During the summer, your backyard or garden could serve as a great place for your dog to enjoy the warm sunny weather. Before you let your dog loose, there are certain steps you may want to take to dog-proof the backyard.
Read on to find out how you can create an outdoor space that is compatible for both yourself and your furry pal.
Dogs, whether they are big or small, like to dig for a number of reasons. For example, they may dig to relieve stress or to create a cooler resting spot in the backyard. They may also dig to hide their treasured possessions, such as toys and bones.
Whatever the reason, digging may set some unfortunate consequences for any plants grown in the backyard. If you want to stop your dog from digging certain spots then consider the following tips.
First, re-think how and where you are growing the plants. It would be much easier to prevent your dog from digging away at the plants if they are isolated to one area of the backyard, and if circumstances allow, the plants should also be densely packed.
If you are finding your dog to be stubborn then you may want to consider building a small fence or pebble path along the perimeter of the garden bed.
Once you have the garden bed situation sorted, identify a space in the backyard where your dog can dig away without any repercussions. This spot should be well-sheltered and the ground underneath should be firm.
Once you have identified this spot, consider building or placing a sandbox on top of it. You could either buy a kids sandbox or build your own using planks of wood.
The sandbox should have an easy entrance and exit path and the sand in the box should be slightly damp. If all goes to plan, your dog will fall in love with the sandbox at first sight and never dig elsewhere.
Water Pool & Shelter
With all the fur that a dog has, it is not a surprise that they will instinctively behave in certain ways to cool their body down. As we mentioned earlier, one way they cool themselves is by digging a cool spot in the ground.
To further reduce random acts of digging, consider putting a small water pool for your dog to splash around in. Obviously, you will need to first confirm whether your dog likes to play in water.
The backyard should also have plenty of sheltered spots that will keep the dogs away from the glaring sunlight.
This could be done by strategically placing objects like medium-size trees and garden umbrellas.
You will need to consider factors such as the direction the backyard is facing and the time of day when you will let your dog out to play in the backyard.
Natural Pest Barriers
The presence of pests and parasites is inevitable during the summer season. Chemical pesticide treatment should be avoided to get rid of dog parasites like ticks, fleas, and mites.
Chemical pesticide is not a sustainable solution and long-term exposure may cause harm to both yourself and your dog. Instead, consider natural solutions that could help form a pest barrier around the backyard.
One solution is to attract the natural predators of pests. They could be birds, amphibians, small mammals, or even beneficial insects. For example, if you anticipate having a lot of flea problems in the backyard then consider attracting ladybugs, non-venomous spiders, and ground beetles.
The key to success is to ensure these predators are native to the area you live in. The backyard should also provide a place of refuge (e.g. large rocks for ground beetles to hide under) and a source of water.
If the idea of attracting such animals doesn't thrill you then an alternative solution is to grow pest-repelling plants in the backyard.
Over time, many species of plants have built up defensive mechanisms against elements like pests. Examples of pest-repelling plants include chives, basil, lavender, parsley, and thyme.
You may have noticed that many of these plants are cooking herbs. If you are a cooking fanatic then you could kill two birds with one stone by growing such herbs organically. Not only will they protect your dogs from parasites, but they could also be used for your kitchen endeavors.
Safety and Fences
Safety should be a big consideration when you design a dog-friendly backyard. Safety comes in two forms. First, the backyard should be designed to prevent your dog from easily escaping. Second, there should be no elements in the backyard that may cause harm to your pet's health.
As much as your dogs may love you, their curiosity may have them try and explore areas beyond the fences. There are two things to check for. First, make sure the fences are inserted a few feet deep into the ground.
This is to prevent the dog from digging underneath. Second, make sure the fences are tall enough. You will be surprised by how high some dogs can jump.
Once you are satisfied with the condition of the fence, walk around the backyard and discard any debris that could pose a threat to your dog. This could include objects like sharp rocks, thorns, and toxic plants. The ASPCA's poisonous plant page provides a great list of plants that are toxic to dogs.
Sam Choan is an amateur gardener with a keen interest around topics such as going green, conservation, and gardening. Check out Organic Lesson to view his latest articles.