As you know, the recent Harvey, Irma, and Maria Hurricane tragedies have been devastating. Not only thousands of people and families have been displaced and lost their homes, but “pets have faced extraordinary hardships in the aftermath” as stated by Ian Livingston’s article in The Washington Post. Ian also states “Thousands are thought to be displaced or missing. Organizations have rushed in from all parts of the country to help. Hurricane-displaced cats and dogs are on the move."
The good news is that rescued pets are being adopted all around the United States including here in the Seattle area. Taking in a pet is an incredible act of kindness, but is a big responsibility as well. If you are thinking about adopting a pet, or have already, it’s important to create a safe outdoor area that your pet will love.
Landscape Elements for Happy Pets
First and foremost, check to see if there are any toxic plants your pets may have access to and remove them. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) maintains lists of plants that are toxic to dogs and cats. Please note that some dahlia plants are toxic to dogs. Choose non-thorny plants that have soft foliage near doors and pathways but are sturdy enough to survive rambunctious jumping and tail wagging.
Find plants that are toxic to dogs at
Find plants that are toxic to cats at
Smooth pavers or flagstone slabs set in a sand base create a comfortable surface for play or napping. I’m not sure what it is, but dogs love to hang out in areas with pea gravel. If you have space, provide a kennel with a pea gravel base, your dog will love it!
Ground Covers & Lawn
Keep in mind that rescued dogs may be nervous or protective of their new environment and may pace. Pacing tends to wear paths in lawn areas. Consider replacing your lawn (or a portion) with ground covers that will hold up to pets such as Elfin thyme -Thymus serpyllum 'Elfin'.
Fences & Digging Dogs
Keep your pets safe and happy by providing them a fenced-in area. A fenced-in area will give them independence and freedom to frolic around unsupervised. If you have a pet that likes to dig (like our Alaskan Husky did), it’s a good idea to bury chicken wire up to 14” under the fence or place large rocks along the base.
If you are interested in adopting a pet from the recent hurricanes or donating, here is one website to check out http://www.seattlehumane.org/donate/donate-now
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Author: Susan Combs Bauer. Copyright © 2017 BauerCombs & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved. Photo credits (happy dog in flowers) by El Galguito at flickr.com
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Susan Combs Bauer, Landscape Architect www.bauercombs.com
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