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The Dog Days of Summer


Here is another guest blog post from our friend and colleague, Elizabeth Bublitz, at Paw-Friendly Landscapes. If you are enjoying her posts, don't forget to check out her Pet-Friendly Landscapes class this coming September, where you can get all your questions answered in a fun, practical evening program.

Hot Dog!!!!

Boy is it July!  It is so hot these days with very little rain. It’s hard to believe my last blog was about too much moisture, now it’s taken a 180 degree turn (literally!) and I want to address dogs and gardens in heat stress. As a Colorado native, I should be use to these extremes, but I’m always in disbelief.

Dogs do not sweat so we must help them stay cool.  Of course pet owners know to always provide lots of cold, fresh water available, shelter in a cool place such as on a north or east side of the house or install a shade cloth over a dog run. Rock mulch heats up quickly so don’t leave dogs in dog runs that have rock as its basis. In many yards, I see them digging or nesting under trees, next to fences or large shrubs. This is okay if they’re not harming the shrub or tree’s roots. In fact, if it’s just a cosmetic concern, I usually tell people to let their dogs continue nesting so they don’t start digging in the sod (there is no easy fix to deter dogs from digging in sod) or next to the house which can create drainage issues.

Pet owners can also provide a child’s wading pool to keep dogs cool. This is cost effective and temporary so it can be stored away in the winter. Many homeowners actually have a pond made for their dogs or install a large store bought adult pool and create a ramp or put it next to a deck for dogs to use as access.

This time of year homeowners will also want to bump up the time on their sprinklers, especially if they’ve had new sod or plantings installed. We see lots of heat stress on plants and sod. Typical signs of heat stress include: sod quickly turns yellow, leaves on trees or shrubs droop or tips of leaves curl or get brown tips. Increasing the time on the irrigation and misting them in the morning or late afternoon (when there’s less evaporation) will alleviate this problem. In August, homeowners can reduce their watering cycles because night time temperatures will be cooler and less water is needed.

Good luck with this heat – if you have dogs, please keep them safe and happy!



Hi Donna: Thanks for the question - it is very important to know which plants are toxic and what kind of toxicity - whether it's fatal, skin or simply nausea. The good news is daylilies are not toxic but others are - calla lilies, tiger lilies and Easter lilies. They will cause kidney failure and perhaps death if not treated or treated too late. For more info on toxic plants - please visit our website or the ASPCA's - ours is www.pawfriendlylandscapes.com - on the home page on the left side you'll want to click on Toxic Plants. The ASPCA's link is www.aspca.org. Thanks again for the question - please contact me if you have any questions or concerns. Take care, have fun and get dirty! - Elizabeth :D

My dog eats plants. He really favors my Plume grass - they're not growing because of his chewing. Can I spray them with pepper spray or something to keep him out?

I heard daylilies are toxic to dogs. I own 3 dogs and have many daylilies - do I need to remove them? - Donna

Hi Caren: Your doggie is exhibiting such a common "problem." I usually do NOT install ornamental grasses in dog owner's backyards because dogs almost always munch on them. The good news is, the grasses are NOT toxic but dogs love to eat them and throw up - I'm not sure why but most of them do it. Anyway, feel free to locate your grass to the front yard so you can enjoy it- they are beautiful all year round! I should add, only relocate it to the front if your doggie cannot go in the front yard - some people have fences around their front yard perimeter and if that's the case, you may want to give it to a friend or neighbor. Pepper spray will work but must be reapplied if it rains or your sprinklers are used. Good luck, thanks for the question - please contact me if you have any more questions! Have fun and get dirty!

Hi Carol: Spray the affected area with Lysol and apply a few bags of wood mulch. If it's a large scale, you might need to call a landscape bulk material company for a yard of it or so to be delivered. If it's cat urine, you may want to spray it with a citrus soap - citrus keeps cats away. Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck, have fun and stay dirty! :D Elizabeth
Carol Vogel

I have an area in my courtyard that has received a lot of urine and it has soaked into the dirt. I am now trying to get rid of the smell in that area as it is close to my front door. Do you have any suggestions for removing the odor?

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