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Great Gardening Tips For Pet Owners

As much as you love your home’s outdoor space, chances are good your pet loves it that much more. It’s where they get to bask in some sunshine, enjoy a lot of exercise, and play many of their favourite games. Unfortunately, these spaces—especially gardens—can also present some hazards for both dogs and cats. From skunk sprays to sunstroke, many preventable accidents can happen in the backyard. The good news is that, with just a little planning, you can create a beautiful, enjoyable, and safe garden for your whole family.

Build the Space with Your Pets in Mind

When you start planning out your garden or yard, make sure to factor in how your choices could affect your pet. Things you should consider include:

  • Make sure any structures in your garden are safe and secure. For example, if you have a small greenhouse, make sure it can handle a cat jumping on it.
  • Remove hazards such as sharp rocks, dead tree limbs, and debris, and fill any holes.
  • Create shady retreats from the sun using trees, pergolas, or canopies.
  • Inspect fences and gates to ensure your pet cannot escape.
  • Install motion-triggered lights. Bright light discourages skunks, raccoons, and other wildlife from visiting at night.
  • Keep compost bins, garden chemicals and tools tightly secured and out of your pet’s reach.

Think About What You’re Planting


Thoughtful planting choices can make your garden a pleasure for you and a fun, safe place for your pets to be themselves, sniffing, hiding, and having adventures. There are several things you can do to help make sure your garden is a safe space for them.


  • Choose pet-friendly plants like alyssum, snapdragons, and marigolds. Avoid toxic plants such as lilies, foxglove, and grapes.
  • When choosing plants, consult an online veterinary poison control resource, or ask your vet for a list of plants to avoid.
  • Select an assortment of plants. Choose different heights and shapes to maximize the stimulation that your garden offers.
  • Consider choosing hardy and “steppable” plants that your pet can explore. This way, no part of your garden will need to be off-limits to them.
  • For your lawn, choose a grass variety that is resistant to scalding from pet urine.

Protect Your Garden AND Your Pets at the Same Time

Keeping a healthy garden and beautiful yard requires hard work and extra effort beyond putting the plants in the ground. But as you do this extra work, make sure to:

  • Avoid using insecticides and herbicides. Slug, ant, and rodent baits are especially dangerous when ingested by pets.
  • Explore safer pest control solutions like diatomaceous earth, nematodes, and naturally repellant plants.
  • Fertilize with manure, finished compost, or animal-safe commercial products.
  • Select garden mulch thoughtfully. Cocoa shell mulches can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. Untreated cedar mulch is pet-safe and repels many pests.
  • Make sure to empty and clean pet bowls, birdbaths, and kiddie pools daily. Standing water can harbour pathogens like giardia and leptospirosis, and also adds to mosquito populations.

Make Sure Your Pet is Ready for Outdoor Fun

Even if you’ve done all of the above, your dog or cat can still be at risk whenever they go outside. That’s why it’s important to visit the veterinarian to make sure your pet is ready for the outdoor season by updating vaccines, deworming, and exploring flea and tick prevention.

Have a Pet Insurance Policy

Emergencies can happen at any time and the best way to prepare for the unexpected is with a pet insurance policy. Depending on the circumstances, it can cover unplanned veterinarian visits and treatments that are required after an accident occurs. The peace of mind it offers makes it even easier to enjoy the tranquility of your personally cultivated outdoor space.

Pet Insurance Plans to Meet your Needs

The information herein is summarized. All Pet Insurance plans have limitations and exclusions. Specific products, features, coverage limits, rates, and discounts may vary by province, eligibility, and are subject to change. Medical Conditions that are noted, symptomatic or diagnosed prior to enrollment, or during a waiting period are pre-existing to Coverage and not eligible for reimbursement. This advertisement is an outline only, the actual policy issued Terms and Conditions will prevail.

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