A dog or dogs happily romping in the backyard is a classic dog-owner dream. Achieving this, though, takes more thought than just sending your dog out in the yard and hoping for the best. Take the time to make sure your yard provides your dog with the amenities he or she needs and loves. Fortunately, pet-friendly yard amenities are also great for people as well.
1.Keep the water flowing. Fresh water, and plenty of it, is essential. Why not take this opportunity to add a water feature to your landscape that your dog can access? A splash fountain or stream is ideal, and you’ll enjoy it, too.
A small pond or pool is another option, especially for water-loving dogs. But before you build or even allow access to an existing pool, do a safety check. Dogs should be able to get out easily if they fall in. This means a gently sloping side or easily accessible shallow steps.
2. Consider safety first. Dogs may have descended from free-ranging wolves, but our domesticated friends do best with boundaries. You might opt for a fully fenced backyard or a dog run within a larger area. Either way, you’ll know your dog is both happy and safe.
A chain-link fence is easy to install and provides a safe enclosure, but it isn’t necessarily the most attractive approach. As an alternative, consider a fencing material that matches your landscape style, whether you’re opting for a fully enclosed yard or a dog run. Go with picket fences for a cottage design, sleek horizontal boards for a contemporary lookor posts and wire for a rustic feel.
No matter what style you choose, make sure it is sturdy enough to contain your family friend and designed so a curious dog can’t get stuck between the boards.
3. Provide readily available shade and shelter. This is another essential, as dogs can get sunburn and suffer from heatstroke. A large tree or trees will provide shade, but if trees aren’t possible, look into overhead tarps and shade cloths that stretch over part of the area.
If there’s room, add a doghouse. They’ve come a long way from plastic boxes, as a quick look in a pet store or online catalog will show you. Browse some fantasy doghouseshereand here.
4. Keep your landscaping toxin free. Some common plants are surprisingly dangerous if dogs eat them, including azaleas, lilies and mums. Check with your vet and the ASPCA for a list of plants that can irritate or even kill your pet. Landscaping materials and chemical controls can also cause problems. While mulch is a great choice for a garden and mostly soft on paws, steer clear of cocoa mulch. The smell may be great, but if your dog eats it, it can cause the same bad reactions as chocolate.
Many baits for snails, rats and other pests can be fatal. If you must use them, make sure your dog can’t get at them — and remember, dogs can be remarkably tenacious when it comes to getting at something you don’t want them to get at.