Every pet parent dreams of giving their fur babies a wide yard to run around in. Although yards and gardens are great spots for playing, they can also be dangerous for your pets. You might be unknowingly growing plants that are poisonous for dogs, or the insecticide you’re using might not be safe for pets.
It’s your responsibility as an owner to make sure that your dogs and cats are safe, especially if your pets love to explore around the property.
Follow these five easy tricks to make your backyard more pet-friendly and more fun for your fur babies.
1. Provide shade and shelter
Dogs are prone to heatstroke, especially breeds with thick fur and are used to cool temperatures. Large trees, overhead tarps and dog beds should provide enough shade for your pet to rest. You can also build a small kennel for your dog, so they have their own space in your backyard.
Don’t forget to keep your pup well-hydrated when they’re outside. Have an outdoor water bowl that’s always clean and filled and keep it in the same spot. This way, your pet knows where to go when they’re thirsty.
2. Add some paths and comfortable grass
When adding paver pathways, be sure to choose materials that are comfortable underfoot. The path should be easy to walk on, doesn’t cling to your dog’s feet and fur, and doesn’t get too hot when the temperature rises. Look for a professional paving installation service that has experience working on pet-friendly yards. They’ll know which materials meet these criteria.
When it comes to your lawn, choose a ground cover that’s safe for pets. Clover, silver carpet, and Elfin thyme are some popular dog-friendly ground covers. They’re soft to walk on and safe for dogs to eat.
If you’re worried about your pet peeing and causing brown stains on your grass, you can opt for a synthetic turf instead. Artificial turfs are low-maintenance and more durable than authentic grasses. Just make sure the material doesn’t become too hot for tender paws.
3. Avoid toxic plants
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals published a list of plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. Some examples are rhododendrons, azaleas, and aloe. Instead of these toxic plants, you can grow ones that are safe and beneficial for pets. For example, basil is a dog-approved herb since it has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
If you’re keen on growing azaleas and other flowering plants that aren’t safe for pets, you can install a fence around the garden bed. This would prevent your dog or cat from munching on the plant while protecting your flowers from damage.
4. Eliminate flea hiding spots
Fleas and ticks can secretly thrive in your yard, ready to pounce on your pets. Eliminate fleas by getting rid of their favourite hiding spots, such as tall grasses, thatch, and leaf litter.
Avoid overwatering your lawn because moisture attracts fleas. You can keep your lawn dry but not dehydrated by increasing the sunlight your yard receives.
You can also add a layer of cedar mulch. Fleas hate the smell of cedar, so it’s the perfect mulch ingredient for a pet-friendly yard. Place mulch in areas where your pet likes to rest, such as their play area and doghouse.
5. Designate a play area
Finally, create a designated play area for your pups and kittens. These spaces attract their attention and keep them from wandering into potentially dangerous areas on your property.
The play area’s design depends on your pet’s personality. You can include a “dig zone” in the play area. This allows your dog to dig as much as they want without harming your plants. Another option is to use hardscaping elements to create obstacles, balance beams, and tunnels for your pet to weave through.
If you want to give your pet the best and safest possible outdoor area, you can consult a landscaping company for advice. Choose a lawn service that is known for its pet-safe methods and design, so you can have a yard that both humans and pets would love.