Our gardens are places to relax, have fun, enjoy a barbeque with friends and family, and somewhere for the 2 and 4 legged kids to let off steam.
We want our dogs to be safe in the back yard, able to mooch around, without coming to any harm. Yet there are dangers, and every year dogs are admitted to vets for costly treatments due to these.
So what simple steps can we take to protect our dogs and keep them safe in the garden?
Escape Proof Fencing and Gates - Keep Your Dogs Contained
Some dogs never try to leave, others are serial offenders. But there are ways to keep your dog contained safely in your yard.
- Colourbond fences and gates 1.8m tall - colourbond stops dogs seeing what's going on (a big reason to try to leave) and 1.8m is a decent height that will keep the majority of dogs contained
- Keep gates padlocked to prevent delivery people accessing the yard and inadvertantly letting your dog out
- If you have a digger, beat them at their own game. Dig a trench along the base of the fence and place a row of besser blocks in it. You can cover with some earth so that the blocks aren't visible
- If you have an expert jumper or scrambler, put pvc pipe rolling bars along the top of the fence - check out this guide on how to make them - there are also videos on Youtube.
Give Your Dog Adequate Shelter
If your dog will be left outside for long periods of time, make sure they have access to shelter. This needs to keep them cool in summer, warm in winter, and protected from the elements.
You might choose to use a kennel or dog house of some type, allow them access to an alfresco area or the garage, or use a shade sail. It's a good idea to use an elevated bed, which allows air to flow underneath.
They will also need access to fresh water. These automatic bowls are excellent, great value, easy to keep clean and durable.
Avoid Toxic Plants
There are many plants which are toxic to our pets - this is not an exhaustive list by any means.
Some of the more popular plants which are toxic to dogs are
- Sago Palm
- Spring flowering bulbs
Further information can be found in a CSIRO publication Poisonous To Pets
Use Beneficial Bugs Rather Than Insecticides
With the trend towards organic gardening, it is easy now to use beneficial bugs to keep plants healthy, rather than relying on poisonous insecticides to do the job.
Lacewings, ladybirds, beetles and more are all beneficial bugs which can deal with specific pests. More information on this can be found here. Don't worry if your garden is full of the pests and none of the good bugs - they can be purchased online from several Australian companies.
Use Beer Not Slug Bait
Slug bait doesn't just kill slugs. It's bad for your dogs too. If you have a problem with snails and slugs in your yard, beer traps are safe way to deal with them. Sink a small container into the ground and fill with beer - the slugs are attracted to it, fall in and drown. There are worse ways to go ;) Citrus halves also work, but not if your dog wants to play with them. Source: ABC Gardening Australia
Use Dog Safe Mulch
There are several types of mulch which are safe to use where dogs have access Source : Labrador Landscape Supplies
Always avoid cocoa mulch which is toxic to dogs
Keep Grass Cut and Shrubs Tidy
I know, you're wondering what this has to do with keeping your dog safe in the backyard.
By keeping it well maintained, you reduce places for ticks and fleas to live and breed. You also minimise the hiding places for snakes.
Do you have any other tips for keeping your best mate safe in the back yard? Let us know in the comments.