Are you considering bringing your dog down to the vegetable garden with you while you tend to your growing fruits and vegetables? Sharing the space with your favorite four legged friend can be rewarding.
Here’s how to make a dog friendly garden you both can enjoy.
If you already have an established garden, look around it to see if you meet these six recommendations for providing a dog friendly garden. If you however are just starting, or considering starting, a vegetable garden, use this list to prepare for your gardening adventure with your dog.
Dogs can overheat pretty quickly so if you plan on being in your garden with your dog for an extended period of time, it’s important to provide shade. It is particularly important on hot and humid days. While you might be fine working through the soaring temperatures, a dog’s internal temperature mechanism is not the same as ours. That means they can’t sweat like we do to regulate body temperature. Dogs pant to cool off. If you notice your dog panting heavily, they are overheating and need some shade to cool down in.
You can provide shade in your vegetable by planting trees or bushes. Sunflowers can grow extremely tall in the summer. They make an ideal source of shade on hot days. You might also consider building a shade structure or purchasing one.
Have a water source
Staying hydrated is important for humans and dogs alike. I bring a water bottle down to the garden and fill up the water dish I keep in the garden for our dogs.
If you notice the funny picture of our dog Penny, you can see that dogs really don’t care where their source of water comes from and they will find their own if you don’t provide one. I’m not sure the birds were too thrilled to see her in their bird bath however. Luckily, I keep the bird bath nice and clean so I don’t have to worry about the quality of the water in it.
Create a path the dog can walk on
Having a well defined path for dogs to walk on is just as important as having one for people to walk on. Our garden path is three feet wide (one meter) and made of white stones. Creating a path in your garden can be time consuming and costly. You don’t have to make an expensive path however. You can use stepping stones or wooden boards. Mulching in between garden beds is another way to create a path and will also cut down on weed growth. If your dog is used to walking on sidewalks, this might come just as naturally.
Put up barriers
While it is nice to have your dog in the garden, you don’t want it to destroy any plants by walking on them. Tiny plants just emerging are likely too small for a dog to notice. Seedlings are very easily damaged and might not recover, especially if you have a large breed dog walking on them. You can prevent them from being trampled by putting up a barrier. Barriers can be simple, temporary and cheap or more expensive and permanent. When plants are young, you can cover them with milk jugs or plastic bottles after cutting the bottom off. You can put chicken wire around plants.
Using raised beds and containers is another way to make a barrier between your plants and your dog. Dogs aren’t as likely to be stomping through either of those.
Do not plant these toxic crops
There are quite a few plants that are toxic to dogs. While many people only consider houseplants when they think of toxic plants, there are some you might find outside in or near your garden. Avoid putting these toxic plants in an area your dog can easily access in your garden. If you still want to grow these crops, put a barrier around them.
- Lemon grass
- Holly bushes
Plant dog friendly crops
Don’t reel overwhelmed by the list above. There are plenty of plants you can safely grow in your garden.
- Zucchini and squash
I love having our dogs join me in the garden. Usually they don’t pay much attention to the plants. They stay in the shade or walk and look around. The Newfoundland, Sully, likes to nibble on the herbs every now and again. I pot a lot of herbs now so that I can keep them a little more out of the way.