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  • How to Make Sure Your Backyard Is Dog-Friendly

    by David Comiskey

    The benefits that dogs bring to our lives are vast and undeniable. We have to make sure that we, in return, do our best to reciprocate. Giving our four-pawed friends plenty of attention, healthy food, and long walks is vital, but the place they spend the most time is at home – often in the yard. Making sure that the yard is a safe, secure, and healthy environment for Fido is a top priority. These tips will help make sure your backyard is dog-friendly.

    A dog playing in a backyard.

    1. Don’t Skimp on Fencing

    Having solid, secure fencing is one of the most important elements in a dog-friendly backyard. No matter how well-trained your dog is, a squirrel or cat could send your pup running out-of-bounds and expose them to the danger of cars, other dogs, or any number of hazards. Making sure there are peepholes in a wooden fence will help your dog feel less anxious about what’s outside the fence, and may even reduce barking. Good fencing ensures that your pet stays contained and safe. It also means that you can install a doggy door and give your buddy the option of going outside while you’re at work. Building and maintaining a secure fence helps you build a better quality of life for your dog.

    2. Include Some Shade

    A secure backyard allows you to let your pooch play outside unattended, which is a dream for most dogs. But if there’s no place to escape from the blazing sun, that dream can quickly turn into a nightmare. A cool, shady spot where your pup can take shelter from the sun is a must. If you don’t have any such place already, consider a doghouse or other small structure that is dog-dedicated.

    Two daschunds in a backyard.

    3. Eliminate Dangerous Plants

    The list of landscape plants that are mildly to severely toxic to dogs is long. It’s crucial to your dog’s well-being that you review it and eliminate any dangerous plants that may lurk in your backyard.

    In particular, eliminate dogbane, whose toxicity to dogs is reflected in its name. It means “poisonous to dogs,” and every part of the plant is toxic. Unfortunately, our dogs don’t have the instinct to differentiate between plants, so it’s up to us to take care of them by removing hazards.

    4. Practice Organic Lawn Care

    File this one under “best intentions gone astray.” While we all want to maintain the best lawn possible for the entire family to enjoy (dogs included), chemical fertilization can be harmful to pets. “Weed and feed” products are particularly risky. But don’t worry, you don’t have to choose between a beautiful lawn and your beloved dog! By using organic lawn care practices, it’s possible to maintain a lush lawn that is friendly to pets and people alike.

    5. Build in Dog-Friendly Features

    You can always add a few personal touches that will make your dog feel like the yard was built just for them. For example, if you have a male dog, erect some sort of post so that he will have his own territory to mark. A large stone, tree trunk, or other prominent feature will do the trick, and save the rest of your yard from becoming a dog urinal. If you have a digger, you may want to create a dog-friendly spot. By building a sandbox and burying toys and treats in it, you can encourage your furry friend to dig to their hearts’ content. You’ll spare your flower beds in the process.

    Having a dog-friendly backyard will give you peace of mind when your dog is left to his own devices outside. It will also contribute to the long-term health and happiness of your canine companion by giving him more area to call his own.

    This was a guest post provided by Annaliese Olson. Annaliese is a gardening and animal care writer. When she moved to the city from her family’s farm, she decided she needed more nature in her life. She is dedicated to urban farming, she loves to creatively discover spaces for her animals and plants to blossom in her city home.

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