Pets and gardens—it’s a natural combination. They love the fresh air, the scents, the freedom—and being with their people. But sometimes they take their enthusiasm too far and damage outdoor furniture. Pet hair and odours on the cushions, claw marks on the wood, and chewed legs make them unwanted guests in the garden. Here are some good tips for protecting your outdoor furniture without banishing your pets from your garden.
- Don’t leave your pets in the garden alone. Dogs can get bored when they are alone. When they are bored, they look for something fun to do, which usually involves digging or chewing. If someone is always with them in the garden they are less likely to get bored and start playing with your furniture. Plus, if you are out there with the dog you can stop any destructive behaviour.
- Deter them from the furniture. You can use deterrents to keep your furry friends away from the furniture. You can buy an animal deterrent spray or make your own with little vinegar in water. You can rub crushed lavender, citronella, or garlic chives into the cushions. Another trick is to put saucers of cayenne pepper, used coffee grounds, or lemon or orange peel on your furniture.
- Try mechanical deterrents. Put aluminium foil or tape on cushions. Animals typically don’t like the feel and will learn to stay away. Bubble wrap is another option; if the feel doesn’t deter them, the popping sound will. You don’t have to keep tape or foil or bubble wrap on your furniture forever; after a few unpleasant experiences your pets will learn to stay away.
- Try electronic devices. Electronic devices that emit high-pitched sounds or spray water might keep your pets at bay.
- Use metal furniture. Pets usually don’t bother metal furniture–without cushions, of course.
- Add scratching posts. Cats love to sharpen their claws on the legs of wicker and rattan furniture. If you give them other things to scratch, like scratching posts, they may stay away from your furniture.
- Use furniture covers. Choose ones that are easy to put on and take off.
- Give pets their own furniture. Pets like to be comfortable. They get on the furniture because it’s the most comfortable place to take a nap. You can buy pet furniture or designate a human chair or couch for their use. With positive re-enforcement for using their own furniture they might just stay off yours.
- Keep your pets off all furniture. Even for the smartest of pets it’s a bit confusing if you allow them on your inside furniture but not your outside furniture. You’ll have better results if you are consistent.
As all pet lovers know, each animal is unique. For that reason you’ll have to experiment to see what works best for you. It’s worth the effort, because there’s nothing better than relaxing on your outdoor furniture with your pets nearby.