If you have pets, you’ll definitely know that they love to eat just about anything. Nothing is safe, and the range of their appetite can often surprise and, well, disgust. These indiscriminate tastes should also affect the choices you’ll have to make when it comes to landscaping. The mulch used in the garden or chemicals on the lawn should be pet-friendly, especially if your dog or cat are a little curious.
There’s also the problem of animals being a little dig-happy in the garden. What can you do to ensure a healthy garden and healthy animals? Luckily, there are a wide range of choices you can make to keep your yard safe for every animal that comes on through.
What’s The Problem?
Mulches often use a variety of materials that decompose at different rates. Some materials are going to be in your garden bed a lot longer than others, and this can affect your choices. A kitty that loves the garden could find pine needles and similar materials a pain in the paws, and this might be good if you don’t want them turning it into a litterbox! But if you like to encourage your animals’ outdoor roaming, you might want to choose a mulch that decomposes fast.
Another problem for those of us who own and love dogs: the rise in popularity of mulch that uses cocoa shells and hulls. People do like it for the aroma and deep brown look, but it can be a problem for pet owners. We all know the problem that arise with pups and chocolate, and the mulch can contain the toxin theobromine, which can cause death if consumed in large enough quantities.
Wood chips can also be a problem for its effects on health when eaten, so if you like wood, choose one that doesn’t contain resin or oils. For this reason, also find mulch that doesn’t contain chemicals like pesticides. If your dog eats too much, they could develop nervous system and mental problems.
Even a mulch with a large quantity of rocks can pose a problem. While it’s often considered pet friendly, remember that dogs love eating everything, and a rock that gets in their system can lead to digestive problems. Rocks also might not work with the garden you want; a rocky bed can stress plants and don’t add any nutrients to your garden.
What Mulch You Should Choose
There are so many pet-friendly choices! Natural mulches that decompose fast are probably the best, in that they don’t give your pet much time to eat, and even if they do eat it, they won’t feel the effects. Leaves, untreated wood, and cedar mulches are considered good choices, the latter being known as an insect repellent. Find mulch that’s effectively mulched, so the sizes aren’t too big and they won’t pose a choking hazard. If you’re unsure, try laying down mesh, or spraying the bed with a concoction that will turn off your pet’s appetite, e.g. garlic or a bitter tasting liquid.
Rubber mulch is another solution considered pet friendly, though it can also be a choking hazard if the pieces aren’t small enough. It could also contain chemicals that are harmful to your pets, and believe it or not, rubber isn’t exactly nutrient-rich. Rubber mulch is, however, made from recycled tires, so it’s an environmentally friendly option that has longevity on its side. It’s also great for play areas, making sure your kids don’t hurt themselves too badly doing something stupid!
If you’re not sure, give us a call and we can assess your options. We can put together a landscaping plan that works both for your and your pet!