Are Pets & Gardens Mutually Exclusive?
Sometimes you can't help but think that you are doomed to either live a life without furry family members, or else have a thriving garden:
Perhaps your lawn has yellow, dark green, or dead spots from dog urine.
Maybe your neighbor's cat uses your flowerbed for a toilet.
Or perhaps you are just plain tired of having your favorite plants mushed & crushed.
urine pH is incompatible with healthy plant growth, plus
it has a high nitrogen content. Both of these reasons are
why grass or other plants change color or die back after
being "watered" by your pet. There are some commercial
available that you can feed your pet in order to change
the pH of the urine; other people try giving their dog
tomato juice rather than a store-bought product. For some
pets this is an effective way to solve one half of the
pH/nitrogen problem, although it doesn't work in every
instance. For other pets, these
products can cause urinary problems, such as bladder
infections, kidney stones, or blockages. I urge anyone considering
this method to please consult with your vet first!
One method that frequently works is to immediately soak the area your dog just piddled on with a lot of water. This method is impractical if your dog has free run on your lawn, however, or if you have multiple dogs. It also won't work if you wait for more than a few hours to apply the water.
You may want to create a graveled area for your dog to pee on. An area around 5 feet square should be large enough. You may wish to include some sort of upright post or pole, if your dog is accustomed to hiking it's leg. If there's no grass to worry about, there won't be any reason to panic. Some dogs are resistant to changing their bathroom preferences, however. Also, please note that you will have to hose this area periodically, as well as pour on some kind of disinfectant - either commercial or homemade (1 part bleach to 10 parts water).
Be careful if your dog has had, or ever had, worms, especially hookworms (also heartworms and roundworms). These creatures can migrate from dog feces into the soil, and happily live there until they find a way to re-infest the next pooch to come along, or even you & your children. Talk to your vet about this concern, and see what s/he recommends.
You may want to "compost" your doggie doodies. While I do NOT recommend that you put dog waste into your compost pile, I do know that there are some commercial products you can buy ("Doggie Dooley") that will continuously break down feces. This may be a very effective solution if you cannot or do not dispose of your dog's solid wastes in the trash.
If you bury your dog's poo, make sure that you don't bury it in the veggie garden or other area where it could possibly contaminate food (or get on your hands!). Also, fresh poo is very high in nitrogen, and may burn plant roots. Make sure that you bury dog poo at least several feet away from the nearest plant of any kind.
Lower your expectations.
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News - Environment
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News - Portland & Salem
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In The Garden
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If you live in the Portland, Oregon, area, and are looking for a vet, please consider mine. She is knowledgable, compassionate, and very gentle with your pets. She takes the time to make sure that pet owners are fully aware of their pet's state of health, as well as all treatment options available (when necessary). Please call the Valley Vet Hospital at 503-649-6900, and ask for an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Leddy.