A study from the Ohio State University found that neighborhoods with more dogs had lower rates of homicide, robbery, and to a lesser extent, aggravated assaults compared to areas with fewer dogs. That’s because, when there are a lot of dogs going out on walks, there are also people walking them which puts more eyes on the street. This can discourage criminal activity. So, if dogs have such an enormous impact on our communities and help keep everyone safe, the least owners can do is think about their furry friends and prepare a dog-friendly backyard. In this post, you’ll find some tips that will help you do just that.
1. It all starts with a sturdy fence
Installing a good fence in the yard is one of the best things dog owners can do to keep their dogs safe. That way, dogs can be dog off leash to run freely and explore without the risk of running away and getting lost. There are some things dog parents need to consider when picking the best fence. When picking out the material, it’s up to their preference and budget. The fence can be made from wood, masonry, or aluminum. But some other aspects can be important to keep dogs safe.
First, the fence needs to go around the entire yard and be tall enough so that dogs can’t jump over it. The distance between the bars should also be narrow enough so that dogs can’t squeeze between them (if applicable) and deep enough so that dogs aren’t able to dig under the fence.
2. Don’t forget to plan shady areas
It’s critical to plan to include some shade in the backyard, especially when the house is in an area that has very warm summers. Of course, much like humans, dogs may enjoy lying in the sun for a bit, but it’s important to give them the option to hang out in a cooler spot if they need to. So, making sure the yard has some nice and shady areas is important to protect dogs from heatstroke. To do this, dog owners can plant tall trees or allow their dogs to access the porch easily.
3. Pick plants that aren’t toxic to dogs
Dogs explore the world with their mouths. If dogs can move around freely in the backyard, it’s almost certain that they’ll occasionally bite a plant or two during their explorations. Because of this, the best way for owners to be relaxed in knowing that their dogs can’t eat anything harmful to them, it’s important to choose only non-toxic plants.
If you’re not sure about which plants are toxic to dogs or not, check out the ASPCA’s detailed list where you’ll find each plant’s toxicity level. While you’re at it, you can also have the same care when picking your houseplants. Some plants such as Marigolds, Rosemary, and Sage can also act as natural repellents for pests such as fleas, protecting your dog from these annoying external parasites.
4. Use dog-friendly pesticides
When trying to protect plants and flowers from insects and pests, it’s important not to harm dogs as a side effect. So, when looking for insect repellants, choose a natural and non-toxic approach. These options can include things such as essential oils or boric acid and avoid using organophosphates. While doing this research, the best you can do is talk to your local pest expert as they’ll be the best person to help you find a solution that is effective when protecting your plant but also safe for your dog.
5. Choose a resistant groundcover
Groundcover is any plant that can grow as a top layer of your backyard’s ground. Its purpose is to protect the topsoil from erosion and drought. When looking for natural grass that can act as groundcover, make sure you pick one that is resistant to the dog’s constant stomping and urine. A good example of this is perennial ryegrass.
Another option that requires minimal maintenance is artificial grass. Some can also look and feel like real grass. There are also some non-toxic grasses designed especially for households with dogs that are antimicrobial and allow urine to drain through which helps prevent odors and bacteria.
6. Consider adding a water feature
Dogs need to always have fresh water available and a great way to do this while giving your dog (and kids) a fun feature to play with is by adding a water feature. This can be something like a small swimming pool, a decorative fountain, or a simple sprinkler system. That way, the whole family can have fun and stay cool on warmer days.
7. Get some fun toys or equipment for your dog
Dogs don’t usually play by themselves and need something to play with. Otherwise, they can get bored which can lead them to develop behaviors such as digging or barking. A terrific way to prevent your dog from digging up your backyard is by creating a fun playground to keep it entertained.
To do this, you can create a kind of obstacle course from things like boxes, buckets, and broomsticks or purchase a pre-made kit. These can help provide mental and physical exercise for your dog. All you need to do is train them in how to use the equipment, or just let them figure it out on their own.
If your dog isn’t a major fan of obstacle courses, you can try something like a ball-throwing machine, bubble machine or even create a designated digging space by installing a sandbox.
Making sense of it all
Creating a dog-friendly backyard is a fantastic way to allow your dog to be outdoors without constant supervision and gives plenty of opportunity for your dog to play and get all the mental and physical exercise it needs.