If you’re preparing to welcome a new puppy into your family or bring home your very first rescue dog, it’s essential to ensure that your home is safe for a dog. There’s plenty to consider when puppy-proofing your home, but one area that will need lots of attention is your yard.
Your fur-baby will love having their very own outdoor space to explore and enjoy, but you’ll need to make sure the yard is a safe environment for your dog. Keep reading for 8 simple tips on how to make your yard dog-friendly.
The obvious place to start is with the fence. A securely fenced yard is essential to stop your pooch escaping and potentially getting hurt, so give it a thorough inspection before bringing your dog home. Close up any gaps that a curious pup might be able to squeeze through, and take care of any protruding nails or any other sharp edges that could cause an injury.
Next, consider whether the fence will be sufficient if your pooch turns out to be an escape artist. For example, is it high enough to stop your dog from jumping over? You might need to check with the breeder or shelter about your new breed’s athletic capabilities. Alternatively, your pooch might prefer digging escape tunnels, so you may need an additional layer of defense, such as buried chicken wire or maybe some big rocks, to put a stop to that sort of behavior.
Finally, remember to check your fence regularly to make sure it’s still safe, secure, and able to withstand daring doggy escape attempts.
Of course, make sure you check that the gate locks securely too. If the latch is rusty or just not as secure as it could be, it’s time for an upgrade.
Some clever canines can also learn how to open gates, so you may need to invest in a more secure locking mechanism to make sure they stay put.
The next thing you can do to help make your yard safe for a dog is to keep it as clean as possible. This means you should clear away any debris you don’t want your dog to get into, trim the grass regularly to combat fleas and ticks, and clean up dog poo to prevent the spread of disease.
You’ll also need to make sure your compost pile is in an area your dog can’t access, as plenty of the food items you compost can be toxic for our canine companions.
Unfortunately, there are many common plants that can be toxic to dogs. This can be particularly problematic if you’ve got a thriving veggie or herb garden, as popular items like tomato plants and chives are harmful to pets.
If there are any of these plants in your yard, get rid of them or make sure they’re in an area that your pup can’t access. Check the full list of toxic and non-toxic plants from the ASPCA before checking your yard closely.
We all want our yards to look their best and be free of nasty weeds and insects. But many fertilizers, pesticides, and other chemicals used in the garden are dangerous for dogs, so be sure to avoid them at all costs.
Choose products that are safe for use around pets, and remember to keep all of your gardening supplies out of reach of your pup at all times.
Your yard may be a long way removed from the untamed wilderness of the backcountry, but insects and wildlife can still pose a threat to dogs. Fleas and ticks are a common worry, so make sure your pup’s parasite control medication is up to date and your yard is clear of debris. It’s also a good idea to check your dog for ticks regularly after periods of outdoor play and exploration.
Other predators your pup could encounter in your yard vary depending on where you live. From snakes to coyotes, there are plenty of potential hazards — so make you know what to do to deter any predators that call your part of the world home.
Next, you can make your yard a safer environment for your dog by ensuring that they have adequate shelter. This will give them somewhere to retreat to when they need to escape the hot summer sun, or if they want to get out of the rain.
An ample supply of fresh water is also a must to help your pup stay hydrated and happy.
Last but not least, why not take some simple steps to help make your yard an engaging and enriching environment for your dog? For example, you might like to create a special digging zone for them, add a water feature where they can cool off, or even build them their very own obstacle course.
By giving your pup activities and features to help keep them occupied, you’ll be helping them stay active and providing some much-needed mental stimulation. When your dog is tired, happy, and always on the go, they’ll be much less likely to try to escape or turn their attention to destructive behavior. And that, we can all agree, can only be a good thing.