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Sensory Gardens For Dogs, What Are They?

Sensory gardens are becoming more and more popular with dog owners, what are they and why are they now a thing?

Here are some reasons why

  • Used in rescue centres as an alternative way to tackle stress in dogs
  • Adding a few specific plants and other features to your garden can stimulate your dog's brain, activate natural canine instincts, and build confidence
  • Encourage dogs to interact with their surroundings and provide physical and mental challenges

Dogs Trust's training and behaviour team advised green-fingered dog owners to keep the following points in mind.

  • Install a good selection of different plants. Avoid anything tropical. Ensure any plants you put in are dog friendly and not poisonous
  • When it comes to tyres, avoid using rubber that is crumbling, which could easily be broken off and ingested
  • Different textured areas can be created using non-toxic sand, grass, wood chippings, or gravel, and can provide an interactive area in which you can hide toys and treats.
  • In addition to the permanent fixtures, treat balls can also be introduced and filled with food to provide an unexpected stimulation for dogs
  • Dogs don't need, although they do appreciate, designated areas laden with interactive elements. Large cardboard boxes can become playgrounds with hidden treats stuck into the sides or smeared on to the edges
  • Split level areas are another great, and relatively simple, addition that can be made to adapt an area. These different heights allow dogs to climb and give them different vantage points. Railway sleepers, steps, and small benches can all be used to create a versatile area.
  • Exhibit caution if you have more than one dog who may become a little protective or possessive of toys or food

Some of the plants that can be used in your sensory garden:

  • Birch - known to help with muscular and inflammatory pain
  • Catnip - good for its relaxing properties and stimulates playfulness in dogs
  • Lavender - known to encourage scar tissue regeneration
  • Marigold - often selected by animals experiencing grief or emotional distress
  • Meadowsweet - often selected by animals with digestive problems, arthritis, and rheumatic conditions
  • Peppermint - good for its cooling properties and often selected by animals with skin irritations. It can also be offered as an aid for training
  • Valerian - often selected by anxious dogs for its calming effect
  • Wheat grass - animals who are nervous, anxious, and exhibit hyper behaviours often select wheat grass
  • Willow - animals in pain often select willow bark
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