We all love our pets, but any pet owner could tell you that keeping an adventurous pup or curious cat out of trouble can be a challenge. Digging under fences, run-ins with wild animals, and chemical herbicides or weed killers can all put your pet in harm’s way.
If your pet loves to be outside, your backyard can be the perfect spot for them to play and explore. However, to let your pet have free reign, there are a few steps you’ll need to take first.
Read on to learn how to make your yard more pet-friendly this summer.
Fence In Your Yard
Investing in a high-quality fence is a great first step to keep your pets safe in your backyard. Fencing in your yard will keep your dog confined. It can also help keep wild animals out of your yard, protecting your pets from danger.
While a fence might seem like a fail-proof way to keep your pets safe, there are some caveats. For one, many pet owners find their dogs determined to dig under their new fence. This means installing a fence may not be, by itself, a perfect solution.
As a responsible pet owner, you’ll need to watch your dog’s behavior. If digging under your fence becomes a habit, you’ll have to stop it as soon as possible. But of course, stopping your dog from digging under your fence is easier said than done.
Some dogs dig under fences because of natural instinct, while for others it’s caused by behavioral issues. You’ll have to get the root of your dog’s behavior. If you don’t, your pup may end up damaging your new fence or digging its way out of your yard.
Another way to make your yard more pet-friendly is to remove dangerous trees. Tree maintenance is an important part of any homeowner’s responsibilities. Keeping your trees healthy and your yard safe can mean more than just chopping off a few branches, though.
To properly care for trees, you’ll likely need to prune them occasionally. But if you have a tree in a dangerous location or a dead tree in your yard, it’ll need to be removed. These trees can drop branches that could potentially harm your home, your family, and your pets.
Dead trees are especially dangerous. Dead trees slowly decay, losing their structure and strength. Branches will eventually start falling off of it, and the entire tree may fall at some point. You don’t want to risk these things happening while your pets are in your yard, as they could get hurt.
To remove a tree in the safest way possible, talk to a local tree company. The best time to remove a tree will depend on where you live. You’ll want to remove trees before any stormy seasons that could blow large branches down, for example.
Professional tree maintenance companies can also tell you how risky the trees in your yard are, and how soon you’ll need to take them down.
Use Safe Herbicides & Weed Killers
To make your yard a safe place for your pets, you’ll need to switch your yard care products to ones that are pet-friendly. A lot of the more popular brands of weed killers aren’t safe for your dog.
Some of the popular ingredients to stay away from include glyphosate, 2,4-D, and sethoxydim. While it isn’t clear whether they are deadly for pets, there’s evidence they can cause harm and may be toxic.
For example, glyphosate is the primary active ingredient in Roundup. Studies on glyphosate haven’t shown it to be harmful alone. But when Roundup was tested for pet safety, some of the other ingredients in it were found to be toxic.
It’s also been discovered that dogs tend to take in more herbicides, probably because they tend to roll in and eat grass and plants.
For the safest bet, switch herbicides that have not been shown to harm pets.
Keep Yard Tools Locked Away
Whenever your dog or cat is out in your yard, make sure all of your yard tools are put away. You should also keep your shed and garage closed and secured.
The sharp tongs of a rake, for instance, could be easy for your pet to step on if it’s lying in the grass.
Both dogs and cats can be very curious and excited to explore their surroundings. Garages and sheds might seem like a playground to them. But as any homeowner knows, they are probably filled with sharp tools that could become harmful if your pet tries to play with them.
Even a dog or cat walking through your garage or shed could knock something over and get hurt.
Additionally, garages and sheds usually house chemicals like rodent killers and weed killers that would be dangerous for your pet to drink. Even products that are considered pet-friendly are not meant to be digested in large quantities. Be sure to keep these types of products on high shelves in locked away areas your pet can’t access.
On a similar note, if you have a cat who likes to climb, don’t leave tools hanging on the outer edge of your home or shed. From sporting equipment to sharp gardening tools, anything that isn’t well secured could fall and hurt your cat if they try to climb it.
Buy Non-Toxic Plants
Lastly, before giving your pet free reign in your backyard you’ll want to check that all of your plants are non-toxic. Some of the most popular and common plants in your area may be toxic to your dog or cat. For example, rhododendron and azalea can be very dangerous if ingested.
A quick internet search should be able to tell you whether the plants in your yard could pose any issues if your dog or cat decided to munch on them.
When you go shopping for new plants to improve your outdoor space, make sure you check any of your purchases against a list of toxic plants as well. The last thing you want is for your dog or cat to get hurt when they go to check out the new addition to your yard. Be sure to always have a list of dog or cat safe house plants and pick the one you like best.
Along the same lines, make sure any mulch or other gardening products you use are non-toxic as well. Also, try to avoid any fertilizers made with animal by-products. These naturally attract pets. If a pet eats too much of it, they can end up with stomach issues or obstructions.
Carefully read all the instructions for any products you use, too. Check if there are any guidelines for how long to keep pets away from any areas where the product is used.
Keeping Pets Safe in Your Backyard
As a homeowner, it can be hard to take great care of your yard and keep your pets safe at the same time. Put your pets first, and double-check that everything you use in and around your yard is as safe as possible. Creating a pet-friendly yard will give you peace of mind when your pets go out to play.