If you’re like many dog owners, your four-legged friend is a part of your family and may be loved just as much as your children or other family members. To keep these pooches safe, happy and well then, you not only need to consider things like what you feed them, how often you exercise them, and when to take them to the vet for checkups, but you also need to ensure their areas are secure. Read on for some key ways to dog-proof your yard today so your fur baby doesn’t get hurt.
Stop Dogs From Getting Into Risky Areas
For starters, think about any areas or obstructions in your yard which could be risky for your dog to have access to. This includes things like a pool or other deep water source; a garden shed that contains sharp objects like rakes, shears, and the like; netting which could trap and choke your dog; and even neighbors’ yards.
In particular, make sure your pet doesn’t have a way of gaining access to your compost heap, if you have one. The reason for this is that these heaps contain organic materials, like food scraps, which have strong odors to attract dogs, but which can also lead to health problems.
There might be things in your compost which are just generally dangerous for dogs to eat, but don’t forget that organic materials sit and mold over time too. When this happens, they produce hazardous mycotoxins. These can cause your dog to vomit, have seizures, develop tremors, and otherwise fall ill. As such, ensure your compost is stored in a secure container that cannot be tipped over or dug into.
Remove Dangerous Plants
Next, keep in mind that there are many plants which are fine for humans to be near but which can be dangerous for dogs. If canines come into contact with them they could get irritated skin, sore eyes, or even start having seizures. Unfortunately, some plants can also be so toxic that they lead to death.
Some of the most common plants to be on the lookout for are sago palm (a particularly nasty one for four-legged friends since it can be a cause of severe liver failure); Lily of the Valley (it can have numerous negative effects, including cardiac arrhythmias); and crocuses. The fall crocus, Meadow Saffron, is especially toxic, because it can lead to multisystem organ failure in dogs. Other things to steer clear of include aloe vera, hydrangeas, tulips, azaleas, sweet pea, cyclamen, oleanders, daffodils, ivy, geraniums, marigold, wisterias, bougainvillea, lantana, and rhododendrons, to name a few.
Go through your yard to see if there are any dangerous plants which need to be removed, cut back, or somehow blocked off from pets. As well, when you go to buy new plants, be careful not to purchase anything which could cause your dog harm.
Watch Out for Pests
Many backyards can also be breeding grounds for pests, which in turn lead to health issues for canines. If you want to dog-proof your yard and keep pets safe, you must keep lawns trimmed regularly and plants cut back. This will ensure they’re less able to provide coverage and enticements for pests.
It’s also important to try to keep mosquitoes at bay. Remove as many standing pools of water as you can, and think about using a mosquito defense service to get rid of infestations. Mosquito bites can not only cause your pets to be uncomfortable from itches, but all their scratching can cause hematomas and skin conditions, plus dogs (like humans) can also pick up diseases from the flying insects.
Steer Clear of Harmful Substances
Lastly, think about any harmful substances you use in your yard which could cause a problem for your pet. For example, rat, gopher, or mole baits might be spread around to keep these pests away, but they can end up being eaten by your dogs, and lead to severe health issues and even death.
Similarly, the chemicals you spray on plants or your lawn, whether as fertilizers or as pest sprays, can also cause your dog to get very sick. Avoid blood and bone meals too. Made from dried, ground-up, and flash-frozen animal bones, the smell of them is appealing to dogs. If the canines decide to eat a lot, they can end up with cement-like blockages in their GI tracts.
Be careful about what kind of mulch you use too. You probably know never to let your dog eat chocolate, but have you considered that some mulches are made from the discarded shells or hulls of cocoa beans? These contain caffeine and theobromine, two toxins which are incredibly dangerous for four-legged friends.
I’m no Jethro Tull, but I live a pretty exciting life too!