In our day-to-day lives, we may notice our domestic animals doing some weird things, but dogs sleeping in potted plants is not such an uncommon act.
Dogs will sleep in potted plants because the dog sees them as safe and comfortable. Dogs can be very territorial and plant pots can provide a very welcoming area for dogs to rest. However, potted plants are not designed for dogs, and having a dog in a plant pot for too long can cause damage to the plant and the soil.
In this article we are going to discuss why dogs choose potted plants to sleep in, the dangers it poses to the plant, and the steps you can take to safely prevent them from going into your plant pots.
Why Do Dogs Sleep In Plant Pots?
Usually, dogs of a smaller size may seek refuge in the confines of a plant pot because the soil is soft and the dog feels safe. For this reason, dogs tend to like plants and the comfort it provides.
However, the main reason why a dog sleeps in a pot for rest.
Animals need rest from the various activities they had during the day like hunting and other playful activities.
Just like other animals, dogs require cool places away from the heat.
The soil in a plant pot provides the perfect condition for sleep as it is soft, cool, and comfortable.
This is because the plant’s leaves provide shade and create a cool environment that attracts the dog.
Is It Safe For A Dog To Sleep In A Plant Pot?
Sleeping on the soil will not affect the dog unless it’s treated for pests or diseases.
In addition, the dog’s fur will prevent the soil from coming into contact with the dog.
With some well-aerated soils, there will be a certain amount of warmth that will be created as the dog sleeps on it.
Unfortunately, this causes the dog to create a habit of sleeping on the plant soil.
The only way that soil may be harmful to a dog is if the soil was treated for insects and fungi. The chemical used may cause some negative effects if it is ingested.
With the addition of fertilizer, the dog may even lick the soil because of the saltiness provided by the nutrients in the fertilizer.
You can see our detailed article on how potting soil affects dogs to get an idea of the effect of soil on pets.
Can Insects in Potting Soil Affect Dogs?
Potting Soil and Soil from potted plants may contain insects that produce chemicals as a defense mechanism to danger. If the dog has ingested the soil containing such insects, the chemicals secreted by the insects may cause the dog to vomit or have digestive problems which may lead to diarrhea
The moist conditions of potted soil may attract unwanted insects and animals such as frogs. They tend to seek its cool shady environment under the plant which acts as an oasis away from the scorching sun.
With that said here’s my story with potting soil and my dog.
My dog once bit a toad that was sleeping in a plant pot with potting soil. She’s a small dog and very playful. Just a small bit and my dog immediately started to gasp and vomit and also had instant diarrhea.
After a costly visit to the vet, a bag of fluid drip and a shot of antibiotics my dog started to feel better. The symptoms were completely gone after 12 hours of biting the toad which was peacefully lying in the potting soil.
9 Ways to Prevent dogs From Sleeping In Pots
Preventing a dog from sleeping in a plant pot can be beneficial to the dog not to mention the plant.
Prevention methods can range from using a physical barrier to using repelling odors. All these are not harmful to the dog and at the same time save your plant from potential damages that may be caused by the dog and its playful nature.
We are going to discuss the things you can do to effectively keep them out.
1. Use Lava Rocks as Mulch
Lava rocks provide a protective cover for the plant-soil while preventing the dog from sleeping on it.
The lava rock is jagged in nature and makes an uncomfortable bedding for the dog to lay. As a result, this would deter any dog from venturing into any potted plant.
You can check out and compare lava rock on amazon here.
2. Placing Pots On Very High Heights
Placing the plant pot at a height prevents the dog from easily accessing the plant.
The height itself creates a barrier for the dog. The dog now has to put in extra effort in accessing the plant and would rethink its decision as it poses a risk of getting harmed.
Caution must be taken when putting a plant on a height in order to curb a bad habit. The dog may attempt to access the plant and in doing so can topple it over causing harm to both the dog and the plant.
You should ensure that the plant is properly secured on the height to prevent any potential casualties.
3. Using a Physical Barrier
There are very many tools that a person can use as a barrier such as a perforated bucket, or fence with wires and sticks.
You can use old nets to cover the plant. This denies the dog access to the plant. It gives it zero chances of it using the pot so it will go to some other place.
Doing this is very important especially if you are away during the day or not monitoring the dog.
4. Using a Dog Repellant
The function of the repellant works in a way that it produces a scent that is not enjoyable to dogs.
This method works well on stray animals, especially if you have potted plants on the outside areas of your home.
To the dog, it is an odor. dogs will not rest in a place that smells unpleasant as the odor will keep the dog away from the pot.
Also planting smaller plants with high pungent odors will also help deter the dog’s actions when seeking refuge in the plant pot.
Using chili pepper, citrus fruits, coffee grounds, and vinegar is a good way of creating some unpleasant odors for the dog
5. Provide Enough Space for the Dog
Dogs are very territorial and everything from the floor to the ceiling is seen as its own.
If you provide a comfortable space for your dog to play and rest, the dog will not venture into your plant pot seeking a resting place as it will have its own.
In addition, the space provided for the dog will cause it to feel more secure and confident and will not seek out other places to sleep.
6. Moving the Pot to Another Area
Relocating the planter to another area is also an option.
The dog may have found the current area where the plant is located is very conducive to sleep.
Relocating the plant can break the normal routine and environmental conditions the dog is accustomed to when it ventures into the plant pot.
Pro tip: Placing the plant in a separate room and banning the dog from going into the room is probably the most effective method of prevention.
7. Create a Play Area for the Dog
To keep dogs from lurking around in the plant pots, create their own play area. This will certainly serve as a distraction for the dog.
If the dog is very territorial the play area will be like a safe place for the dog and would take the dog’s mind away from the safe haven it once sought in the potted plant.
8. Use a Bright Light
Keep a bright light shining onto the base of the plant.
When seeking a place to sleep a bright light can help deter the habit by producing an unfavorable habit for the dog.
The light must be kept at the base in order not to affect the plant’s circadian rhythm.
9. Use Distractive Toys
Placing toys that the dog may like away from the plant pot can also provide an effective distraction.
Having the dog play with the toys away from the plant will help break the habit of sleep in the plant as it will become exhausted after its playtime and just sleep where the toys are placed.
Can the Dog cause harm to the plant
Ideally, when you apply pressure on something it will become compact if not break.
So yes, the dog can cause the soil to become compact.
Some might argue that the weight of the dog is very small to cause compactness but the truth of the matter is that it will cause compactness even if it’s a small amount.
The soil in potted plants can have different structures, some have very small particles and some have big.
Some are also sticky when wet. Now, the extent to which the soil becomes compact will depend on the type of soil in the pot.
If soil now becomes contact after a series of the dog’s actions sleeping continuously for some days this will cause problems for the plant.
How will soil Compaction Affect the Plant?
As weight is applied to the soil it will force the particles to draw closer to each other.
The overall effect of compaction is poor drainage as the water will either sit on top of the soil or drain very slowly into and out of the soil.
This leads to waterlogging and lack of aeration for the roots of the plant which has the ripple effect of root rot.
Why do Dogs Play in and Around Plant Pots
Dogs often play around plant pots because the leaves and branches are perceived as a toy with its springy nature.
For this reason, dogs often hit the leaves with their paws in a playful nature which causes the leaf to bounce back and forth.
Another reason why dogs play in a potted plant is that they find treasures in the soil. If the soil in the potted plant has stones, the dog will find pleasure in digging in and removing these stones which they can then play with. .
The conclusion to this discussion is very straightforward, one is that the dog sleeps in plant pots because it has a very conducive environment for it to rest.
For the dog, it is safe to sleep in the pot and nothing will harm it.
It is not very safe due to damages that the dog might cause like stepping on the plant or going for a long call on the plant.
So one should use the ways we mentioned above in the article to keep the dogs away from the plant pot.
The soil in potted plants is usually not harmful to dogs. However, the weight of the dog can cause the soil within the pot to become compact.
Using a barrier is a great method for keeping dogs out of potted plants as well as providing the dog with a more comfortable place to sleep will curb the dog’s urge of looking elsewhere for a resting place.
It is not costly to set up some of these preventive measures and they are easy to put in place.