A bountiful backyard is an asset to any household, especially those with furry family members, but having pets adds a few essential considerations to the checklist. Keeping your pet safe and healthy shouldn’t be overly complicated, but even seemingly small things can turn your yard from haven to hazard. Follow these simple rules and you’ll be looking at years of happy memories.
Do a garden audit
Dogs and cats are naturally curious creatures, a tendency that can land them in a troubling situation, especially after an encounter with the wrong plant species. This danger is compounded by the fact that some toxic plants can look fairly innocent, so it’s worthwhile doing some research to determine which plants should be allowed to stay and which need to be removed. If you’re a cat person, you would be wise to clear out all lily varieties, alongside a few varieties of perennial and succulent, while dog lovers will want to eliminate all traces of azaleas, daffodils, and peace lilies. Although removing such beautiful plants probably feels like a waste, it cannot compare to the potential loss of the family pet.
Give them something to do
Boredom is one of the most common motivators for furry escape artists, which is why it’s so important to give active pets plenty of stimulation. Toys are great for keeping them busy, especially the types which don’t require another player, human or otherwise. Sturdy chew toys and ropes can become long-term companions for an enthusiastic canine, whereas cats can often be satisfied with a simple scratching post and laser pointer. The bottom line is that by keeping your pet engaged, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your backyard (mostly) intact.
Put in a sturdy fence
Where some may see a decorative garden feature, most pet owners see an essential safety precaution in the form of a garden fence. The problem is that not all fencing is made equal, and the same goes for dogs.
The right fencing is not only about keeping your pet contained, but should also provide them with a view of the outside world to keep them from becoming bored. If possible, you should tailor the style of your fence to the breed of your pet, taking things like expected height, jumping, and climbing ability into consideration. As a general rule, a tall fence made from a smooth material is a safe option for even the most agile pets.
Keep your gardening to yourself
While there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get pleasure out of your gardening, pets, and dogs, in particular, can complicate the situation. The danger lies not in the process itself but in the products you might use, including insecticides, fertilizers, compost, and even mulch. Fortunately, it is possible to look after your yard and your pets in one by investing in pet-safe insecticides, using mulch made from cedar or shredded pine, and generally keeping all gardening substances and tools out of reach.
Organize a pet shelter
At first thought, a pet shelter may not seem essential, particularly if your pets tend to spend a significant portion of their lives indoors. A quality, size-appropriate shelter becomes a worthy investment, if you tend to spend hours at a time out of the house. This way your pet will be assured a safe, warm place to hang out until you return home. This option can be a little expensive, depending on the size of your pet, but it definitely beats leaving them inside and coming home to find your couch cushions destroyed or your carpet covered in nasty surprises.
Owning pets is one of life’s great joys, and with the right training, a furry companion can slot right into this particular equation. A proper garden is a small investment in return for all of the happiness and emotional support your pet provides, and after time, you may well discover that it has become a safe haven for the rest of the family as well.