Creating a dog friendly backyard

If you live in an urban environment, your backyard if probably the main place you and your dog use for playtime, bathroom breaks or naps. Parks and other green spaces are great alternatives but they’re usually a once or twice a day visit, which leaves the backyard as the go-to outdoor space for your dog. These are some ways you can make your backyard and patio more dog-friendly.

1.    Artificial Grass

While artificial grass is a controversial topic, there’s no denying that it can very beneficial when used in a smaller area in a backyard that is often used by your pet. Artificial grass doesn’t need to be watered and it doesn’t require any pest control or use of weed killers. It’s ideal to be implemented in a backyard with a dog, at least in a small patch (perhaps in a shady area where grass would not thrive) that you can then train your dog to use for going to the ‘bathroom.’

Artificial grass won’t turn yellow like a patch of grass that is frequently urinated on will, and liquids soak right through while solids can easily be lifted off. Additionally, the entire patch can then be hosed off. Avoiding a cushioned base and opting for a Type 1 aggregate with a covering of granite dust will make sure all liquids drain and the artificial grass won’t harbor any lasting smells.

2.    Flooring

If you want to have a paved area for your patio or backyard, opt for soft flooring choices for your hardscape. Make sure that the material you choose allows the drainage of liquids and that it’s soft enough for your dog to comfortably lounge on. Decking and a variety of wood materials are ideal choices for a dog-friendly backyard; you may also want to consider using recycled deck boards. Another great option is using resin-bound aggregate. This material can easily be hosed off, it provides cushioning for your pet and it’s also permeable. Avoid using gravel as it can get stuck in the pads of a dog’s feet.

3.    Fencing

If you would like to let your dog roam in the backyard you need to make sure that it is escape-proof. You will need to ensure that the yard is completely secure including all of your fences, gates and other boundaries. Make sure your fences are high enough to discourage jumpers and set low enough into the ground so that diggers can’t escape under the fence. Check any gaps and holes in your fence and gate to make sure your dog can’t fit through, and patch up any loose boards.

4.    Shade

Dogs love to lounge around in the sunshine, so it’s up to you to make sure they also have a shaded area to take refuge from the sun. Create an area that has plenty of dappled shade. If you don’t have the space for mature trees in your yard, a patio cover can provide a safe space for your dog to retreat to, or you can add several smaller trees that easily grow in pots which will provide a low shade.

In addition to this make sure to always have a deep bowl or saucer filled with water available in the backyard and to change the water regularly. If you have sprinklers, setting them on a timer throughout the day can also help your dog cool off.

5.    Plants

Making sure your backyard is dog-friendly also includes the types of plants you choose to grow. Besides obviously avoiding any plants that are toxic to dogs such as cyclamen, hemlock and oleander make sure to avoid species that attract slugs or snails. Slugs, snails and their repellants are all toxic to dogs.

Avoid any plants will soft and tender leaves such as lettuce as they will attract snails and slugs. Herbs such as thyme, mint, lemon balm, chamomile and rosemary are ideal for a backyard with a dog along with geraniums, avens and daisies. Do your research before introducing any type of plant in your backyard.

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