How to make a dog-friendly garden

Posted by Argos, July 18th 2019, last updated June 30th 2023.

With the summer months in full swing, nothing beats relaxing outside with your canine companion. But how do you make sure you have a dog-friendly garden that you and your four-legged friend can enjoy? We’ve got you covered. Creating a beautiful outdoor area that also keeps your pooch happy, healthy, and safe doesn’t have to be a challenge. Take a look at our helpful top tips for dog-friendly garden ideas.

Avoid grass seed for paw-fect lawns

Dogs can be tough on our gardens, digging up flower beds and damaging the grass, so it can be tempting to try and fix our lawns with grass seed to help bring it back to life.

However, traditional grass seed is definitely something to avoid for pet owners, as it can be extremely harmful to dogs. Due to the shape of the seed, it can become lodged deep within your dog’s ears, eyes, paws, and throat, causing inflammation and in some cases might need to be removed with surgery.

What happens if my dog eats grass seed?

If your dog has eaten grass seed their behaviour might start to change, so look out for coughing, vomiting or loss of appetite. If these symptoms occur, seek advice from your local vet.

A lot of grass seed and lawn enhancers also include weed killing chemicals, which can be toxic for dogs. But you can now spruce up your lawn the easy way, using dog-friendly grass seed. You can search online for specific dog-friendly brands or alternatively, check the details on the grass seed packets for any precautions about keeping out of reach of your dog.

A small dog in the garden with their owner

Provide shade and shelter

It can be easy for dogs to overheat during summer, especially after long walks without regular rest stops. Planting trees and shrubs in your garden can provide natural, shady spots, perfect for letting your pup cool down.

You could also consider buying an outdoor dog kennel, which is a great space for your dog to get some much-needed peace and quiet. Kennels also protect your pooch from the unpredictable Great British weather. Click here to explore more of our tips on keeping your dog cool during the summer.

Only have dog-friendly plants

To help your dog feel at ease and have fun, it’s important to create a stimulating environment. Just like us, dogs thrive among different sights, sounds and scents, so the more varied the plants, the better.

Trees and plants play a huge part in bringing our gardens to life, but before you hit the garden centre, it’s important to find  dog-friendly flowers for the garden which are safe for our beloved four-legged friends to be around.

There are a range of dog-friendly plants available, which will brighten up your garden in no time:

  • Geraniums
  • Fuchsias
  • Sunflowers
  • Magnolia Bushes
  • African Daisies
  • Daylilies
  • Camellias
  • Garden Marigolds

As well as this list of dog-friendly garden plants, you can find out more about  which plants are poisonous to your dog on our We Talk Pet blog.

Keep your garden safe and secure

No matter how big or small, it’s important to make sure your garden is as secure as possible. Dogs can jump surprisingly high and squeeze through the smallest of gaps in fences if they fancy an unexpected adventure, so preparation is key.

Installing a dog proof fence is a great place to start. Usually over 6ft tall, without any gaps or cracks, a dog proof fence will also be fitted into the ground, to ensure there are no gaps that your dog can burrow under. Make sure your gate also has a proper lock, which will add another level of security, protecting your pup from intruders. These extra measures might be popular with the postman too.

Black Labrador laying in long green grass

Use dog-proof bins

Dogs can be attracted to bins, especially if they can smell last night’s takeaway or Sunday lunch leftovers. This not only causes a mess but can also be harmful to them if they are met with sharp cans, glass, chicken bones or toxic substances such as bleach.

When thinking of dog-friendly garden designs, it’s important to remember that compost bins can also cause dogs harm if the food inside is poisonous to them. Consider keeping your bins in a separate place, such as a shed where your four-legged friends can’t reach them.

Use pet-safe pest control

Flower beds and patios are the ideal places for slimy pests to invade. After hibernating in the winter, slugs and snails resurface in the warmer weather, getting into every nook and cranny. Well known for carrying harmful parasites, which can cause serious health issues to dogs, slugs and snails are a hazard that pet owners need to be on the lookout for.

In traditional pest control products, there is an ingredient that is toxic to pets, especially dogs. However, there are now several pet-friendly pest control solutions available, which is great news for pet owners. To prevent your pup from coming into contact with pests, tidy away their toys and store them in a slug proof box at night. Regularly washing any outdoor dog bowls and toys can also prevent your pooch from these harmful pests.

These dog proof garden ideas will help you to create the perfect environment to suit you and your pooch. These small changes can keep them happy, healthy and most importantly, safe.

Make your home and garden a happy place for your dog with our garden ideas for dog owners. Keep yourself protected from unexpected vet bills with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our dog insurance policies today.

Argos Limited is an Appointed Representative of Home Retail Group Insurance Services Limited (HIS). HIS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 314050). Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT (registered in England and Wales, no 04109436). HIS act as an introducer to Pinnacle Insurance plc, who sell, administer and underwrite the policy and who are authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (register number 110866). Registered office: Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, WD6 2XX (registered in England and Wales, no 01007798). HIS and Pinnacle Insurance plc are not part of the same corporate group.

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