If you are a pet owner with a yard, it is to your collective advantage to create a space you both can share comfortably. While you may not be able to restrict the chosen path your pet enjoys patrolling, you can arrange your plant growth to help keep garden areas defined and better controlled. Lending to your peace of mind, you also can install a pet door, so the animal has the freedom to take care of business whenever the need arises without waiting on you to open the door or take a walk with your pet-pal. That is not to say that your yard replaces the daily walk, but when your dog, or cat, has more freedom, both of your lives are more enjoyable.
How to Make Your Yard as Pet-Friendly as Possible
Fencing is a primary objective. It protects your pet, but also protects passersby. With some breeds, the digging or tunneling issue can be thwarted with a barrier wall using boards, chicken wire, rebar or poured concrete beneath the fence line. Any propensity to dig through will be met with an impenetrable foil keeping your dog safe in his own yard.
When landscaping, think more of use than strictly appearance. You can train your dog to respect boundaries and use designated areas to do his business. However, planting offensive or thorny bushes is not the best method of sharing the space. Taller shrubs can do more to provide protection for your more vulnerable flowers.
Make use of the pathways your dog has already claimed instead of trying to go against the grain. Avoid metal edging materials in the flowerbeds as these can injure precious paws. Use gravel or mulch that will not stick to long-haired-breeds, but stay away from cocoa mulch. It may contain theobromine, the same dangerous toxin that makes chocolate a deadly poison to dogs.
In the same vein, select species of plants that help abate fleas, such as mint, rosemary and lavender. Dogs are omnivorous, and therefore might enjoy the edibles of fruiting plants such as strawberries, blueberries and oat and wheat grasses. Stay away from foxglove, lily of the valley, iris and monkshood as these plants can make your dog ill, just as the use of toxic lawn and garden products can. Instead, shop for the organic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. These are better for the environment anyway.
Trying to maintain a prize-winning lawn is counterproductive when you have a dog. However, some types of grass are better suited to the wear and tear of pets, such as Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Rye or Turf-Type Tall Fescue. Nitrogen-rich urine is enough to cause dead spots on the lawn when the dog is always using the same spot. You can dilute it by watering these spots or train the dog not to use the same spot repeatedly with the use of moveable fencing. Contact a turf company like Bourget Bros. Building Materials if you have any concerns.
Your dog happily enjoys spending time with you under the arbor or pergola, but any dog treasures a place of their own. Safe shelter in the form of a warm and dry doghouse means your pup has a place to go anytime he wants. A doghouse that is easy to access for cleaning ensures your dog remains in good health from season to season.
If you are so inclined to install water features, a simple, easy-to-use pond gives your dog a place to stay cool in the summer. A self-refilling water bowl can be installed to ensure there is always something to drink.
Deciding how to create a shared yard space for both you and your dog may be as simple as observing how your dog uses the yard. Allowing your dog to use the space safely while maintaining some basic rules of behavior will reward you both with the time spent happily and comfortably. Access to the yard gives both you and your dog the pleasures of nature throughout the year.