable pooches playing in the sunshine!

Melanie Sainsbury, Veterinary Education Manager for Natures Menu, said: “At the end of the day, dogs will evoke certain curious behaviours when outside in the garden. It is up to us as responsible owners to make sure that we are doing our duty in keeping them safe and sound within the confines of our homes. We want to make sure that our four-legged friends remain safe and have as much fun as their pet parents in the garden, and so we hope our safetytips will help dog owners in the glorious summer months ahead of us.”

Natures Menu specialises in raw and natural dog and cat food made with fully traceable quality meats and fish, blended vegetables, fruits, and healthy carbohydrates – and uses British suppliers and ethical product sources wherever possible.

For more information on Natures Menu, visit: https://www.naturesmenu.co.uk/