Potted plants and dogs don't always mix. In fact, many dogs seem to have an obsession with destroying as many pots as they can, no matter how often you replace them. If the whole thing is getting on your nerves, take a deep breath and tell yourself it could be worse -- after all, saving your pots is a lot easier than protecting your garden from a digging dog or one who hates your flower bed.
Remove Everything You Can
Lucky for you, dogs can't jump on tables, counters or the top of the refrigerator. That means you can keep your small potted plants safe simply by moving them to higher ground. Plant stands are also a good solution for slightly heavier pots or if you don't have a place to sit the plants down. If Rufus is just chewing and breaking the edges of the pots but not touching the plants themselves, you can try moving the plants to heavier pots. For example, terracotta pots are basically impossible to chew and because they're also heavy, Rufus will have a hard time knocking them over and breaking them.
Block Access to the Pots
If Doggie is having fun with certain pots -- for example, the more chewable plastic ones -- place something in front of them to make them impossible to reach. Another pot containing cactus might work. Chances are Doggie is not going to climb over that to get to the pot he wants to chew, or if he climbs, he'll only do it once. You can also place some higher plants or a piece of furniture right in front of the pots.
Think Disgusting Smells and Odors
There are a number of substances that dogs dislike, but unfortunately some of them will kill your plants. For example, most dogs will run the other way if they smell vinegar -- but if you spray your plants with it, the acidic composition of vinegar will kill them. You could use vinegar, however, on the pots themselves. Just put some vinegar and water into a spray bottle and shake so it mixes well. Then spray the outside of the pot. Or mix red pepper flakes with water and safely spray both the pots and the plants.
Give the Pots Some Armor
Perhaps the easiest way to protect your pots is a combination approach. First, replace all your light pots with heavier ones so Doggie can't drag them away. For large pots, you can even add some stones or bricks to the bottom of the pot to make it even heavier. Then wrap the pot with chicken wire and tie it securely so Rufus can't remove it. Not even the most skilled dog will be able to chew through chicken wire to get to the pot.
Tammy Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including Woman's Day, Marie Claire, Adirondack Life and Self. She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.