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Pet-proofing your garden

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Get your dog and plants to co-exist

The shrinking average size of new properties has made manicured back gardens a huge drawcard for buyers, which means homeowners with pets may need to make some adjustments.

But this can be easier said than done, says Adrian Goslett, regional director and chief executive of Re/Max of Southern Africa.

“For homeowners, pet-proofing a garden requires a double-sided approach. Homeowners need to protect their garden against their pet, at the same time protecting their pet against their garden.”

For those unsure of the risks the garden and the pet pose to each other, Re/Max has compiled a few tips for peaceful co-existence:

* Selective planting: Residents should be selective when choosing plants, as some, such as lilies and daffodils, as well as fertilisers, are toxic if consumed by pets. Others, such as citrus or chilli plants, can act as natural repellents that will keep your pet out of your flowerbeds.

“Do your research beforehand or chat to an expert at your local garden store to find out which is which.”

* Designated play zones: Goslett says homeowners should make it clear to their pets which areas are out of bounds and which are entirely their own. Residents can put up chicken-wire fences or decorative flowerbed walls to keep pets out of their garden beds.

“They can also create a designated sand pit and leave their pet’s chew toys inside to let Fluffy know that’s his space to dig and play as he pleases.”

* Pet-appropriate furniture: “To keep your pet from chewing up your outdoor furniture, avoid wooden deck chairs and tables and opt instead for aluminium or iron furniture,” Goslett says.

He adds it may also help to set up a pet bed next to an outdoor set so that furry companions have a spot of their own.

Whichever ways homeowners choose to pet-proof their gardens, they should never sacrifice their pets’ health and wellness for the sake of a well-kept garden.

“Responsible pet-owners would rather see their garden somewhat unkempt than risk their pet getting hurt on spiked flowerbed walls or dangerous pet repellents. If your garden is more important to you than your pet, then avoid adopting any animals,” he says.

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