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Creating a Safe Outdoor Environment for your Dog

Dogs enjoy running and playing outdoors in the sunshine on a regular basis. Whether your dog lives indoors or outdoors, you will want to prepare your yard to accommodate your dog and provide a safe environment. There are a variety of things you can do that will make your yard a safe place for your dog to enjoy. These steps should be taken before you allow your dog to go outdoors.

  • Clean-Up – Remove any debris such as leaves, fallen tree limbs and old items. Either throw the items away or store them in a shed or garage.
  • Inspect Your Yard – Yards naturally have wear and tear, small dips, holes and lack of grass. You will want to fill-in any holes with dirt so that your dog does not easily trip and hurt him or herself.
  • Remove Toxic Plants – There are a variety of toxic plants that are common in backyard landscaping. The most popular toxic plants are Peace Lily, English Ivy, Oleander, Lilies, Tulips and Sago Palm. Also beware of mushrooms that naturally grow in your yard. They need to be removed on a regular basis since they are toxic to your dog.
  • Fencing – In order to keep your dog in an enclosed area, fencing is necessary. If you already have a fence installed, you will want to search underneath the fence for possible areas where your dog can escape. At times there may be gaps between the bottom of the fence and the ground. You will want to fill these gaps with dirt or large rocks. If you do not have a fence yet, you will definitely want to have one installed. There are a variety of fence types to choose from including chain link, wood and iron. If you choose an iron fence, be sure that the gap between the fencing is not too large, so that your dog can fit through it. If you have a small dog breed, this is definitely a risk. They can easily scoot right through the gaps. Consider a different style fence in this case.
  • Use Organic Products – You will want to use organic, pet-friendly products such as weed killers. Limiting your dog’s exposure to chemicals is essential to his or her well-being.
  • Provide Shelter – You will want to provide a place that your dog can call his own. A dog house needs to be large enough so your dog can stand up and turn around easily inside as well as lie down in a stretched out position. A dog house is necessary to protect your dog from elements such as rain and snow.

By doing these steps you will create a safe outdoor environment for your dog. Keep in mind that dogs should never be left outdoors in harsh weather conditions such as freezing or extreme heat temperatures. It is wise to prepare ahead of time when weather conditions are expected to be extreme. For example, you may want to bring your dog indoors before leaving for work when harsh weather is expected late in the day or overnight.

Photo credit: Denis789/Flickr

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Please consult the services of a Professional Dog Trainer, Behaviorist or Veterinarian before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.