For those of you who are experiencing the change of seasons from the gray and white of winter to the verdant green of spring, you understand how good the transition feels. It’s a good bet that your pooch feels the same way.

Chances are you’re eyeing the flower bed and your garden patch and trying to remember where you last saw your good gardening gloves. The garden centers have stocked up on fertilizer, bags of mulch and those tempting little the seed packets that carry so much promise.

If your dog enjoys spending time outside, he may be happy to get his paws in there to ‘help’ with your gardening, but that might not work out so well for your garden . . .or for your dog. Your dog’s gardening penchant can be dangerous for him because many beautiful plants, and the fertilizers and mulches that we use to nurture a beautiful landscape, are toxic to dogs.

Iris, tulips, daffodils, and many other bulb plants are toxic, as are azaleas and foxglove. The ASPCA has an excellent list, with photos, of 448 of the most common toxic and non-toxic plants to help you plan your pet-safe garden.

As inviting and innocuous as they seem, lawns can also be a pet health hazard. Lawns that have been treated with nitrogen-rich fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides are unhealthy for your pets, as are such things as slug and snail bait. Cocoa mulch, which is widely used in public parks, can be toxic to dogs, and should be avoided. Always walk your dog on a leash in public areas and avoid formal, manicured lawns that are likely to have been treated with a blend of chemicals.

Hidden FenceIf, despite your protective efforts, your dog does ingest a poisonous substance contact your vet right away or call the ASPCA’s 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435.

There is a solution to having the garden of your dreams and keeping your pet safe. A hidden underground fence is a great way to protect your dog while also protecting your garden. The underground fence is well-known for keeping your pet safely inside your yard, but the convenience of creating boundaries WITHIN a yard are often overlooked. You can designate flower beds, swimming pools, or any other area of your yard as out-of-bounds for your pet. You can customize your pet’s habitat to suit your lifestyle without depriving him of the joys and freedom of being outdoors.

Here are some examples of how hidden fence containment areas can be designed.

Why not take advantage of this beautiful weather, install a hidden dog fence this summer so both you and your pet can fully enjoy the great outdoors?