Keeping your pets safe in the garden

a golden retriever laying on the grass

With the start of summer — and garden centres open again after the coronavirus restrictions were eased — more of us will be spending time outdoors. But do you know how to help ensure your outdoor space is safe for your pets?

Highlighting the risks for our four-legged friends, Blue Cross has revealed that its vets recently treated a cat who was rushed into the charity’s animal hospital in London after eating a lily, while a dog was treated after eating food from a compost heap.

“We want people to enjoy their gardens with their pets so it’s important for owners to think about the space and how they can make it safe and interesting for them to enjoy together,” said Caroline Reay, senior vet at Blue Cross.

Here are the charity’s top tips to keep your pet safe when they’re out and about exploring the garden:

  • Toxic plants - Think carefully about what plants you use in your garden as some such as lilies, geranium and sweet peas can cause stomach upsets and other symptoms if eaten by pets.

  • Fix fencing - Repair any gaps or replace panels that may have been damaged over the winter to keep your pets safely inside your garden.

  • Keep sheds locked - Sheds often contain sharp tools and chemicals that can be toxic for pets.

  • Avoid the use of fertilizers and weed killers - If you do need to use these, find ‘pet safe’ versions and ensure your pet isn’t in the garden when you use them.

  • Cover ponds - Ponds are great for attracting wildlife to your garden but to keep your pet safe, ensure they are covered by mesh or fence them off.

  • Look out for slugs and snails - Keep an eye on your dog when they’re out in the garden as slugs and snails can cause lungworm if eaten. If using slug pellets, check they are non-toxic for pets.

  • Compost - If you compost food scraps, make sure they are kept in a sealed container that pets cannot get into.

There are also ways you can make your garden more pet friendly.

For instance, trees or platforms around your garden can provide cats with a place to observe the world below, while a digging pit will provide a good hunting ground for your dog.

And why not incorporate some plants that provide stimulation and interest for your pets, such as catnip?

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