Sending time in the great outdoors is a pastime for many people. While the whole family heads out into the backyard to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, don’t forget to include your four-legged friend!
A dog-friendly backyard and garden will allow you to bond with your pet more and incorporate them into the fun. These five tips will help you cultivate a space that’s dog-friendly and easy to maintain, so you can always focus on relaxation and having a blast.
Use Gravel or Mulch
If you’re going to remodel your outdoor space, consider using gravel or mulch that won’t get caught in long coats and cause a mess. If you go this route, be sure to choose a mulch that’s made of wood chips and not cocoa beans. Cocoa mulch contains theobromine, the same ingredient found in chocolate that’s poisonous to dogs.
The important thing with adding anything new to your space is to know what you’re getting into. Take the time to do the research before investing your money and effort into a substance that might or might not be dangerous for your pup.
Install a Water Feature
A fountain or wading pool can help your dog have fun and stay cool in the summertime. Avoid hoses or above-ground sprinklers, which pets can chew through. Don’t install a deep pond or pool, which dogs may struggle to get in or out of.
If you have a pool or pond already, make sure you install a gate or barrier to keep your dog out when you’re not around. Supervision is the key to safe fun for your dog.
Plant a Dog-Friendly Garden
Gardening is therapeutic and can beautify your space, but if you have dogs, you have to be careful which plants you decide to incorporate into your landscaping. Fresh herbs, veggies and fruits are a great way to save money and eat healthier, but are all of them safe for the nibbles of a curious pooch?
The American Kennel Club offers a breakdown of which plants are safe and which are toxic for dogs in a garden. Most veggies are safe, but two common choices—onions and tomatoes—should be grown out of a dog’s reach as they’re highly toxic.
Get a Fence
When investing in fencing for your property, be sure to keep your dog’s personality in mind. Some dogs can scale 6-foot privacy fences without breaking a sweat. Others find the best places to dig right under your fence and don’t stop until they see freedom. And most dogs enjoy running off their leash in an open area. If your dog is a jumper, digger, or runner, make sure you install the right type of fence for your backyard to keep them close to home.
Be sure to consider the size of any openings in your fence in comparison to your dog’s size. For example, if your dog is a few inches tall and fully grown, you might not need a lot of height. However, gaps under your fence and between your fencing materials should be carefully considered.
Prevent Fleas and Ticks Naturally
If you have a big backyard with lots of grass or live in a heavily wooded area, fleas and ticks are inevitable. Cut down bushes and shrubs as much as possible, and keep your lawn cut. If you are going to buy any treatments, make sure you only buy dog-friendly products. Many typical products used by homeowners can contain toxic chemicals that can make your dog sick or even cause their death. If you’d rather not use chemical products, look into natural methods using various plants or plant-based methods.
When you make your backyard dog-friendly, you’re creating an environment that the whole family can enjoy—especially your furry family members. As you work to make your space more dog-friendly, always consider safety, health hazards, and toxins. Your veterinarian and local pet store will be able to provide you with the information and advice you need so you know what to avoid and what to invest in as you plan your outdoor renovation.