kid and pet playing in the backyard

Safe But Fun Ways to Let Your Pets Play in Your Garden

Young cats and dogs love playing in the garden, especially in the summer. But we all know that plants plus puppies equal disaster. The pooch will chew on the stems, branches, and leaves and dig through the soil for no apparent reason. Kittens who are learning to hunt will pounce on any bug or moving object, potentially putting themselves in danger.

But the outdoors are the natural habitat of cats and dogs, so we can’t keep them out of the garden forever. Supervised play is the best way to entertain them in the space, but if you don’t always have time to watch them, this article has got you covered.

We’ll show you some potential hazards that lurk in your garden and how to keep your pets safe from them. And, of course, you’ll learn some fun and non-destructive ways to let your pets play in the garden.

Potential Garden Hazards

1. Poisonous Plants

Not all plants are safe for dogs and cats. The list of poisonous plants for these animals is shockingly long, but the top 12 ones for both are:

  • Foxglove
  • Daffodil
  • Peony
  • Oleander
  • Iris
  • Tulip
  • Lily
  • Rhododendron
  • Sago palm
  • Mums
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Diffenbachia

Avoid using those plants in and out of your home. If you already have them, supervise your pet whenever they go near it. If possible, put the poisonous plant apart from the others, and protect it with any kind of enclosure. The effects of toxic plants on pets can be fatal.

2. Ticks

Though ticks are mostly harmless on dogs, they cause discomfort and, sometimes, allergic reactions in humans. Some dogs and cats are also allergic to ticks, contracting red, inflamed skin on each bite.

Dogs and cats get ticks from other animals, but those pests can lurk in your garden, too, waiting for a new host. To drive them away, mow your lawn regularly, especially along the edges. Clean up fallen leaves and other debris. But instead of dumping the grass clippings into the trash, add them to your compost pile. Dried grass clippings make great mulch that’ll keep your soil rich and hydrated.

Lay some gravel and wood clippings on the areas where ticks might lurk. It will irritate their feet, making them go away on their own. If you keep wood stacks, place them where sunlight will hit them directly. It will dry out the wood faster, repelling ticks.


You can also adopt a tick eater, like chickens, but they might be unsafe if you have cats. But you can keep them in a coop and only let them roam around when the cat is secured indoors.

Don’t use pesticides because it could make even safe plants poisonous for your pets.

Safe and Fun Ways for Pets to Play in the Garden

1. Build a Catio

Cats love the outdoors, but their tendency to wander puts them at risk of being hit by a car or stolen. To satisfy their need for adventure, build them a catio. It doesn’t have to be a big one. Just ensure that you can put lots of climbing poles and cozy resting places in it. Catios can alleviate a cat’s stress and give them better stimulation. They can watch birds there safely, not to mention stay far from your plants.

2. Build a Doghouse

Though dogs, especially puppies, would rather run around, they also appreciate a retreat away from the sun. Build them a doghouse in the shaded part of your yard. Provide ample space so that your dog won’t feel suffocated. They should be able to sit, stand, and lie down in the doghouse comfortably. Fill the space with toys to distract them from the plants and digging.

3. Watch them With the Sprinkler

If your irrigation system is a sprinkler, your dog will love it. They’ll enjoy a splash during the summer. But the pressurized flow of the water may shoot straight into your dog’s nose. If they have a short snout like a bulldog or pug, their airways may be blocked easily. So when your pooch plays with the sprinkler, ensure that they won’t get close to the nozzle.

4. Train Your Dogs to Go Easy With the Plants

As curious beings, dogs will always sniff on objects foreign to them, including plants. But you can train them not to destroy them. Use positive reinforcement to preserve your dog’s joy in the garden. Give them a treat every time they steer clear of the plants. Do it repeatedly until your dog gets the message and stays away from the plants for good.

You don’t have to sacrifice a beautiful, landscaped garden for a pet. If you can train them and give them other methods of entertainment, they’ll leave your plants alone. But of course, you need lots of patients when training your pets.

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