Clara Beaufort is a retired business owner, who currently works in community gardening. She operates GardenerGigs, which aims to connect local gardeners with those who need them.  Her article is tailored for Doolittle’s Doghouse families; as your children’s safety is important to us…on both 2 & 4 legs!

 Dogs love to roll in grass!

“For many gardeners and people who love spending time outdoors, a beautiful lawn is nice to have. Keeping it green, well-tended, and colorful is often a priority once spring hits, but it can be tricky to do if you have pets or children. It’s important to make sure there are no plants around that might pose a threat to a curious dog and that any tools used in the garden are put away each and every time you use them.

On the flip side, it’s also a good idea to protect the garden! Pets can do a lot of damage without meaning to, especially during the first weeks of spring, when they can spend more time outdoors. The same goes for young children, who can trample plants while playing. If you already have an established garden, look for ways you can change up the landscape to make it a little more pet and kid-friendly, and as always, make sure the area is as safe as possible for everyone in the home. Here are a few tips on how to promote safe pet care in your backyard:

Avoid toxic plants

Many types of plants look beautiful but can be dangerous or even deadly to animals. Even if you don’t have pets, be mindful of the animals that could cut through your yard and avoid planting the likes of chrysanthemum, aconite, buttercup, daffodil, daphne, delphinium, foxglove, hydrangea, oak, tomato, wisteria and yew, among others. If you’re set on one or more of these for your garden, place protective fencing around them. For a complete list of toxic plants to pets, please visit: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

Plant-hardy blooms

The best flowers for a home with an energetic dog are the ones that can withstand pretty much anything. Large perennials, shrub roses, and geraniums are great examples of plants that won’t get crushed should your pet run through the yard. A great way to make sure your plants will be in great shape all season long is to have your soil tested. Many people do this before beginning construction, but you can also do it before making changes to the landscape to make sure the soil is perfect for growing and is untainted by chemicals. The national average cost to test soil is $947 – $1550, so do some research in your area before making a decision.

Think pool safety

If you have a pool or pond in your backyard, it’s important to remember the best ways to keep it safe for your pets and young children. This means utilizing a cover when it’s not in use, or installing fencing around the perimeter that will deter little ones with a locked gate. Always put pool toys and chemicals away after use; store these in the garage or in a shed where curious hands can’t reach.

Watch for slugs and snails

Slugs and snails can cause lungworm in pets if ingested, so it’s important to keep an eye out for these slimy creatures and use organic means to get rid of them. Never use pesticides, which can be harmful to animals and children.

Preparing your lawn for warm weather can be a big job depending on what your goals are, but with advance planning, you’ll be able to ensure that the area is safe and comfortable for everyone in the family.”

Thank you Clara for your insightful blog!




Photo attributions:

Doolittle’s Doghouse guest in the grass from Jeri Todd and her backyard oasis in the West Valley.

Dog drinking from hose by Pixabay @ Sevenpixx.







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