Home » Plants vs. Pets: Protecting Your Garden from Dogs

Plants vs. Pets: Protecting Your Garden from Dogs

Plants vs Pets

If you have a dog and a garden, you know how hard it is to keep the former from digging up and destroying your beloved greens and blooms. Follow these tips to save your garden.

We love our pets, but keeping a dog while growing flowers can be a herculean feat. Dogs will dig craters in the soil of your garden, gnaw on the plants, and add insult to injury by defecating and urinating on the flowers. They are instinctively drawn to the garden, and cannot help themselves. But you need to draw the line, and these are some ways to do it.

Plants vs Pets


Good fences make good neighbors, and they also make good dogs. Erecting a standard metal fence around flower beds effectively deters small dogs. For larger and more stubborn dogs, an electric fence above or below ground makes for a convincing exclusion device. These fences are mostly humane, and only deliver a mild static shock that does not harm dogs, but feels unpleasant enough to teach them that the flowerbeds are off-limits.

Underground fences coupled with a receiver collar for your dog is an alternative that’s not an eyesore or a danger to children. Placing flags around the garden border teaches dogs where their no-go zones are. Reinforced by a static correction, they will get the message to stay out of your flower beds.

Dog repellents

Many gardeners choose chemical deterrents as the first line of defense for the garden. Dog repellents are convenient and inexpensive, and you can easily grab a box or bottle off the shelf at any garden center. Most of these products use strong aromatics, such as peppermint or citrus oils, that irritate dogs without harming them. The effectiveness of a dog repellent varies depending on the dog’s sensitivity. However, you need to reapply it frequently, especially during wet weather.

You can also make a homemade spray for when the garden is in transition, such as the start of the growing season when germinating seeds and new growth are most vulnerable to damage. Spritz the garden daily with bitter apple products or low-acidity vinegar to repel dogs without harming neither plants nor animals. A horticultural-grade vinegar with 20% acetic acid kills weeds and harmlessly repels dogs at the same time. Be careful not to overspray any ornamental plant, as this type of vinegar kills plants indiscriminately.

Ultrasonic repelling system

If there are neighborhood dogs invading your garden, an ultrasonic dog deterrent system is another option. The ultrasonic sounds and LED lights (included with some models) will startle the dogs enough to avoid a large area. The downside of this method is that it scares off all animals, including the birds and squirrels. Ultrasonic systems tend to break after a couple of seasons, as well, so you need to replace it several times a year.


The mulches often used in gardens are damp, soft, and filled with scents that dogs find inviting. So, mulch your plant beds with less inviting materials instead. Scatter clippings from prickly or thorny bushes, such as juniper, rose stems, or barberry trimmings.

Dogs will dislike the way these materials poke the pads of their paws when they trot into your garden. You can also create moats of pine cones around the flowerbeds or the entire garden. Dogs dislike the feel of pine cones on their paws, the moats can double as a decorative accent to your garden.

You can bring peace between your pets and plants without harming either. Follow any of these methods, and you can let the dogs out and keep your plants stay safe and sound.

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