How to Dog Proof Your Yard

dog playing in the park

If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, then chances are that’s your dog’s favorite place to be. When your dog spends a lot of time in your backyard, it’s important to dog proof your yard as much as possible in order to keep your dog safe. Here are some tips to help.

Fencing in Your Yard

It’s easy to kid ourselves into thinking we’ll have “Rosco” on a leash before the door opens, or that they know better than to leave the yard without you. But the truth of the matter is, it happens much more often than you realize.

Few things in a dog owner’s life are as terrifying as watching either your dog dart out into traffic while chasing a ball or critter, or another person’s dog attacking your dog. Additionally, there’s the classic scene where your canine friend takes off just for the sheer fun of having you chase them in your bathrobe for all the neighborhood to see. If any of those scenarios sound familiar, than installing a fence is a viable solution.

Choosing the Appropriate Fence

The first step in dog proofing your yard is to install an appropriate, quality fence. Fencing materials can be wire or wood and vary greatly in height. Choosing the acceptable fencing size and material type will depend on your individual pet(s) size, personality and physical ability. You may have small, medium, large or giant breed dog. Like many pet owners, you may even have a combination of sizes in a multiple dog home. Additionally, you should consider factors like; do they dig holes, are they an escape artist and how high can they jump?

So, what do we mean when we say, appropriate? Simply stated, the fence needs to be high enough so your dog cannot jump out, get their head or limbs stuck, or be able to dig under. Remember that in addition to fencing your dog in, you are also fencing other dogs out, so choose a strong fence which fully encloses your yard. The fence should be installed so that your dog – or someone else’s – cannot fit underneath, over or through the fence. In households where there are multiple sized dogs, a taller wood fence might better fit the bill.

Available Help to Afford Fencing

We realize the cost of installing a fence can be a financial undertaking for many. The urge to tether your dog outside, even if only temporarily, might be tempting. But we caution you against this. As tethering a dog is not only inhumane, but it is also illegal in Austin, Texas. If you require financial assistance for appropriate dog fencing, please visit the Austin Animal Center website to download a fencing assistance application.

Make Sure Garbage Cans Are Not Accessible

Ingesting garbage can cause all sorts of health issues for dogs. If you keep your garbage cans in the yard, make sure that your dog cannot access them. For the ‘dumpster-diving’ dog, this can prove more of a challenge than for others. It is best to position the cans entirely outside of the area so that your dog (or others) cannot access in order to avoid any mishaps.

If you’re limited on space and have no other choice but to keep the trash receptacles inside their space, than it’s best to house them inside an animal-proof wood or plastic enclosure like these. An enclosure is a sure-fire way to pets and wildlife out of your garbage. They can be purchased at your local hardware store or if you fancy DIY projects, you can easily custom make your own!

Avoid Using Toxic Pest Control or Lawn Care Products

Many pest control and lawn care products are toxic to pets. So it’s best not to use any of these toxic products near the area of your yard where your dog is allowed. There are many eco and pet-safe alternatives available on today’s marketplace. You just have to look for them. Head to your local lawn and garden store and ask about 100% organic pet-safe products. Alternatively, you can search the internet for a broader selection.

Rodent Control Products

Please remember that rodent poisons are highly poisonous your dog or cat. It’s safest not to use such poisons anywhere on your property when you have a dog. Rather, opt for affordable pet friendly alternatives such as electronic deterrents and traps.Fence Out Your Pool

Pools are a great way to cool off in the Texas heat for everyone. But a conventional sized in-ground or above ground pool can spell disaster for your dog. Many folks have the misunderstanding that all dogs can swim. But in fact, dogs can easily drown. While it’s natural instinct for dogs to start paddling in a water, that does not mean they actually stay afloat or swim for any length of time.

If you have a pool in your backyard, make sure that it is fenced in and that your dog cannot get through the fencing. Just like a child, your dog should never be left near the pool unsupervised.

On days when he is allowed in the pool, be sure to bathe him afterwards to remove the pool chlorine from his coat.

Pool Alternatives for Your Dog

If your dog cannot swim, whether in a pool or other body of water, there are doggie life vest available at pet stores or other major online stores. Additionally, a safe and cool way for your dog to chill out in the hotter months is to get them a kiddie pool to lay or splash in. But be sure to supervise and that the pool is a depth for your dog or puppy.

Make Sure Flowers and Plants Are Dog-Safe

Do you have flowers in your backyard? Before you let your dog out to play, do a quick check to make sure that the flower and plant varieties are safe in case your dog ingests or plays in them. Common plants including daffodils, lilies, and azaleas, are toxic to dogs. Before planting anything or releasing Fido into the yard, be sure to review common toxic flowers and these poisonous plants.

Keep the Lawn Mowed

Due to the hot summers and mild winters Texas is known for, fleas and ticks thrive like crazy just waiting for a tasty host like your beloved dog to come sauntering by. Tick varieties of all types are the prime source for Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and others, while fleas can cause a world of health problems including things like:

  • Plague

  • Anemia

  • Tapeworms

  • Bartonellosis

  • Cat Scratch Fever

  • Flea Allergy dermatitis

Flea and Tick Habitat

Fleas like moist and shady areas such as shrubs around the circumference of your house, piles of grass clippings and leaves. Ticks carried in by wildlife and rodents on the other hand; reside in tall grass, wooded areas and piles of downed trees and branches.

Minimizing the access of fleas and ticks to your dog begins with you, Ensuring your furry friend on a flea and tick preventative is great, but it’s simply not full-proof. Safely keep the wildlife out of your yard and create a barrier. Adding a little curb appeal can go a long way as well. Mow your lawn regularly, trim back shrubbery and immediately dispose of yard/tree debris can help to reduce the chance of your dog picking up fleas and ticks while your canine pet is out in the yard.

Bed and Biscuit Can Help!

Dog proofing your yard can take a little time and effort. But with some due diligence, you can make the yard a safe and happy place for your dog to enjoy. If your yard is not safe for your dog yet, then consider enrolling him in Bed & Biscuit’s Doggy Daycare. Our caring and dog loving staff will see to it he/she can get some exercise, social interaction and entertainment during the day while you’re taking care of business.

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