Who spends more time in your yard than you do? Likely your dog. Here are a few tips to make your outdoor spaces more canine-friendly.
If you were the dog, what would you want? Room to run? A place to dig? A nice, shady respite? Perhaps all of the above.
1. Choose Plants Wisely
Choose sturdy, nontoxic garden plants. Dogs don’t naturally avoid toxic plants and might eat them. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a list of plants that can be poisonous to dogs: goo.gl/ythsYt. You also can search for plants that are harmful to cats or horses.
2. Go For Paw-Friendly Materials
You can plant (safe) vegetation such as ornamental grasses as doggy boundaries. Place plants close together to designate areas, such as flowerbeds, as off-limits, and train your pet to avoid them. Leave some open areas for your dog to run and play in.
3. Think Outside (or Inside) the Box
In your dog-friendly oasis, consider adding a splash pool just for your dog; a sandbox, digging box or bed if Fido loves to dig; and a “puppy pergola” for shade. A child’s plastic pool probably isn’t sturdy enough for Fido. Chewy.com offers a collapsible version made of “extra-tough” PVC by Cool Pup for less than $75.
4. Eliminate Hazards
Paved surfaces can get too hot for your pet’s paws, so make sure your dog’s main play area has grass and shade. For practiced escape artists, check fences for holes and weak areas. Pay special attention to gates and locks to see that they are fastening properly. If you use an invisible fence, test it to make sure it’s working properly and your pet knows the boundaries.
5. Make a Window to the World
You can buy and install a fence bubble window or create a dog window in your existing fence using screening or glass. “It can help stop excessive barking since the dog will be able to see what they smell or hear just outside the fence,” says the DIY Network, which offers instructions on how to install a peek-through fence window: goo.gl/i1D4Hd. You can also find some creative alternatives with a Pinterest search.
6. Provide Access to Water
According to Dogster.com, an average, healthy dog drinks about a half to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. Puppies need a half-cup of water every two hours. A water element such as a pond or waterfall can do the trick. Or just make sure there’s a water bowl that’s always filled.
7. Designate Shady Spots and Shelter
Make sure there’s a nice, shady spot under a tree or bush. Or install a doggy door into a garage so Fido can escape the weather. A good old-fashioned doghouse works, too.