Dog Behaviour

Sue Gilmore MA FCFBA

It’s Springtime and dogs love to be in the garden, so here are some tips to keep them safe:

Slugs and snails can carry parasites, especially lungworm. Check with your vet that your dog’s monthly or quarterly medication includes protection for lungworm (not all do). Control slugs and snails by using pet-safe organic slug pellets or traps.

Fences and boundaries: dogs spend more time outdoors in spring and summer, so check that they are safely enclosed in the garden. The height of the fence or wall needs to be adequate to contain dogs that jump and if necessary, install a trellis structure to low walls to raise the height. Fence off areas of the garden that should be kept dog-free. There is nothing worse for a gardener to find her prize flowers have been trampled!

Lawns and grassy areas are prone to become bald and muddy, so reduce wear and tear by choosing grass that is similar to that in public parks – generally a mixture of grass seed varieties, based on rye.

Gardeners are encouraged to compost waste vegetables and fruit, as well as dead plants, etc. Dogs love to explore the compost heap, so fence it off to stop them foraging for scraps and never put cooked food on the heap to keep foxes and vermin at bay. The core of sweetcorn should never be put on the compost heap – when swallowed by dogs, it cannot be passed through the intestines and out of the bowel, causing a potentially fatal blockage.

Plants and trees: some are toxic to dogs, especially bulbs, grapevines, ornamental grasses and lilies. Check that your garden contains dog-safe plants. Many herbs are good for dogs, but not all, so check before sowing/planting.

Wooden decking, paving slabs and sharp gravel surfaces can be hazardous for dogs. Check paws regularly for abrasions and consider using rounded pebbles for drives and paths.

The main point of all this is to keep your dog safe, your flowers blooming in safety and to enjoy your time playing and relaxing with your best friend whilst enjoying the warm weather.