Norton Seal A dog plays with a ball in safe, pet-proofed yard.

Safe and Happy Family

How to Create a Dog-friendly Backyard

You’ve reworked the inside of your home to keep the furry family member safe. But once they step outside and into your yard, they need a whole other level of help from you! Make your yard your dog’s favorite place to be by putting these safety tips into action.

Add Fencing to Keep Dogs In Your Yard

If you have a pet like a dog that will need to go outside regularly, consider fencing in your yard to protect them from running onto your neighbor’s property, chasing an animal through the neighborhood or unsafely crossing streets. Before you head down to your local hardware shop and buy a roll of chain-link fencing, take these tips into consideration.

Avoid invisible electric fencing

When it comes to keeping your dog on your property, avoid painful shock collars and opt for physical fencing options. If your pet isn’t trained correctly, the results of a shock that come with crossing the fence’s barrier could have lasting negative effects on your dog’s behavior, mood and health.

Consider the fence height for dogs

You’ll want the fence to be high enough to prevent your animal from leaping or climbing out of your yard, so consult with a professional and your veterinarian to figure out the safest minimum height. Check with your neighborhood association and local laws to make sure the fence’s height is within legal limits and inside your property lines, too.

Think about the fencing options for your dog

You’ve got a lot of options when it comes to choosing your fence’s material. Whether it’s chain link, wood, aluminum or another type of material, make sure your fence is insured and prevents your pet from digging under it, leaping over it or sneaking through it.

Plant Pet-friendly Outdoor Plants

Whether you’ve already got a garden in full bloom, are planning to plant one or are using fertilizers and other treatments to help your grass grow, be careful of what your pet can get into when they’re in your yard. Plenty of pet owners unknowingly put their furry friend in harm’s way when they let them out, so do your part and use these tips to keep them safe.

Research the plants in your yard

Take inventory of all the plants in and around your yard, potted, planted or wild, and research their toxicity to animals. Remove any toxic plants, being sure to pull out the roots entirely.

Here’s a quick list of common outdoor plants to avoid because they can be toxic to dogs:

  • Castor beans
  • English ivy
  • Hemlock
  • Oleander
  • Azaleas
  • Daffodils

Ask an expert about pet safe plants

Before you buy a plant at your local greenhouse or buy a pack of seeds at a hardware store, ask an employee if they have a pet-friendly plant section. Do your own research on your smartphone and ask an employee if your purchases are safe for Fido.

Take a look at these pet-friendly go-to plants for in and around the home:

  • African Violets
  • Roses
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnias
  • Marigolds
  • Hibiscus
  • Snapdragons
  • Asters

Fence in your garden to keep pets out

If you do have a garden, your animal will likely want to explore it. A small fence around it can help dog-proof your garden, and persistently training your pets to stay outside of it will be better for their health and the health of your plants!

Use pet safe lawn and garden products

Plenty of fertilizers, weed killers and other lawn and garden products can be harmful to your pets. Look for products that are explicitly labeled as pet safe, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you’re shopping.

Because so many fertilizers and garden chemicals are harmful to dogs, it’s important to know which are safe for your pooch. Be certain that you’re choosing a pet safe, lawn product because even some organic fertilizers can be dangerous if ingested.

Keep Your Pet From Getting into the Garbage

If you keep a garbage can in your backyard, your pet is sure to want to get at what’s inside. Here are our tips for keeping your animals and your garbage apart.

Keep your garbage in a separate location

Whether it’s on the other side of your fence or outside your garage, keeping your garbage cans away from your pets is the easiest and most obvious way to keep trash bags from being ripped open and their contents strewn about your lawn.

Use a heavy trash can with a heavy lid

If you have to keep a trash can in the backyard, consider purchasing a product made of heavy material with a heavy lid. A weighty trash can will be harder for your animals to tip over and make a mess of, and once they figure out they can’t get the lid to budge, they’ll eventually lose interest.

Weigh down the lid

Putting heavy items on the top of the can keep your pet from opening it and having a fun-filled garbage day.

Lock down the lid

Using a trash can with a foot pedal or lid latch will ensure that only humans will be able to open it easily.

Pet Pool Safety

If your home has a pool in its back yard, you’ve got even more responsibility to keep your pets (and family!) safe. Check out these tips for protecting your pets from the dangers of your swimming pool:

Fence in your pool

A fence around your pool can protect everyone in your home from accidentally falling into your pool and injuring themselves. Like the fence around your yard, make sure it’s tall enough to keep your pet from leaping over it — plus, it should have minimal space between posts so they can’t squeeze through.

Don’t allow pets in the pool without supervision

At no point should your pet be alone around the pool without a human. Even if your animal knows how to swim, it could injure itself jumping into the pool and need help exiting safely.

Get your pet a life vest

When you and your family are enjoying a summer day in your pool, make sure your pet is wearing a life vest while they’re swimming. They’ll appreciate the minimal effort they’ll have to use to stay afloat while they play, and you’ll know they’re safely above water at all times.

There are plenty of other ways to keep your pets safe from the water while you’re not around, too. Whether it’s a pool alarm that senses when something heavy has entered the water or a ladder built for pets to enter and exit the pool, you’ll be glad you went the extra mile to keep them safe over the summer.

Keep Your Dog Safe Outside

Now that you know how to keep your pet in your yard, out of the garbage and safely away from your pool, here are some other tips to keep them safe when you let them out.

Don’t let dogs out unsupervised

We don’t mean follow them everywhere they go when you let them out — yes, letting them out for a moment to do their business while you do the dishes is fine. However, don’t leave them out for long periods while you aren’t around. Your pet could try to escape your yard, encounter a wild animal or run into other trouble. Go outside with them!

Make sure they have plenty of water

In the warmer months, your pet will wear themselves out playing in your yard. Keep a full bowl of clean water at the ready — they’ll need it.

Keep your yard clean

Mowing your yard and keeping the grass trimmed not only looks good — it can keep away fleas and ticks, too. Your pet will appreciate the clean space to run around in, so pick up after them and keep it in good condition.

Your American Family Insurance agent is always there to help you protect what matters most, including your pets. Get in touch with them and make sure your policies, from homeowners to umbrella, are giving you the peace of mind you deserve.

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Related Topics: Family , Lifestyle , Safety Tips