With spring just around the corner, you’re probably looking forward to spending more time outside. And if you have a puppy in your home, you can bet he is too!
Of course, your puppy’s safety is always a top concern. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can keep Fido out of harm’s way while enjoying some fresh air and exercise together. We’ve rounded up some top tips to puppy-proof your yard just in time for warmer weather!
1. Make sure your fence passes the “puppy test”
Make a habit of routinely checking your perimeter to ensure that your pup stays put. Examine your fence line: are there any gaps wide enough for a wriggly puppy to squeeze through? How about gate latches—are they secure and functioning properly?
Patch up any potential escape routes to keep your curious pup from making a break for it. Check out local companies in your area – they may have innovative solutions you can implem ent to keep your puppy in your yard.
2. Enclose all bodies of water
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Ponds and swimming pools can pose a serious risk to your puppy—even for those who are fond of the water. It’s imperative to place a boundary around any bodies of water in your yard to prevent a tragic accident. PetMD also recommends training your pup from an early age how to safely enter and exit a pool.
3. Provide Shelter
When the hot July sun sends you reaching for sunscreen and shades, don’t forget about your dog’s comfort! It’s up to you to protect him from the elements by providing adequate shelter outdoors. A cozy dog house can shield your pooch from rain, drafts, and unbearable heat.
4. Nix toxic plants
Did you know that many common flowers are actually poisonous to our beloved canines? While a striking foxglove or a cheerful group of daisies is a welcome sight to us humans, these plants can cause serious health complications if ingested by our dogs.
For a complete list of toxic plants, the ASPCA has you covered. Be sure to check out their guide if you’re in the planning stages of gardening.
5. Stick with natural, non-toxic gardening solutions
Unfortunately, many of the lawn and garden products on the market today are loaded with harmful chemicals that could cause serious illness in your dog. But not to worry—there are a number of safe gardening alternatives for you to try:
Use white vinegar spray to keep your pup from munching on your precious tomato plants. The vinegar is unharmful to your plants, but it has an unpleasant odor that will keep your dog at arm’s length.
Marigolds are an interesting option: these popular flowers actually contain a scent that your dog finds offensive (really!) Try planting them among your veggie garden for optimal puppy-proofing results.
Make your own citrus spray to deter trespassing. (Dogs hate the smell!)
Keep in mind, these puppy-proofing odors will fade over time. So you’ll need to reapply them regularly to maintain their effectiveness. You can also use these tricks to discourage your pup from chewing things you’d rather he leave alone, such as patio furniture.
6. Secure garbage cans
Trash bins can be a tempting smorgasbord for inquisitive puppies. Consider swapping out old bins for cans with sealing lids to keep your dog away from rotting garbage. Or you can store your trash cans outside of your yard’s fence line to keep your pup from ingesting harmful chemicals or leftover dinner scraps.
7. Protect Fido from poisonous lawn treatments
Before using any harsh lawn treatments, be sure to read the ingredient list carefully to identify any possible toxins. If you treat your grass with weed killer, fertilizer, or insecticide, be sure to keep your dog off the lawn for a full 24 hours.
8. Opt for dog-safe pest control
You don’t need to deal with common garden pests like beetles or ants just because you have a dog. While you should steer clear of toxic pesticides, you can still put some non-offending products to work in your lawn. Some options include:
Essential oils: tea tree oil kills parasites and pine can repel mosquitos
Diatomaceous earth: eliminates beetles, ants, and slugs, but poses zero threat to your dog
Boric acid: harmless to canines, boric acid controls pests, weeds, and funghi