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Gardening With Fido

April 1, 2021

Do you have a fenced-in yard? It’s great for Fido to have outdoor areas to run and play in. However, our canine buddies aren’t always the best gardeners. A Galena, MD vet discusses gardening with dogs in this article.

Water Features

Consider adding a water feature, such as a fountain. Many newer models use solar-powered filters to clean the water, which reduces waste. Just get one that’s the right size for Fido.

Getting To Know Fido

Your dog’s breed and personality should also factor into your garden design. For instance, if you have a German Shepherd, Fido may be naturally inclined to patrolling the yard. Work his doggy pathway into the design. (Hint: if you plant too close to your fence line, you’ll likely end up with trampled plants.)

Ground Cover

Keep Fido in mind when choosing ground covers. Thyme is a good option. You can also use Buffalo grass, artificial turf, or Creeping Jenny. Avoid mulch, particularly cocoa mulch, which is toxic to dogs.

Choosing Plants

Make sure your yard doesn’t contain anything toxic. Some dangerous plants include sago palms, rhododendrons, yew, oleander, and poinsettias. You can get more information on safe and unsafe plants at the ASPCA website here. Of course, toxicity isn’t the only thing to consider. You’ll also need to be cautious with thorny plants, especially those at Fido’s eye level.


Consider dividing your lawn into sections. Give Fido one area, and use another part for gardening. You can use fences to separate them. Raised beds will also work. (These are also good for gardeners with dogs that love to dig.) You can also use low walls, shrubs, driftwood, or plant pots. Or, get creative and use all of them!

Edible Features

Fruits and veggies are good for dogs. You could give Fido a plant of his own, such as a blueberry plant. However, you’ll need to teach him the difference between his plant (ok to eat) and the ones you want for yourself (not ok)! If your pet has a doghouse, give him a mini-garden!


Many lawn/garden chemicals, such as pesticide, herbicide, and fertilizer, are toxic to pets. If you do use these, water the treated area after, so the chemicals soak down into the soil. It’s also important to keep Fido away from recently-treated areas.

Contact us, your local Galena, MD veterinary clinic, anytime. We’re here to help!

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