Everyone, both human and canine, deserves to be safe and comfortable at home. The inside of a home must be cozy and safe for everyone who lives there, but it’s just as important that the deck and yard are safe and welcoming. Any dog owner should take careful stock of their outdoor space and plan how to make sure their dog will be safe and comfortable while outside.
Get a Fence
Homes with yards and dogs should have a fence. What type of fence the homeowner chooses to put up depends on the character of the neighborhood and the size and personality of the dog. Wood, brick, iron, vinyl, and chain-link are all options. Larger dogs need higher fences to keep them from jumping over. Higher fences also offer the humans of the home more privacy. For people who don’t want to fence their entire yard, there are still options for creating a safe place for their dog to roam. They could invest in an invisible electric fence, or they could install a dog run, which only requires fencing part of their yard.
- Do Dogs Need a Fenced Yard? Dogs are happier with a place where they can run free while still staying safe.
- How to Build a Dog Run: Four Dog Run Design Ideas: Dog runs can be designed to maximize space for both dogs and humans. One popular choice is to make the dog run accessible from the deck so that the dogs can be let out a back door and walk into the dog run by themselves.
- Why Invisible Fences Don’t Work: Electric fences have lots of drawbacks and aren’t a good fit for every dog.
- Best Dog Fences for Every Breed and Homeowner Need: Whatever fence is installed should meet the needs of the dog and the requirements and taste of the homeowner.
Secure the Fence
Older fences can definitely work for families with dogs, but it’s important to thoroughly go over the fence to make sure that the dog won’t be able to escape. Look for gaps between fence boards or space between the fence and the ground. All gates should latch and lock. Nothing should be near the fence that the dog could hop up on and use to jump over the fence. Also, think about digging. Some dogs are unrepentant diggers. Terriers, huskies, and beagles are some of the breeds known for their ability to tunnel out of their yards. Responsible owners will need to take that into account and secure their fences accordingly.
- How to Help Prevent Your Dog From Escaping the Yard: Using chicken wire or chain-link fencing between the fence and the ground helps prevent dogs from escaping.
- Peace in the Yard: Seven Ways to Dog-Proof Your Fence: Along with keeping the family’s dog inside the yard, fences also serve to keep other animals and hazards out of the yard and away from the family’s pets and children.
- How to Get Your Dog to Stop Digging: Burying 1 to 2 feet of the fence underground helps prevent dogs from tunneling out and escaping.
- Dog Digging Under Fence: Solutions to This Worrisome Behavior: Chicken wire is one inexpensive solution to stop a dog from digging under a fence.
Fence in the Pool
It’s estimated that around 400,000 dogs drown in family swimming pools each year. Many of these dogs were considered good swimmers by their families. If a home has a pool, the pool needs to be fenced so that dogs can’t access the pool freely. Owners may also consider installing a pool alarm that sounds whenever the surface of the water is broken. It’s also vital that families with both dogs and pools teach their dogs how to safely exit the pool.
- The Dog Pool Safety Tips You Need to Know: Fences are key to keeping dogs out of the pool. Gating the home’s deck to make sure the dog can’t access the pool from the deck is also key.
- Keeping Your Dog Safe Around Your Backyard Pool: Along with fences, there are pool covers designed to withstand weights of hundreds of pounds that are designed for keeping pets and children out of pools.
Remove Harmful Plants
Some common plants and shrubs are poisonous to canines. These include amaryllis, azaleas, chrysanthemums, and daffodils. Some fruit trees, like avocado and cherry trees, are also toxic to dogs. The best course of action is to identify everything growing in the yard and check to make sure they don’t present a hazard to the family pet. Remember that even things like mulch can present issues. For instance, cocoa shell mulch is highly toxic to dogs.
- 16 Plants That Are Poisonous to Dogs: Aloe vera is one common household plant that is very toxic to dogs.
- The 25 Most Dangerous Plants for Your Pet: Pet owners should consult this list and check for any growing in their yards.
- Cocoa Mulch Can Be Poisonous to Dogs: Even certain types of mulch can present hazards to dogs.
- Which Tree Leaves Are Poisonous for Dogs? It’s important to keep leaves raked up, since some are toxic to pets.
Mow the Lawn Regularly
Unmowed grass creates a safe space for fleas, ticks, and even snakes. All three are dangerous to pets. Cutting the grass regularly and trimming bushes and shrubs can help eliminate places for these pets to hide. Some people choose to spray their yard with pesticides or insecticides. Discuss this choice with a veterinarian to make sure the chemicals used are safe for everyone living in the home.
- Ten Lawn Care Tips for Dog Owners: Organic lawn treatments are often safer for pets.
- Grass Seeds and Freshly Cut Grass Hazards: Removing grass cuttings prevents them from molding. Moldy grass is hazardous to dogs.
- How to Maintain a Healthy Lawn With Dogs: Although mowing is important, keeping grass a little longer is better for dogs and the grass.
Keep the Yard Clean
Along with mowing frequently, it’s vital to keep the yard clean. All trash and debris should be removed before the dog can get to it. It’s also important to remove debris because it can attract fleas. Pet owners also need to regularly pick up their dog’s waste from the yard. Doing so will prevent an infestation of things like roundworm or parvo.
- Picking Up After Your Dog: Why It’s Important: Putting clumping cat litter over dog waste makes it easier to pick up and remove.
- Homemade Deck Cleaner: Keeping the deck clean is also important for the health of the family pet. This deck cleaner is safe for pets.
- If You Don’t Stoop to Scoop, It Happens: Pet waste left in the yard can attract rodents such as rats.
Remove Bird Feeders
Bird feeders bring birds into the yard. But the bird food inside also attracts deer, squirrels, and all sorts of rodents, and it can even attract larger, more dangerous animals like bears. Dogs who fight or eat these animals can become sick or injured. Bites can become seriously infected. These animals also bring fleas to the yard. Removing the bird feeder and anything that could be a food source for wild animals helps keep pets safe.
- Remove Bird Feeders Where Bears Are Active: Bears are just one of the types of wild animals that bird feeders can attract.
- Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Wild Songbirds: Birds themselves can pose a health risk to pets.
- Experts Recommend Removing Bird Feeders and Baths as Avian Flu Spreads: Preventing the spread of avian flu is another reason to remove bird feeders from the yard.
Provide Water and Shade
Dogs need water and shade when they are outside to prevent issues with the heat. Some dog owners get their dogs a doghouse so they’ll have a safe place to go when outside. Other pet owners set up a shady spot on the deck. Water should also be readily available. Even dogs who have free access to the outdoors and inside thanks to a doggy door sometimes get stuck outside and need to be able to stay hydrated and out of the elements.
- Made in the Shade: Why Pets Need Shade to Stay Safe: Dogs can’t cool their bodies down very well, which is why they require shade.
- Dog Care in Summer: Putting ice cubes in the dog’s bowl is one way to help them stay cool, even in the heat of summer.
- Easy Ways to Create a Shady Oasis on Your Dog-Friendly Deck: A pretty awning over the deck can provide shade to canines and their human companions.
As an article and comment contributor to the site, Scott has been around the pressure washing industry since attending college. In 1993 he started his first company called Oakland Pressure Wash specializing in exterior pressure washing and deck staining. That company evolved into OPW L.L.C. shortly thereafter concentrating more on exterior wood and deck restoration. Scott and his Deck Cleaning Michigan company have restored over 10,000 decks in the Metro Detroit area since the early years. He has become an authority in the deck restoration industry and has contributed to numerous wood restoration forums and informative sites.
All the products he suggests through this site are sold through online sites and in retail stores, allowing the consumer to choose their own means of purchase. Scott’s eCommerce sites do sell many top brands he endorses and if you appreciate any of the help he has offered then feel free to purchase from one of them.