There are 7.2 million dogs in Texas, which is more than in any other state. Austin locals are big contributors to that number with nearly 200,000 canine companions. If you’re working on your landscape it’s only natural that your pets’ safety would be a top concern.
We’ve got the tips and information that pet-loving, outdoorsy homeowners are looking for when it’s time to landscape.
Dogs and cats will naturally get into the plants that are around your yard. They’ll dig, chew, rub and roll around in plants even if they’re in pots. The most important consideration for a pet-friendly landscape is selecting plants that aren’t going to be toxic or poisonous. Since there are 700+ plants that can be toxic to animals here’s some of the more common landscaping options.
- Oleanders – The whole plant is toxic and can cause serious problems including death.
- Azaleas – This flowering plant has grayantoxins that can affect a pet’s nervous system, put them in a come and even kill them.
- Tulips – It’s the bulbs of this flower that can harm a dog’s gastrointestinal and cardiac systems.
- Lilies – Cats are susceptible to all parts of this flower and can even get kidney damage from them. Peace Lilies are also poisonous for animals.
- Chrysanthemums – It’s a popular bloom, except for the animals that eat them and get an upset stomach.
- Autumn Crocos – Organ damage can be a result of ingesting this poisonous plant.
- Buttercup – It’s an herb, it’s a wildflower and it’s also toxic to animals.
- Iris – The leaves and roots of irises can be harmful to animals.
- Sago Palms – The entire plant is poisonous, but it’s the seeds that contain the highest concentration of toxins.
- English Ivy – Not only is this fast-growing ivy invasive it can be toxic when ingested by pets.
- Elephant’s Ear – The entire tropical looking, leafy plant is poisonous to pets.
Holiday plants like mistletoe and poinsettias are also highly toxic so when you’re planning to make landscaping adjustments in the fall and winter keep these out of the reach of animals.
Woods That Deter Pests
Fleas, ticks, ants and other pests can bug your dog more than you. You can take steps to dissuade bugs from invading your yard, which your entire family will greatly appreciate.
Wood Selection – Some woods keep bugs at bay better than others. Higher-grade cedar and redwood have natural insect deterrents, which make them excellent choices for landscaping projects. Cedar mulch is also known to repel pests because of the oils it produces. Most hardwoods also won’t attract insects because they aren’t easy to bore into. Pressure-treated lumber is an affordable option that’s engineered to provide insect resistance. Composite decking is also an option that will be less inviting than wood options.
Pest Control Treatments – Given the growing concern over toxic substances inside and outside of the house, most pest control companies are expanding their options and even offering green treatments that aren’t harmful in any way to pets or people. Make sure that the pest control company knows that you have pets and need options that keep their safety in mind. It’s also a good idea to keep pets clear of treated areas for at least 1-2 hours no matter what type of bug repellent you choose.
Keeping Your Pet Safely Contained
Anyone who’s ever had a pet escape from the backyard knows how stressful an event it can be, and can even mean losing your furry friend forever. Cats and dogs are social creatures that usually just want to explore and find a few friends. However, they could get lost or hurt so if they aren’t accustomed to being out on their own they are better off in the backyard.
Fencing – A solid wood fence offers the best protection against runaway pets, because there aren’t any gaps for them to get through, there’s no give and they can’t see through to what lays beyond the fence. Just make sure your gate is tall enough to keep animals contained. Kitties with claws will find their way up almost anything, but a fence that’s at least 6’ tall should keep almost all dogs and clawless cats inside. For added security you can add a lean in to the top and use decorative vines to create a natural awning around the fence line.
Gates – Loose latches, wobbly hinges and gate doors that just won’t shut should be at the top of your landscaping to-do list. Some dogs are smart enough to open gates even when they’re completely operable. If this is the case consider padlocking the gate shut whenever they’re outside.
At Timbertown Austin we have an impressive selection of pet-friendly, insect resistant woods that are appropriate for a variety of landscaping projects. Give us a call if you’d like some advice or have a question about any of our wood products.
Image Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_daycare