If you’re thinking of getting a dog over the coming months, or if you have a pooch already but are worried about the mischief it could get up to over the warmer time of the year, it’s a good idea to start working now on ways to dog-proof your yard.

With four-legged friends being an important part of the family, you want to do everything you can to keep your animal safe, happy, and well. Dog-proofing is vital but doesn’t have to be too stressful, time-consuming, or costly. You can take care of many steps over a weekend or two.

Keep Pests Away

Many dogs suffer issues each year because of insect bites, burrowing, or other situations. For example, mosquito carry diseases, which they transfer to dogs (as well as humans); plus skin conditions, hematomas, and other issues may develop if pets scratch at bites. Ticks are also a huge problem. Sadly the paralysis type kills many dogs each year. Keep your dog as safe as possible from this kind of attack by keeping the nasties away.

For example, use a reliable lawn care service to ensure your grass is kept regularly trimmed. This way, insects will have fewer places to hide, which should reduce the number of them in your yard. Plus, be careful not to leave standing pools of water around. This moisture attracts mosquitos in droves and can also be a lure for other bugs.

Remove Toxic Plants

The next step is to look around your yard, paying attention to the types of plants in it. You may have greenery in your outdoor spaces that’s toxic to dogs, so remove it at once. If four-legged friends are exposed to the wrong types of plants, they can display symptoms such as skin irritations, sore eyes, seizures, heart arrhythmias, liver and other organ failure, and even, in some sad cases, end up passing away.

When buying new plants, learn about them so you don’t accidentally introduce new dangers to your yard. Staff in nurseries and the like should be able to give you information. Alternatively, research plants online.

Some of the potentially dangerous ones to be on the lookout for include:

  • Daffodils
  • Ivy
  • Aloe Vera
  • Tulips
  • Marigold
  • Hydrangeas
  • Cyclamen
  • Rhododendrons
  • Sago palm
  • Lantana
  • Wisterias
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Sweet pea
  • Geraniums
  • Bougainvillea
  • Oleanders
  • Azaleas
  • Crocuses

Be Wary of Harmful Substances

While using chemicals in your backyard certainly isn’t good for you and your family or the environment, it can also be incredibly dangerous for pets. If ingested, dogs can become ill or even die. In particular, things like fertilizers and pest sprays cause issues, as does the blood and bone you put on plants to help them thrive. The problem with blood and bone is that it’s tempting to dogs. Made up of ground, dried, flash-frozen animal bones, the smell gets dogs salivating. If they eat much of it though, it can cause cement-like blockages in their GI tracts.

Other harmful substances to avoid using include baits of any kind (e.g., those used for rats, mice, moles, and gophers), and mulch. Dogs can develop severe health problems or even die because of the poisons in baits, while with mulch, they can get sick because of the cocoa beans (hulls or shells) often used in it. Cocoa beans contain two key toxins bad for dogs, namely caffeine and theobromine.

Restrict Access to Potentially Dangerous Areas

To ensure your dog stays safe in your yard, restrict their access to any potentially dangerous areas. For example, they shouldn’t be able to get into garden sheds that house sharp tools or other objects, or deep water sources like pools and ponds that they might fall into and not be able to climb back out of. Netting is a potential hazard too, as pets can get trapped in and choked by these materials.

Keep your dog out of your compost heap, too. You might think compost isn’t a threat because it only features organic materials, but this isn’t the case. If dogs gain access to compost materials and eat them, they can develop seizures or tremors, have vomiting attacks, etc. The reason for this is that composted items develop mold that, in turn, hosts harmful mycotoxins. Furthermore, you could put scraps in your compost that dogs shouldn’t eat, such as coffee grinds or sultanas or grapes.

A dog always makes for a wonderful addition to a family because they’re fun, loving, sweet, and hilarious. However, you must take steps to keep your pooch well at all times, and out of mischief – especially when you’re not home!