Pet ownership and specifically dog ownership has soared during lockdown. Whilst those restrictions are now being eased, recent research says that as people return to their places of work, 22% of those who have spent more time working from home than before the lockdown are now worried about how their pets will cope as they return to their workplace.
We’re lucky – every day for us is a take your dog to work day – this is Oscar, our long legged rough coat Jack Russell. He's 10 now.
However not everyone is as lucky as us so we did some research about dogs and gardening and found an article on line from the Battersea Dog’s Home.
It seems that – believe it or not – dogs, like us humans, get loads of benefits from having a garden and the staff at Battersea have created a dog-friendly sensory garden to make every dog’s stay with them as pleasant as possible.
They say that plain patches of grass aren’t the most exciting places for dogs and that, like us, they benefit greatly from enriching and stimulating natural environments. A bit of dog-friendly landscaping can help decrease boredom and encourage natural behaviours, so here are a few simple things that they recommend that we can do to set off their senses.
Firstly, planting. It seems that, like us, dogs love herbs! So if you want your mutt to feel energised then mint and lemon balm are good.
When your dog is in need of a little pick-me-up, they’ll enjoy sniffing and chewing on mint or lemon balm. In moderation, these are both said to aid your dog’s digestion too! They will enjoy the herbs more when planted in clumps, so avoiding mixing as you could send your dog into a sensory overload!
Easy to grow, these plants will die back in winter but they are, as we know, invasive so you may want to plant them in a sunken plant pot to keep them under control. There is one species of mint, English pennyroyal which is known to be toxic to dogs, so don't plant that.
But would you believe that dogs also like nepeta – or catmint? Yes. Dogs like catmint! We used to have a couple of cats that would spend all day lazing around in the sun and nibbling our nepeta, and it seems that, as a member of the mint family, that dogs like it too!
This is Betty. She's a curly coat Retriever. She doesn't need energising - she's barely out of being a puppy. And when her and Oscar get going Victoria's lupins often take a battering!
And if you find that your dog gets too energised then you can calm them down with lavender and rosemary - Betty and Oscar need some of this!
Rosemary and lavender are two potent plants that your dog will love to sniff, and their aromas will leave them feeling calm. Their woody, robust structure makes them hard-wearing so they’re perfect for any dog that likes to zoom around in your garden.
On top of that, they grow all year round in poor soil and survive well in a drought. You will also enjoy their scent and all the beautiful insects they will bring to your garden.
And finally wheatgrass. This is super simple to grow and is packed full of nutrients. It’s been shown to help with dog digestion and help boost energy levels. Lots of dogs can’t help but have a munch when they find it! And if your dog doesn’t take to it then you can juice it and enjoy it yourself!
Whilst you’d normally grow it in seed trays during the winter and then plant in the ground in the summer you can find wheatgrass seeds now and, like us, give it a go. All it needs is a nice bright spot in the garden.
There you go. A few plants that dogs like. And so do we! We’re going to make a couple of small planters out of an old pallet, line them with some membrane, add some peat free compost and plant them up with a selection of those herbs that hopefully our mutts will enjoy!
And talking of our mutts here's our new one - as yet un-named but that will soon be remedied - once the Truglets get going! She's a 10 week old Labradoodle. I sense she might be called Daisy. Or Ivy. Or Iris. If I'm allowed to have my way! Yes, there's an obvious theme here................
Herbs. Loved by everyone. Man and dog alike.