The dog days of summer are almost over but there’s still plenty of time for you and your furry friends to enjoy the outdoors. However, there are things to consider to ensure a safe, functional and pet-friendly yard.
1. Choose your shrubs and flowers carefully. Pets can sometimes nibble on these plants and some are highly toxic. Among the top plants pet owners should avoid are: all members of the lily family; bulbs like tulips, narcissus and amaryllis; azalea/rhododendron; oleander; chrysanthemum; sago palm; English ivy; pothos and schefflera. Even some fruits like oranges, apples, peaches, cherries, apricots, lemons, limes and grapefruit may cause issues for pets. For a complete list, visit the ASPCA website. Then, visit the Lowe’s Garden Center to choose what’s right for you.
Keeping your pet safe can also mean keeping your pet contained to your yard and away from busy streets. Keep in mind, not all animals require the same type of fencing. Some common choices are chain-link, wood, vinyl, metal and composite fencing. Knowing your pet’s behavior can help you choose what type of fencing is right for you and help you decide what looks best for your home.
3. Prevent the great escape. Many dogs love to crawl under and sometimes jump over a fence. For the diggers, wire or stones strategically placed can help keep them from escaping your backyard. For jumpers, adding a smooth surface such as plywood to an already existing fence prevents a dog from gaining enough traction to climb over.
One important part of a pet-friendly yard is something to protect your animals from the elements. Leaving them out in an unshaded space can be dangerous to the animal. It can be as simple as an indented area in the shady part of your yard or a dog house to protect them from the sun, rain and wind. Check out these options from Lowe’s.
5. Love Spot but not his ‘spots’? Most dog owners know it can be tricky to keep your grass green and free of “yellow spots”. That’s because dog urine is so acidic that no ground cover or grass can totally protect it. However, watering your lawn right after your pet’s potty break can lessen the damage. You can also choose a hardier turf that will stay greener longer so you can enjoy your yard for the entire warm weather season.