A Guide to Pet-Safe Lawn Care

Table of Contents

    In the pursuit of a perfect lawn and garden, you may end up introducing dangers to your pet. From fertilizer to ice melt, there are some products that can pose a danger to your dog, cat, or even your rabbit. How can you change your lawn care habits to be pet-safe? Also, your pristine landscaping may need protection from your pet. Here is our expert guide on how pet owners can have a lush yard and a happy pet.

    Fertilizers or Organic?

    The main concern most homeowners have with letting their dog, cat or other pet on the lawn is the effect a fertilizer or other garden care product may have on their pet. This is a reasonable concern, as many fertilizers and weed-killing products can harm your pet, although few are toxic.

    We can choose a gentle fertilizer or insecticide for your lawn that is safe for pets to step on in as little as four hours after the application, up to 24 hours after application. By watering we disperse the fertilizer and, once dry, the chemical is no longer a danger to your dog or cat.

    Although, you may feel safer using an organic fertilizing method. If so, we can add organic soil to your lawn and garden to help boost its health. Or, there are several other organic lawn care products that are more concentrated but still perfectly pet-safe, once properly applied.

    Remove Toxic Plants

    While dogs and cats don’t typically seek out plants to eat, they may get curious and take a nibble. Some dogs will eat grass or another plant when they want to vomit. Cats may sip from plants that have collected water. That’s fine unless the plant is toxic to them. So, you need to identify each plant in your yard and make sure that it is not toxic to your pet.

    Consider Your Ice Melting Product

    Most homeowners use rock salt to remove ice from their pathways, patio and driveway. This is dangerous for pets to eat or to stand on for long periods of time. Eating too much salt can cause hypernatremia, which requires a vet’s attention. Salt can also irritate your pet’s paws and any other skin they happen to get the salt on.

    Ice melt products that combine salt with other chemicals can be even more dangerous. Some are made with the active ingredient in anti-freeze, which attracts pets and can be deadly if they eat it.

    There are several natural and pet-safe ice melting products available, including kitty litter, and beet juice. These products tend to be less effective than rock salt, so you have to be especially diligent about applying them.

    Balance the pH

    It’s no secret that dogs will relieve themselves on your lawn and may end up turning the grass or other plants yellow. Urine has a very high pH that damages plants and can kill them, especially grass. To make matters worse, dogs are creatures of habit and tend to pee in exactly the same spot every time. This can do a lot of damage in a small area.

    To prevent this damage, follow your pup outside and give their spot a spray with the hose when they’re done. This will spread out the urine, so the acidity is less concentrated. Still, that may not be enough. You can buy spot formulas that correct the pH of the soil. You may only have to apply this spot treatment once a month or so, which is much more convenient than pulling out the hose every time the dog steps outside.

    Pathways and Fences

    Dogs and cats both choose favorite spots in the landscaping and may create a path by wearing down the grass or other plants on the way to that spot. If you want to give your pet free roam, we suggest you lay down stone or interlocking along their favorite path instead of leaving it as a long bare spot in the grass.

    You may also want to limit your pet’s access to certain parts of the yard. Dogs that dig should be kept out of garden beds with valuable perennials, as they can be challenging and expensive to replace. Cats are har to keep out of anywhere, but if you find they are laying in a certain spot and killing the plant beneath them, you can make that spot less appealing by placing uncomfortable ground cover, or even plastic spikes, nearby.

    Have you developed a plan to keep your pet safe, and your landscaping safe from your pet? You don’t need to implement it alone. If you’d like help with pet-safe lawn care, click “Get Started” now.

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    About The Author

    Robyn is a 2009 Graduate of the Kansas State University Department of Horticulture. She grew up in South East Kansas where she graduated from Humboldt High School. She was a Kansas State University Leadership Scholar and President of the Horticulture Club. She married Bret in 2009 and they have a daughter Ellie, born in 2021. Their family is completed by three adopted dogs.

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