We love our pets. That loyal bow-wow greeting and morning meow just warms our hearts. Now that pleasant weather is upon us, our pets are bound to long for some outdoor play. Here are some ways to pet proof our yards and keep furry loved ones safe as they enjoy the great outdoors.
How Safe is Your Grass?
Let’s start at the first place their paws may hit the ground: the grass. Many of us treat our lawn with various products to keep it looking lush, but some of these substances may not be safe for Fido and Fluffy. Fertilizers are a great way to feed the grass, but not all are created equal. Be sure to read the label and check for warnings to keep away from pets. Pesticides and herbicides may already be on your radar, but double check that any recently applied applications have completely dried before letting pets loose.
Garden plants, mulch, and so on.
Now is the time to evaluate your garden. Steer clear of cocoa mulch, as it can be toxic to both dogs and cats. There are also several plants to keep away from, such as lily of the valley, azalea, foxglove, and rhododendron. Try surrounding the non-dangerous, yet prized plants with chicken wire to keep pets out. When you need to work in the garden, the chicken wire can easily be rolled up for access.
If Fido wants to roll around in the plants, wooden stakes scattered throughout the garden will give him less room. For cats, rosemary and sage have such a pungent aroma that felines go elsewhere for play.
Outdoor “People” Spaces
What about the outdoor “people” spaces? Check over your patios, porches, and decks for things your pets could get into. Tempting chewable items such as yard games, children’s toys, and grilling accessories need to be put out of reach. Furniture made from iron is a great option for teething puppies that otherwise may chomp on plastic or wooden sets. Perhaps even consider a dogs-only area to contain pets when company is over.
Establishing pet boundaries in a backyard play space is crucial. Firstly, cats are elusive creatures. As naturally great climbers, they can escape from almost anywhere. Animal Planet star trainer Victoria Stilwell has some ideas: “Roller bar attachments that jut out a bit on top of your fence work well,” says Stilwell. Also, she suggests made-for-kitty units that give them outdoor space but also keep them safely enclosed. For dogs, make sure your fence is built high enough for your dog’s jumping skills. Check once a month for any loose spots or potential escape routes.
Digging comes natural for dogs. Your garden, grass, or other plants could be the victims of such behavior. Beat boredom before it starts by offering plenty of toys. Get out once a day with your dog and romp. Don’t negate doggy playmates as a wonderful way to keep their energy at a manageable level.
If boredom doesn’t seem to be the culprit of the digging desire, then consider making an area in the yard meant for digging using sand and partially buried toys. Your pup will love the game!
Once you have taken the measures to properly pet-proof your yard, it will be a more enjoyable space for everyone in the family, whether they’re furry or not!
Sources: bobvilla.com, HGTV.com, dogingtonpost.com, mypet.com
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