How To Puppy Proof Your Garden

For many Americans, their garden is their pride and joy, a wonderful hobby that brings them much happiness. A garden provides a relaxing hobby, something to while away a few hours while tending to beautiful flowers and plants. Some gardens are also used to grow fruits and vegetables, delicious, home-grown food that many people delight in serving to their family and friends.

Many of the same people who enjoy their beautiful gardens also adopt beautiful puppies. That, however, presents a very specific problem that, if you genuinely adore your garden, can be rather traumatic. I’m talking, of course, about your puppy getting into your garden and doing their doggy best to tear it completely apart.

In their defense, puppies never set out to ruin your garden on purpose. In the vast majority of cases, they’re simply enjoying themselves and, since they don’t know any better, go a little crazy when it comes to flowers, plants, and so forth. The fact is, dogs usually dig up gardens when they’re bored or haven’t been given enough exercise, so you really can’t blame them.

Still, if you have a garden and a puppy, there will inevitably come a day when, if they get the chance, your puppy will tear your precious plants a new one. Not only is this infuriating, but depending on the plants in your garden, it could be dangerous for your puppy. Some plants are quite toxic and will make your pup very sick (or worse) if eaten.

I was thinking about this recently when, of all things, I saw my neighbor’s dog outside tearing up his flower bed! His dog reminded me of a question I frequently hear during spring and summer, namely, how to puppy proof your garden?

The answer is that you can do many different things to puppy-proof a garden. In most cases, you’ll need to do several things, actually, to keep your puppy out and your plants pristine. Most solutions depend on the type of garden you have, your puppy, and your yard.

To help you figure it out, I’ve collected all the information I could find about puppy-proofing a garden. It’s below and waiting for you, so if you’ve got both a gorgeous garden and a precocious puppy at home, read on. 

Dog Proof Garden Fencing

The thing about an unfenced yard is that it’s basically an open invitation to your puppy to do whatever they like. Dig holes, eat vegetables, and tear plants right out of the ground. Some dogs will even eat dirt, although it’s relatively unusual.

Dog-proof garden fencing is a must to keep them away from your precious plants. Now, let me just say this; there are very few fences that are genuinely 100% dog-proof. A determined puppy with enough time will dig and dig and dig some more until they dig right under the fence. 

Knowing this, it’s best to keep an eye on your puppy when they are in your backyard. There are a wide variety of different fencing options available, but one of the best that I’ve seen is wire mesh “rabbit guard” fencing. This type of fence has a wire mesh that, on the bottom, is denser so that rabbits can’t squeeze underneath it. It’s perfect for puppies for that very reason. 

Dog Proof Raised Garden Beds

If you aren’t a big fan of fences, the next best option is to grow your plants, vegetables, and flowers in dog-proof raised garden beds. One caveat, however, is that raised garden beds will cost extra money and take extra time to set up. 

The good news is that you only need to create a raised garden bed one time. If you do it well, you can use it again every season afterward, and the soil will also become more nutrient-rich every year. 

Some people raise their garden beds only a few inches off of the ground, but the choice of how high or low to make them is yours. Many folks create raised garden containers that stand two or three feet off the ground, making it easier to weed, water, and harvest any plants or flowers. Depending on your puppy, their size, and how determined they are, a lower raised garden bed might not work so well. It hinges on many factors, including the amount of space you have, how much sun your yard gets, and several others. 

Create Low Barriers and Borders around your Garden

One interesting thing about puppies and dogs is that if there is a raised border around something, it will often deter them from entering the area inside the border. That’s even more true if you have a small dog breed that physically can’t get over a barrier or border around your garden.

Experts suggest making a puppy-proof border at least 8 to 10 inches tall so that even bigger dogs will think first before going over it. You can use wood, cinder blocks, and there are several types of garden borders specifically made to keep out dogs and other animals. 

Avoid Plants with Thorns 

Many folks love to plant cacti, roses, and other thorny plants in their gardens, especially in southwest states like Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. The problem is that puppies, never having experienced these types of plans, will often shove their face right into them to get an idea of what they are, how they smell, etc.

My opinion is that if you love cacti or roses, grow them, but put fencing or borders around them. Also, if your puppy does happen to get a noseful of thorns, I can assure you that they will only do it once. Afterward, unless your doggy is truly dumb, they will avoid those thorny plants like a child avoids broccoli.

Create a Space in Your Yard Especially for your Puppy

While this may not keep your puppy out of your garden completely, creating a space just for them in your yard will get them used to staying in that one area. Make sure to play with them in that area specifically, have toys there for them, and even let them dig around. The more they can do in their special yard area, the less they will want to get into your special garden area.

Don’t Leave Large Areas of Soil Exposed

Depending on the size of your garden, you might leave a portion of it unplanted so that the soil can recuperate. While this may be good for future plants and vegetables, it’s an open invitation to a puppy to dig like crazy. If possible, plant some grass in the area or put a small, removable fence around it to keep your puppy out until you decide what to plant next.

Final Thoughts

You now have several excellent ideas about how to puppy-proof your garden! From fencing to raised beds, low barriers, and so forth, all of these solutions will take some time and effort but, in the end, will be worth it if you genuinely value your plants and the health of your puppy.

I hope today’s blog was informative and answered all of the questions you had when you arrived. If you’d like to learn more about how to take care of your precious new puppy, please see my other blogs on the subject. There are quite a few of them, and all are packed with helpful, real-world information and advice that will help you raise a healthy, happy and well-adjusted dog.