How to Keep Dogs and Other Household Pets Out of Your Garden

You spend all season hoeing, planting seeds, and keeping weeds out of your garden. You finally see your peas start to grow and your tomatoes start to climb — and then your dog goes running through your rows and tramples it all to the ground. All your hard work is lost. Or maybe your dog’s more of a muncher than a runner. Instead, he prefers to belly up to the salad bar that is your garden and to enjoy all-day grazing on your budding crops.

While you certainly love your dog, you also love having healthy and delicious food that you grew yourself. Here are a few tips for how you can keep your dogs or other household pets out of your garden so you can protect all the hard work you have put in:

Put Up a Fence

The easiest way to keep any pests out of your garden is to put a fence around it. If you like a more decorative look, you can choose a small wooden fence that is high enough to keep your dogs from running through. If you want something that looks more natural, opt for chicken wire. It will blend in with the plants and will be unobtrusive. 

Of course, unless you put in a fence that comes up to your torso — or unless you have very small dogs — your dogs are likely to be able to jump over whatever fence you put in. However, it will keep them from mindlessly wandering through and trampling tender plants.

Sprinkle Red Pepper Flakes

Dogs have a keen sense of smell. By sprinkling red pepper flakes around your garden, you will make the area an unpleasant place to visit. Purchase the flakes in bulk and then sprinkle them around the bed and between the rows. Make sure to re-apply after it has rained as the water will wash them away.

Spray Apple Bitter

You can also make your plants taste unpleasant. Spraying apple bitter or even white vinegar will make the plants taste very bitter to your dog, but it won’t harm the plant. Of course, if you are spraying plants that are almost ready for harvest, you will want to wash them well once you bring them inside to get rid of the residue (and the bad taste for you).

Put Down Stone Chips

Instead of spreading mulch around your garden, spread decorative stone chips. They’ll make the area look nice, but they’ll also make it unpleasant for your dog to walk through the area. You can create a path around the garden to form a protective barrier. Make sure the path is wide enough that your dog can’t simply leap over it to get into your garden.

Plant Thorny Bushes

Spiky, thorny bushes can also provide a natural barrier for your garden. Your dogs and other pests won’t like trying to squeeze through and being pricked by the thorns. Plant holly bushes or thorny rose bushes to not only keep them out, but also to provide a decorative border for your garden.

You don’t have to chose between your garden or your dogs. They can both peacefully co-exist if you use some of these strategies to keep your dog out of your garden and to protect your crops. Your dog can still have the run of the yard, but you won’t have to worry about your beds being trampled.

How do you keep your dog and other pets out of your garden? Share your tips in the comments!