How to Keep a Dog Away From the Azaleasby Chris Miksen
Azaleas might be bold and pretty, but they can cause your pup a lot of problems.
With a palette of colors that looks to be stolen straight out of a rainbow, the flowers of azaleas are bright, big and beautiful. And your dog thinks so too. He probably eats the flowers and leaves alike, disfiguring your gorgeous plant in the process. Even worse, azalea leaves are poisonous to canines. Stopping your pup's madness calls for a few strategies, from simple relocation to a little dousing of hot sauce.
Relocate potted azaleas. If you keep your colorful acid-loving plants in pots, you're in luck. It's much simpler to snuff out your pup's azalea-eating plans if you can simply move the plants. Since azaleas enjoy filtered sun, anywhere near a window that receives indirect sunlight will work out best. If you have your azaleas down low, move them up high, either by hanging them from a hook, putting them on a stand or situating them on a shelf. If your pup has a difficult time seeing and smelling the plant, he's probably going to forget it ever existed.
Booby trap the area. If your azaleas are happy and lively outside, moving them probably isn't a viable option. But that doesn't mean they need to suffer from your pup's curiosity. Surround the azaleas with wooden stakes and stretch one line of fishing line across the stakes, at around the height of your pup's head. Tie aluminum cans to the line, and voila! You now have a frugal tripwire of sorts that will scare the fur right off your pup should he decide to cross the line. If you'd like, you can run multiple rows of fishing line across the stakes, but one line is often enough to keep honest dogs honest.
Turn the tasty azaleas into nasty azaleas. Your pup probably thinks a few things go well with azaleas, such as grass, hoyas and whatever other plants you care for. But hot sauce, cayenne pepper and bitter spray are not your dog's idea of lip-smacking sides. For potted azaleas, sprinkle a bit of the deterrent -- undiluted -- onto the azalea's leaves. Don't worry, none of these deterrents will harm your plants. For outside azaleas, avoid this method. The deterrent will get washed away too often to prove effective.
Relocate the tie-out if applicable. If you keep your little rascal on a tie-out when he goes on his outdoor adventures, yank the tie-out stake from its current location and move it to another area, where your pup won't be able to dive into your azaleas.
Fill your yard with canine toys. With treat dispensers, tennis balls, squeakers and hardy bones, your pup will forget all about your azaleas. Give him a big variety of toys to choose from and switch them out for new toys occasionally so he doesn't get bored.
Muzzle him. If you can't get your plant-eating canine to stop munching down on your azaleas, then it's time for an unfashionable basket muzzle. Although unsightly, the muzzle will keep your pup from eating plants and still allow him to run around like normal. Always use a basket muzzle, never a nylon one. Basket muzzles allow your pup to pant and drink water, which nylon muzzles can inhibit.
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- Wooden stakes
- Fishing line
- Hot sauce, cayenne pepper or bitter spray
- Give your pup lots of exercise and he'll probably be less inclined to eat your plants. Daily walks, free runs and fetch make for a great knock-out punch that will tire out your little guy.
- Always keep a watchful eye on your pup. It doesn't take a lot of azalea leaves to cause poisoning. If one method doesn't work, opt for another strategy right away.
- Symptoms of azalea poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, extreme lethargy, muscle weakness and coma. In most cases, a combination of symptoms will appear. Poisoning calls for immediate veterinary intervention.
- Do not yell at or smack your pup if you catch him eating your azaleas. Doing so will not fix anything. Instead, distract him by calling his name or saying "ah" sharply.