Top Tips for Dog-Proofing Your Yard

Dogs love running around the backyard, but if they’re left on their own for too long they can get up to all sorts of mischief. Gaps in fencing, unsafe plants and access to dangerous areas can all lead to problems for your furry friend.

Proper planning and upkeep of your yard will keep your dog comfortable and safe, removing threats and improving their living area. Follow these top tips to keep your dog happy and your yard looking great.

Install a Secure Fence

The best way to protect your dog and your property is with a secure, dog-proof fence. Fencing the perimeter of your property will keep your dog from wandering into unsafe areas or getting lost. It will also help a new dog learn where the boundaries are.

If you have a pool, then it will need to be fenced to keep your dog from falling in. Pool fences are usually subject to strict regulations depending on the area you live in, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be part of your outdoor design plan.

Dog fencing ideas for outdoor living areas, such as those with a BBQ, will stop your dog from burning themselves or harassing your guests for scraps. They can also protect your outdoor deck or furniture from getting ruined. Decorative screen fencing can be a great way to section off areas while maintaining style in your backyard.


Checking Your Existing Fencing

If you have an existing fence, check it for weak spots such as gaps, broken panels or soft ground. Dogs will often dig underneath fences, so you may need to consider having your fencing replaced or installed deeper into the ground.

Dogs will often seem bigger because of their fur and can squeeze through deceptively small places. A general rule of thumb is that if their heads can fit through something, their body can too. It’s important not to leave large gaps between posts or slats in your fence and check whether your fence is tall enough to prevent your dog jumping over.

One of the biggest risks of an unsecured fence is if it allows access to bins which can be knocked over. This can be dangerous, as your dog might eat something from the bin that will make them sick.

Select Safe Plants and Flowers

Before bringing a new puppy or plant home, check to make sure that your plants are safe for animals. Curious dogs will usually try to dig up plants or eat them and may get sick. Plants which have a ‘bulb’ at their base aren’t safe for dogs and include:

  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinths
  • Tulips
  • Azaleas
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Lilies

More reading: Poisonous Plants for Dogs and Cats to Avoid 

Cat behaviour problem

Fertilisers and weed killers can also be dangerous for your pets as they may contain chemicals which are toxic to animals. It’s best to be safe and when possible choose garden products that contain only natural ingredients. The labels on your products should specify whether they’re safe for animals, but you can always check potential plants and purchases against a list of known animal poisons.


Secure Your Dog’s Home

Just like your home, your dog’s sleeping area should be warm in winter and cool in summer. Making your dog’s kennel safe and comfy will give them a good area to rest in and protect them from harsh weather.

Placing your dog’s kennel on the side of your house or under a large tree will help to protect it from rain or direct sunlight. During hot and dry weather, make sure your dog’s kennel is in the shade and that they have plenty of access to water. In winter, consider shifting the kennel to a warmer spot which gets more sunlight and check that they have plenty of blankets to stay warm.

Your dog should also have plenty of toys to chew on and play with. This will let them enjoy the feeling of gnawing on something, without turning to your plants or outdoor furniture.

Dog-proofing your yard can take a bit of thought, but making the perfect home for your pet will keep them safe and comfortable all year round. What ideas do you have for your yard? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author:
This article was written by Daniel Defendi, who recommends Fencemakers in Perth for help fencing your yard. You can catch Daniel on Google+ to discuss this piece.

More reading:
Are you walking your dog enough?
How to Provide a Safe Bathroom Environment for Your Dog
Pet-proof your garden 
Natural Cures for Pyoderma In Dogs
Pond care
4 Ways your home security is endangering your pet


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