Just as humans do, dogs need stimulation. A patch of green grass in a backyard can hardly provide the sensory input that dogs need. You have probably noticed that your dog loves nothing more than exploring the environment, sniffing and exploring as they go. A stimulating environment with lots of smells, sights and sensations keeps your dog calm, relaxed, confident and healthy.
Your garden is the ideal location to create a sensory wonderland for your pooch to thrive in. You can enjoy it too. Here are a few tips to help you get started on designing your own sensory garden for your dog.
1. Choose Scented Plants and Flowers
Dogs have around 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses. Humans have a measly six million! With that in mind, just imagine how a strongly scented plant, such as rosemary is to a dog. To give your dog plenty of healthy scents to sniff while out in the garden, choose your plants carefully.
Go for plants that offer some kind of health benefit as well as olfactory benefit. Choose plants like:
- Mint, which is strongly scented and good for digestion.
- Lavender, which can calm your dog down during times of stress.
- Catnip, which can make dogs feel more energetic and playful.
- Thyme, which helps with skin irritations and stomach issues.
2. Add in Some Interesting Objects
Dogs love exploring too, yet this can get them into trouble. If you turn your yard into an adventure playground, your dog can spend more time adventuring at home. Add in rocks, large and small. Log features are also good. If you have any old tree stumps, you can modify these too to create raised platforms for your dog to stand on.
3. Go for Multiple Textures
Dogs love running through tall grass — not to mention rolling in it! Choose plants that your dog can rub against or walk through. Add in some patches of tall and sturdy grass like viburnums and phormiums. Then sit back and watch as your dog rolls and leaps to their heart's content. Bamboo is also another pleasant and strong texture for dogs.
4. Allow Your Dog Some Space to Dig and Chew
If you have space, leave a patch of dirt free. Place some toys in the area that your dog can chew on. This will give your dog a place where they can do what dogs love to do: dig and bury.
If your backyard is a little bare, then consider creating a sensory garden for your dog. Your local wholesale nursery should be able to provide you with all the plants and rocks that you need to get started.