Dogs are naturally energetic and curious creatures, which is why letting them run around in your backyard is such a fitting activity for them. That said, just because you don’t see any obvious hazard in their surroundings doesn’t mean they are completely safe. There are many landscaping and fencing decisions you can make that puts your dog’s health at risk in different ways.
Keeping them away from water features, toxic plants, and fetching sticks is just the beginning. To achieve peace of mind when letting your dog out in the backyard with minimal supervision, you need to make sure that you follow these tips:
Be Smart About Your Fencing
Installing a four to six feet fence won’t always suffice to keep your dogs within the boundaries of your backyard. You have to consider their tendencies and athleticism to determine the perfect fence material and style for you. Even if your dog is small and not athletic, they may be excellent diggers. Should this be the case, the money you invested in a tall fence would have lost its value.
There are a couple of general considerations you have to make to end up with the right fence. The first one is material. Right now, aluminum fences are among the top choices of homeowners due to their durability and versatility. Other crucial choices are the picket spacing, the horizontal features, and fence top design.
If your dog is a climber or a jumper, extend your fence by adding an L-footer or a lean-in top that resembles an inward awning. You can also add a coyote roller, as it prevents dogs from getting the foothold they need to make the leap out.
What if your dog is a digger? Use a concrete footer. Pour it along your fence’s perimeter to discourage digging.
Keep Them Away from Compost
Using food and garden waste to improve the soil in your backyard is a great choice, but not when you have a dog. They’ll sniff it out and dig until they find it. Worse, by the time you find out what they’ve done, they’ve probably already chewed the banana peelings, vegetable leaves, moldy food, eggshells, and coffee grains you buried. The same applies if you choose the wrong kind of mulch. Cocoa mulch has the same toxic elements as chocolate, and this can poison them when ingested.
The solution is to use safe alternatives. Shredded pine, cedar, and hemlock bark are some of your best options. Just make sure that you read the instructions before using them and still take measures to keep your dog from eating them.
Address Tick Hiding Spots
Dogs typically get fleas and ticks from exposure to grass. This is because these pests hide in grass and tall bushes, and the higher they grow, the more of them you’ll find. When they attach themselves to your dog, they can cause a lot of health problems.Some common risks involved are hair loss, hot spots, tapeworms, anemia, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Babesia.
Spare your dogs from the inconvenience of having fleas and ticks by regularly mowing and trimming your lawn. Doing so is usually enough to keep those pests from nesting in your grass.
Stop Using Insecticides
It’s best to keep your dog away from insecticides altogether. A good portion of the herbicides, fertilizers, sprays, and insecticide baits available in the market today contain ingredients that are poisonous to your dogs. The kinds you must avoid at all costs are systemic insecticides with disulfoton, mole bait with zinc phosphide, and snail baits with metaldehyde.
In cases wherein you can’t help but use them, it’s best if you take extra precautions by surrounding the plants with garden fences. Never leave your dog unsupervised near it, and make sure that the insecticide has fully dissipated.
Keep Gardening Tools Out of Reach
Just because your dogs can’t destroy your garden tools by chewing on them doesn’t mean they won’t try. This is why you should never leave any equipment or product lying about when your dog is around. They can easily cut their tongue, paws, and noses on sharp tools. Eye injuries, too, are possible when they’re excitedly inspecting rakes, hoes, and trowels. The hazard is severe if your tools are rusty and puncture any of your pet’s body parts.
Assign a designated place for your garden tools and make it a habit to return them right after use. This is the best way to guarantee that your dog will steer clear of garden accidents.
The Best Prevention Is Training
Training your dog is still the most optimal means of keeping them safe. As they’re roaming the backyard, teach them what they can and cannot do. It will take consistency and a lot of treats, but in time, you’ll have a dog that knows the rules and sticks to it.