9 Solutions to Keep Pets out of the Garden

Dog & Cat

There's nothing more frustrating than having all the hard work you've went through in planting and growing a garden to be ruined in seconds by a digging dog or cat. Here are 9 ways you can have pets and a garden, too.  And, no worries: these methods are all safe for pets and kids. 

Here are 9 things you can use to keep cats and dogs out of the garden:

1. Citrus


Citrus peels, such as lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit, give off a pungent smell that most dogs and cats dislike. Grind them up, add coffee grounds for a stronger odour, and add to your soil. The smell should reawaken every time you water your plants.

Some dogs and cats don't respond to citrus. Some even like the smell. The good news? The coffee/citrus mulch also makes a fantastic fertilizer for your plants.

2. Repellents Sprays

Spray Repellents, such as Hagen Non-Aerosol Pet Repellent, can be effective at keeping pets out of your garden. It's safe to spray on shrubs, landscape, and even outdoor furniture. Reapply after rainfall or as needed to keep curious pets from getting into trouble.

3. Plants


Certain plants are known to repel cats and dog. Bergamot, rue, and citronella can repel both dogs and cats. (Watch out for rue, some people have a skin allergy to it). For cats specifically, try Scaredy Cat (coleus canina), or herbs such as lavender and rosemary. For dogs, potting marigold, also called calendula, can work.

Plants can have varying results with different animals. Unfortunately, if the animal's desire is there, a bad smell doesn't always deter.

Alternatively, you can plant flowers or bushes with prickly thorns, such as roses. Pets dislike the thorns as much as we do.

Make sure your plants are pet-safe by checking out these 50 Dangerous Garden Plants for Pets.

4. Bloodmeal

Mix bloodmeal into your soil for another smelly solution to cats and dogs in the flowerbed. Pets' sensitive noses will seek less offensive air. Just like orange peels and coffee grounds, bloodmeal also works as a great fertilizer.

5. Stones

The addition of stones will help repel cats from your garden. Since cats prefer sandy, smooth soil, stones can keep them from leaving presents in your flowers. Unfortunately, stones won't do much for roaming dogs.

6. Mesh

Chicken wire or mesh laid just under your soil can prevent animals from digging in your garden. You can cut the mesh for your plant roots.

If your pet is a digger, these options may not be effective. Chicken wire especially, can cause injury to your pet's paws if they dig down to it. 

7. Fences


Electronic fences are effective at keeping your own dogs away from your garden, but can be costly to use just for the garden. If you are already considering an electronic fence, though, you can easily route it around your flowerbeds.

Physical fences are quite effective at keeping pets out, as long as they are high enough. Generally, animals are looking for easy paths, so fences make good deterrents.

8. Pet "Zoning"

If you can spare some space in your yard for pet-friendly areas, they are less likely to go to your garden.

If you have a dog or cat that likes to dig, a designated sandbox or dirt digging area can keep them out of your garden. You may have to "scoop" periodically, but you shouldn't find surprises in your flowers.

For cats, you can also plant a catnip plant or honeysuckle bush to attract them. Honeysuckle have beautiful blooms and a pleasant smell.

9. Ultrasonic Trainers

Ultrasonic trainers can help keep your pet (or others) out of your garden. They emit a high-frequency sound that pets hate. These are a good choice if you are already training your pet with one. They can be a costly solution just to keep pets out of gardens, though. Also, you have to witness the act for the trainer to be effective.

9. Motion Sensor Sprinklers

Sprinklers, like Contech's ScareCrow, are motion-activated and work fantastic to keep pets and animal pests away. The short burst of water and sound scares pets, who remember the negative experience, and will likely not return. Just be careful - the sprinkler can't distinguish between human and animal visitors! You'll need to either avoid the splash zone or be very quick on your feet. 

How do you keep your pets out of your garden? Share your stories and tips in the comments below. 

Posted by Amy Dyck

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