Our furry friends, whether old or young, love the great outdoors. The fresh air and open spaces give them the freedom to be themselves. However, just because our pets are descended from outdoor animals doesn’t mean they are still just as well suited for it. As pet parents, we must take steps to ensure their safety always. Despite how natural our little ones seem in the outdoors; our yards aren’t quite as natural as they seem. Here are a few simple tips to help you keep your yard safe for your pets.

Yard Grooming

One of the biggest threats that your little one’s face outdoors comes from things we can’t typically see. By this, we mean fleas, ticks, and other bugs that like to hide in fur and terrorize our pets. Believe it or not, the best way to cut down the chances of your pet getting fleas or ticks is to keep your yard in good shape. This means keeping the lawn mowed and making sure weeds are pulled. These awful insects love to hide in tall grass and leap onto our pets’ fur. Additionally, the shorter your grass is, the less likely small critters are to hide in it. This means there are fewer small, wild animals for your pets to catch dangerous diseases from. If you needed additional motivation to whip your lawn into shape, this should be it!

Be Sure to Use Pet-Friendly Plants & Products

I’m sure some people roll their eyes at this point, saying “obviously, I’m not going to plant poisonous plants in my yard!” However, what pet parents don’t always realize is that what’s poisonous to us isn’t always poisonous to our pets, and vice-versa. For both dogs and cats, there are plants very common to the average garden/yard that are quite dangerous. According to WebMD, begonias, clematis, and azaleas are exceptionally dangerous to pups, and lilies specifically can be awful for cats. Not only are these commonly planted plants, but they also grow naturally in many yards, so keep a close eye on what’s growing. Always use pet-safe fertilizer, weed killer, and growth additives in a yard where your pets run and play. Research a product if it is not clearly marked “pet-safe” before using it so you do not accidentally expose your pet to something dangerous.

Secure Trash & Cover Compost

One of the most common causes of avoidable pet illness involves them digging into a trash can, and digesting something they shouldn’t have. When we’re talking about the kind of trash that sits in bins outside for extended periods of time, it’s typically decaying grass and weeds, empty chemical containers, and the loose trash that blows in. Oftentimes, these can be even more dangerous than indoor trash. Be sure that if you have trash bins accessible in your backyard, the lids are secured always, and make sure that the material the bins are made of can’t easily be destroyed by animals. The second point here is that if you have a compost pile in your yard, make it completely inaccessible to your little ones. Compost, for obvious reasons, is very dangerous to pets, so it’s vital that they can’t access it.

Inspect Your Fence

As old fences start to rot over time, the wood becomes very brittle and easy for our pets to break. This has obvious dangers, like splinters and scrapes, as well as making it very easy for them to escape. A broken fence also makes it easy for unwanted critters to make their way into the yard and get our furry friends sick. It’s important to take a few minutes to inspect every inch of your fence and patch up any holes or weak areas that exist. Our yards are only safe playgrounds for our pets when the boundaries are safely secured.

Another point related to fencing; if you have a swimming pool, be sure to fence it off. As pet parents, we tend to trust our pets a little bit too much around pools, especially if they’re typically good swimmers. However, their swim sessions should always be supervised.

Create Boundaries

Especially when you’re doing work in a small part of your yard, a key part of pet-proofing involves keeping your little ones out of areas that are unsafe for them. By creating these boundaries, you don’t have to worry about the “what ifs” that come with leaving your yard completely open. There are a few different options when it comes to boundaries. First, you can use a leash and tie-down, like the Aspen Pet Stake Easyturn w/ Tie Out. This gives your furry friend a boundary on the length of the leash you use. The stake stays firmly planted in place and creates a finite area for your little one to roam. If you prefer to create boundaries without the use of leashes, another option would be to use a Petmate Exercise Pen. This way, your pet can run around freely within an enclosed space outside. These pens come in multiple sizes, so you can customize how much space your pet has to roam. A portable pet home or pop-up play yard can be another quick and compact option, especially when visiting a friend or family member's house and yard.

Provide Fresh Food and Water

Always be sure your pets have fresh food and water when your pets are outside for extended periods of time. Choosing the right bowl for outside use is important so they always have access to these necessities. Place their bowls somewhere they will not be hit with direct sunlight so they do not get too warm, leaving your pet with water that is too hot to drink. You should also consistently clean your pet’s bowls to ensure they are not harboring bacteria or anything else that could make your pet sick. With its heavy-duty construction and non-tip design, the Petmate Crock Bowl is a great choice for outside feeding and watering.

Provide Shelter

During the summer months, we tend to spend a lot of time outside with our pets. While we hang out in the shade, they run around and play, and exhaust themselves. Even if we’re playing with them, that usually entails the pet parent throwing something, and the pet fetching it. This is far more exhausting for the little one than it is for us, and we don’t always keep that in mind. In response to that, it’s very important to provide shelter from the elements that your furry friend can rest in. This way, they get out of the sun or rain when they’ve had enough, and they can rest comfortably with the feeling of security that they enjoy indoors.

In this regard, there are a few different directions you can go. If you’re looking for something simple, that won’t be used terribly frequently, consider the Aspen Pet Petbarn 3. This house provides an escape from the elements and features a rear vent to promote circulation. If you’re looking for something that brings more of a design aesthetic to the table, take a look at the Aspen Pet Ruff Hauz, which is as durable as it is beautiful, and also resists rot. Another benefit during wet months, it’s raised off the ground to avoid flooding. Lastly, the Petmate Indigo with Microban is a great choice for furry friends who spend the majority of their time outside. No matter how acclimated they are to the outdoors, they still need a top-tier shelter. The Indigo is extraordinarily durable, has an offset door to block the wind, resists mold, and features a very efficient ventilation system to keep the entire shelter cool. No matter which direction you go in terms of housing, you can’t go wrong. At the end of the day, your little one needs to be able to hide from the weather and rest outside.

The yard should be a place to relax and have fun with your furry friends, you just need a little extra preparation to be sure it is pet-safe. By following these easy tips, you can enjoy endless outside play time with your pets.

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