Tips for Growing a Pet-Friendly Garden

For most families that include dogs, gardening is a complicated issue. Kids and animals need space to romp and release their wild nature, while adults often prefer a place they can call a sanctuary. How can we balance the needs of adults, kids, and our furrier family members? Here are a few tips to help you and yours coexist peacefully in the great outdoors.

To Each Their Own


The kids will need a space that allows them to develop their gross motor skills by climbing, tumbling, and running. Hang a tire swing! Make a dirt pit and toss some shovels out there (this alone will provide hundreds of hours of fun, trust me), help them set up their own gardening space, and watch them blossom!


What does your dog love to do? For a digger, consider building a sandbox just for Fido! You can bury toys and treats for your dog to find. If your dog is older or just loves to lounge, lay a bed in a shady corner. You may want to fence off an area that’s just for pups, especially if you have a flower garden that needs protecting or if your dogs are just plain rambunctious. Remember to tell your dog sitter which parts of the yard are off limits when you go out of town. And if you’re going to keep your dog outsite all the time you need to prevent your dog from barking all night long, you may want to try some training collar for this end.


The benefits of gardening are well-documented here and elsewhere, so I won’t belabor the point. Let’s just say: GARDENING ROCKS! Once your kids and pets are occupied, you’ll have that much more time to devote to your little patch of earth. Make it your own! Plant your favorite veggies and draw in pollinators with flowers a-plenty.

Keep it Safe

Before you plant a seed or start, be certain it’s pet and kid safe! Many ornamental plants, such as euphorbias or daffodils are toxic, and some, like oleander, can be deadly. Do your googles.

Another hidden danger in the garden is mulch! Most wood based-mulches are fine, but those made of cocoa bean shells or rubber are dangerous for Rover to ingest. Keep it natural!

Bloom and Grow

As is so often the case in matters garden-related, planning and forethought pay out in dividends. Devote some time to creating an outdoor space the whole family grow and you’ll reap rewards in the form of edible, medicinal, and ornamental crops, and in the less tangible; time spent together with your beloved family that will nurture and strengthen the bonds between you. Plant the seeds of harmony and fellowship today to blossom together as a family for years to come.

Image: William Warby

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