With the arrival of summer comes the urge to spend as much time as possible playing in the backyard, for both people and their dogs. With many people considering the backyard an extension of their home, ideas for enhancing this outdoor living space abound on the internet, magazines, and in your mind’s eye.

It doesn’t take much effort to create an outdoor space that’s safe, fun and stimulating for your dog as well. A dog friendly yard is not only an enjoyable place for your best pal, but can be a nice addition to your own personal outdoor oasis.

Safety First

Shade, please – One of the most important things you can do for your pet is to provide a few comfy, shaded areas to rest when temperatures rise. A dog house is an option if it isn’t too stuffy  in the heat. Position water bowls in the shade so the water stays cool as well.

Speaking of water – A fountain, or other water feature placed in a shady spot is a great way for pets to keep cool when the heat is on. Keep the water clean to avoid mosquito breeding.

Green fencing – A fence is a priority for the safety of your dog (and kids!). Pet-friendly shrubbery, ornamental grasses, or even creeping vines will make it more attractive.

Avoid the toxins – Many common lawn and garden chemicals and landscaping options are potentially hazardous to our pets’ health. Keep toxic herbicides, pesticides, bait, cocoa mulch and plants that pose a danger to our four-legged friends out of your dog-friendly yard.

Pet-Friendly Yard Ideas

It’s more than possible to have an attractive, dog-friendly yard that promotes the comfort and entertainment of your best pal. And fun entertainment helps to keep them out of trouble. Consider these ideas:

Dig dig – Keep your dog from digging in the yard or flower beds by providing him or her with a digging spot or box, such as his or her own sandbox. Hide a Kong as a treat for digging in the right area.

Potty spot – All dogs will mark their territory but dog urine is unkind to grass. You can encourage them to mark in designated areas by providing some decorative “marking posts” such as a faux fire hydrant or large rocks.

Dog Pool – Give your dog a children’s wading pool or other shallow water feature. On special days, toss in a bag of ice to really cool it down.  

DIY Agility Run – Put together an at-home agility run or obstacle course. Take an agility coursetogether then use do this as a fun at-home activity.

Trampoline – If you haven’t seen all of the recent videos of dogs jumping on trampolines, you don’t realize how much fun dogs can have with one.

Window on the world – Install a plexiglass peek window in your fence so that your pet can enjoy watching the world from the safety of the yard.

Paths – Many dogs like to patrol the yard. Save your landscaping and create more enjoyment for your dog by creating a few paths in the areas where he or she normally walks or spends the most time. Choose paw-friendly materials.

Don’t forget the toys – No dog-friendly yard is complete without a good selection of sturdy, outdoor toys! Choose the types of toys your dog loves the most, and rotate them as needed to keep his or her interest. Consider a flirt pole or, for large dogs, a Jolly ball.  

A backyard play zone will keep your dog happy and stimulated. If you’re going to be outside more often, don’t forget about your dog’s flea and tick preventives this summer! If you haven’t started your pet on a parasite preventive program, or need a refill, don’t hesitate to contact us at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital.