The first day of spring just passed and where I live that means it’s time to start planting. Here in coastal South Carolina, it’s usually safe to sow your seeds around this time of year, so I jumped right in. I was worried that I started too soon, though. After I planted my raised bed and some giant containers, it rained and rained and rained. It rained so hard and so long that I was afraid I’d wasted my time; I was sure the seeds were going to either wash away or rot. Well, guess what! They’re poking their tiny heads up already. I think they liked that long drink of water because they are responding with hardy germination.
As someone who shares her life with dogs and cats, I’m always mindful about what I’m planting and where I’m planting it. If you’ve ever seen your dog chew on grass, you know that animals have an instinct about plants. They will seek out certain plants and eat them when they are not feeling well. Because of this, it’s vitally important to keep any harmful and toxic plants out of your pet’s reach.
On the other hand, you can make your life easy by simply planting a dog-friendly herb garden like I did. With the herbs listed here, it won’t matter if your dog goes in and chomps on anything. In fact, some of these herbs are even being used by pet care professionals who lean towards herbal or homeopathic remedies. Here are some of my favorite dog-friendly herbs.
If you’ve ever taken a giant whiff of a handful of freshly picked basil, you know what summertime smells like. This has to be one of the best smells offered by nature. Easy to grow from seeds, this healthy herb adds a sublime dimension to everything you include it in. You might use it to make a big batch of pesto or a fresh Caprese Salad, but did you know basil is loaded with antimicrobial, antiviral and antioxidant properties? So if your dog decides to sample the basil, there’s no harm done.
I love all animals, but I have a soft spot for two in particular: cats and rabbits. I’ve had many feline friends over the years, but despite being tempted to have a pet rabbit, I never have. I suppose I haven’t taken the plunge because I’m not certain a rabbit would be a good fit for me. Rabbits can make great pets, but they’re not for everyone.
Last autumn, I started following the exploits of a charming wild rabbit named Mister. I visited Mister’s Facebook page daily to see what he and his “Carrot Lady” were up to. For a wild rabbit, Mister had it made because the Carrot Lady catered to his every need.
The “bunny itch” came back in full force. One day I saw a small gray bunny in my driveway. I ran inside, fetched two carrots and slowly approached the bunny. I gently put the carrots down about three feet in front of it. The bunny hopped right past my delicious offering and disappeared! Harumph!
I saw the bunny a few more times, and the same scene played out: I tried to befriend it with carrots, and was rejected. “Why can’t you be more like Mister?” I asked, but the bunny just scampered away. When winter came, the bunny sightings ceased. This spring, however, the little bunny reappeared. Every day it sat in the middle of my yard, munching on grass. I didn’t offer it any carrots, but I did go outside to talk to it.
By Stacy MantleHaving their front door “sprayed” by roaming cats is probably the number one “complaint” of neighbors. There are a number of solutions to this problem.
· Aluminum Foil: Cats do not like the way aluminum foil feels on their paws, or the sound it makes when stepped on. Placing a large piece of foil in front of, or taping against, the door is an inexpensive and simple way of stopping the problem.
· Scat Mats: There are several different types of scat mats. Some have raised points on them that won’t injure the cats, but does deter them from entering the area. These mats can be purchased from pet stores for less than $12.00. Another type of scat mat can be plugged into a nearby outlet and produces a static electricity charge that, when stepped on, will create a small static charge which keeps the cat away. These types of mats can be a bit more expensive, varying between $50-$100.
· Motion-Activated Sprays: Ssscat is a motion-activated sensor that produces a safe spray and a loud noise when activated. They have a range of 3-10 feet, and this can be adjusted for height and range.
· Doublestick tape: Place double stick tape on your doors. Sticky Paws offers a wide selection of sizes and they will not harm your doors or windows. Cats do not like the feel of the tape, and will run away.
These are highly effective methods and quite inexpensive. Often these stop-gaps are only required for a short time period. The goal is to create doubt about a cat entering the yard.
Cats resting in garden areas are probably the number two complaint. So, to keep cats out of your garden, you can try several things.
· Ornamental Pebbles/Gravel: cats do not like to walk on these, and they look nice in yards.
· Water: Keeping an area moist will deter cats from entering the garden.
· Plants: There are several plants that work well for keeping pets out of your garden and/or yard. One of these is Coleus Canina, a newly developed plant that cats (and all types of animals) hate. It releases a stench that animals cannot handle. However, it only smells to the human nose when touched! It’s a pretty plant and works in nearly all types of landscaping and climates.
You could also try using the herb, Rue. The blue leaves create a nice garden accent, and cats seem to hate the odor. Cats are not keen on the smell of citrus either, so you could try using orange or lemon peel in your yard as a deterrent. Other things that have been successful are coffee grounds, blood meal, cayenne pepper, lavender oil, lemon grass oil, citronella oil, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil.
Keeping pets out of your yard entirely requires a little more work and a lot of patience, but here are a few options. Note that these solutions generally only need to be activated at night, when strays are most active.
· Water Bottle: Fill a clear plastic bottle halfway with water. Replace lid and set in the middle of the lawn. If you have a large lawn area, place two or three out. The theory is that cats are frightened away by light that travels through the bottle of water, giving off little “flashes.”
· Blank or Scratched CD’s: these work the same way as a water bottle by reflecting light and causing doubt in the cat when he/she enters your yard.
· Motion Activated Sprinkler: When a cat or other pet walks in front of it, they set forth a 3-second burst of water. They run about $50-100.
· UltraSonic Cat Deterrent: These systems operate on a 9-volt battery, and when a cat comes into range, it sets off an ultrasonic sound, undetectable to humans. Often they run about $60.
I hope these suggestions help! Remember that it is always best to start out with a little, and then move into the power tools. It will be much more effective in the long run.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.