Tuesday , 16 January 2018

My ZEN Garden of Mutual Harmony will not make my dogs sick!

Many of us can envision a lovely garden at this time.  Better yet, we envision our dogs running through the tulips. DID YOU KNOW TULIPS ARE NOT GOOD FOR DOGS?

A dog friendly garden has to be well thought out because it can either make our dogs sick or happy depending on the choices we make. Now that I have the space in the back, I have wonderful garden images passing through my head.  But, my fur-babies spend a lot of time back there and their health comes first!  And then there is the work, if I do spend some time investing in creating a garden.  I would like to see it flourish, not be destroyed.  So, my thoughts are now on building a  ZEN garden of mutual harmony.  Now that I have done my research, bought most of the supplies,  have a  solid understanding about the behaviours, habits and health of dogs in reference to garden components, as well researched information, I feel like I am good to go.

I know my dogs well.  They are lovely but I am positive that even at 14, Bailey will definitely muster up the energy to dig and pee on anything pretty, Maya will definitely run with the ball anywhere and everywhere, and the new little Pug will be the most curious and will certainly have a diverse taste test going on.  All of them will be curious enough to get in the way and also make their mark since the garden will quickly become theirs:).

Several plants have been reported as having a negative systemic effect on dogs.  It’s not a complete list but it is based on the ASPCA‘s poison guide and certainly important to know:


Bird of Paradise, Oleander, Marijuana, Calla Lily, English Ivy, Eucalyptus, Heavenly Bamboo, Yucca, China Berry, Castor Bean


Carnation, Tulips, Cyclamen, Amaryllis, Chrysanthemum, Geranium, Morning Glory, Periwinkle, Sweet Pea


Tomato Plant, Spring Parsley, Garlic, Chives, Peach Tree, Apricot Tree, Plum Tree


Red-Twig Dogwood, Smoke Tree. Forsythia. Burning Bush, Lilac

We are also thinking about doing something with the place where the pool used to be. Right now there is way too much dirt being dragged in the house. So, sand is not an option. I am thinking about grass—cool on hot days and great for Punky who is disabled but loves smelling and just being a normal dog in the summer. Also thinking bark; soft cedar chips is cushiony,  safe and easy on the paws.   It’s also an excellent mulch. But I see a lot of eating and chewing going on.

Speaking of mulch, it is recommended to use only fine-shredded mulch because chunkier mulch just invites chewing and more mess. Cedar mulch isn’t toxic to
dogs, if ingested could result in vomiting or have diarrhea.  The chewers may also experience lodged splinters/blockages. Think-cut cedar mulch may also attract poopers and diggers.  Ok, it will be grass for us! But, I LOVE MULCH! So, I have decide to compromise.. I have decided to just put mulch in the front of the house and not where the dogs spend their time. However, if you get drawn in by that wonderful, aromatic smell, try spraying garlic water, cayenne pepper, or apple cider vinegar on the mulch to deter the devious pups.  Always “think” natural!

**Veterinarians  recommend that dog owners never use cocoa hull mulch if you have doggies around. It contains theobromine, the same compound that makes chocolate
poisonous for dogs. The ASPCA lists cocoa mulch on its list of hazardous garden substances.


Some other good tips are: keep grass short and only use all natural/ organic solutions in your yard. Make your own rich compost/fertilizer with grass clippings and kitchen scraps. Commercial chemical fertilizers are toxic and can make pets sick;  deadly if ingested accidentally. Also remove (or make inaccessible) not-so-obvious pet toxins like citronella candles, and/or pool/spa treatments.


Boiling Water will instantly kill any plant it comes in contact with by literally cooking the plant. Vinegar kills weeds. Salt placed in a specific area will deter plants form growing at all. Sugar kills weeds and makes soil unsuitable for plants. Pour some sugar at the base of the plant you wish to kill;  mix the sugar with equal parts chili pepper to deter pesty pests. Corn Meal acts as a pre-emergent on plant seeds; preventing the seed from germinating. Corn meal does not harm current plants but keeps weeds from growing. All of these pet friendly solutions  can be combined to be mor effective. For liquid mixtures, try adding a bit of dish soap; thickens the liquid sticking to the weed better.

Our pets are important and we don’t want anything to harm them. So my ZEN garden of mutual harmony  will be a safe, comfortable environment for the dogs as well as an attractive space for plants and people..now I just have to get out and work!  And just a hint..

After losing many shrubs to Bailey’s pee..I learned  that if I build, or get someone to build, a statue made of driftwood, my creation will become the designated pee place..woohoo…finally learned my lesson!  So, now the question becomes, “What can I do to convince my hubby use his creative senses and take some time to build a ZEN STATUE for DOGGIE PEE?”

Happy Gardening!

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One comment

  1. Love this article! I had no idea Tulips were bad for pooches!

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