After a long winter (and a tough couple of years), spring has sprung and you can feel the excitement in the air. Brighter evenings and milder temperatures mean fresh air, long walks and plenty of time spent perfecting your garden for the warmer months ahead.
This will be music to your dog’s ears no doubt – although not such good news for those beautiful new flowerbeds of yours! If your canine friend has a fondness for digging during his garden playtime, you’ll be glad to hear there are measures you can put in place now to ensure your pet has all the fun they deserve while your garden remains at its blooming best.
But first, let’s take a look at why man’s best friend is so fond of this mucky pastime.
Why dogs just love to dig!
For many dogs, digging is simply in their nature.
This is especially true for certain breeds, such as terriers, huskies, beagles and dachshunds, who are either bred to hunt or are naturally more partial to colder temperatures and dig as a means of shelter and access to cooler terrain. Burying treasure, such as bones and treats is also a natural instinct for dogs, although some are more partial than others for acting on it!
Other common reasons for a dog to dig holes in your perfectly manicured garden are:
- As a means of escape, either due to attention-seeking behaviour or perhaps when chasing an animal
- To search for or catch small animals, such as rodents, whose habitat is underneath the soil
- Out of sheer boredom, if they are lacking in one-on-one playtime or stimulation
- If they have pent up energy to release
- If they see you digging as part of your gardening work, they may want to follow suit
How to prevent your dog from digging in your garden
Now that you have a better idea as to why your pooch is wreaking havoc on your lawn, there are several solutions you can implement to deter them from doing further damage ahead of the finer months.
1. Protect new plants or flowerbeds
While there are numerous ways to protect your prized plants and flowerbeds from the wrath of your pup, creating a direct barrier is a good place to start.
This can be achieved by covering the freshly tilled soil around the seeds or bulbs with gravel, bark chips or pavers to make it more difficult for your dog to dig there in the first place.
2. Use a fence to create a barrier
If there is a specific area where your dog tends to do most of his digging, it might be beneficial to cordon it off by erecting a fence. A low fence may be all it takes to alert your dog to the fact that this is forbidden territory.
3. Create a dog-friendly digging zone
You may have a touch of pet parent guilt over banning your dog from engaging in one of their favourite pastimes, so why not create a dog-friendly zone where they can do their worst?
Placing a ready-made or a DIY sandbox in a shaded area of the garden could be the solution to your problems. Ensure the structure is safe for your dog and place plenty of toys and treats in and around the area to keep them entertained for hours.
4. Block up any escape routes
If your pup is a frequent player in the escape games, make sure your garden is secure by placing chicken wire or boulders at the base of your fence. It can be done either by burying the chicken wire in a trench beneath your fence at common digging points, or by installing boulders into the ground just below the fence line.
5. Keep your dog active
Dogs that are bored or have lots of energy to expel may find some release in digging up your outdoor haven. To avoid this, take your pet for regular long walks; a great excuse to get them moving and for you to spend quality time with them.
Placing stimulating toys around the garden, or playing high-energy games such as fetch, is also a positive way to distract them from getting up to mischief outside.
6. Use natural repellents
A great way to deter your little garden explorer is by using a natural repellent on specific no-go zones. This can be achieved by sprinkling powdered mustard or crushed red pepper flakes or seeds around flower beds or other forbidden areas.
However, make sure the deterrent you are using will not be harmful to your dog, as certain spices such as cayenne pepper may cause irritation. If you go the route of shop-bought lawn products, it’s important to check that they use natural ingredients and to consult your vet beforehand to make sure they’re not harmful to your dog.
Creating a happy outdoor environment for you and your dog
While overzealous digging on the part of your furry friend can cause a headache for green-fingered dog owners, hopefully, one or more of the solutions shared above will enable you and your dog to continue enjoying the garden all year round – with no holes in sight!
To take your efforts to the next level by preventing lawn damage from other sources, such as dog urine, you can integrate a supplement into your dog’s regular diet. VetIQ® Green-UM® Lawn Burn Solution contains active ingredients that are specially formulated to control nitrogen waste products in your dog’s urine to help prevent unsightly yellow spots from appearing on your lawn.