Know your dog! Give your digger his own space. A sand box with a buffer to catch dug out sand is ideal. Bury some of your dog’s favorite toys like the West Paw Hurley bone or Jive ball in the sand to “train” him to dig in the sand box and not in your flower bed. You can even hop in the sand box and dig with him. Make this his play area.
If you have sunbather, as so many sighthounds are, keep an nice sunny spot free for him. You may have to change it seasonally. With that in mind, be sure to have a nice shady spot too. Even in the winter a yard can get too hot for a dog. Umbrellas are a nice portable way to manage the sun. An Eco Futon from Bowsers will make his napping more comfortable regardless of the outdoor temperature. The Eco Futon is one of several styles that feature a waterproof nylon bottom, which makes these beds ideal for year-round outdoor napping.
When it come to easily accessible toxic substances a dog can encounter it’s a toss up between chemicals and plants. We often aren’t even aware of what pesticides, weed killers, rodenticides, and fertilizers our dogs and cats are exposed to. Although you may use safe products (or none at all), park workers, lawn care professionals, and your neighbors may use them. Some of the most lethal substances is snail bait. Also, if your furball is inclined to eat dead animals they can pose a threat, especially if their death is a result of gopher or rat poison. Train your dog early to only eat what you give him and not scavenge on his own.
Some dogs love to eat plants. It might be annoying if your dog eats your lettuce plants, but it can be deadly if he chomps on your azaleas. Consult the ASPCA’s Guide to Pet Safe Gardening. Besides tips for having a happy garden, you’ll find a list of safe and unsafe plants along with photos to make identification easy.
Cocoa mulch is pretty, and aromatic at first, but for sensitive dogs, it can be just as toxic as a chocolate bar. Instead, go for real cedar chips or shredded cedar. Cedar does triple duty: it keeps moisture in the ground, blocks out weeks, and is a natural flea repellent.
Regardless of what you may put on your ground don’t let your dog eat it. While many dogs will roll on cedar chips, mulch, or topsoil, some dogs want to eat it. Until you know for sure what your dog will do, don’t let him in the yard unsupervised.
Keep your gardening tools stored in out of your dog’s reach. There are plenty of cartoons stepping on rake tines only to have the rake handle pop up smack the cartoon hero in the face. Well, rakes, hoes, shovels, etc., if left out, can be dangerous for a playful dog running around the yard oblivious to those silly human toys.
Want to have a yard that’s lovely for both you and your dog, but need some ideas for where to start? Consult Sunset magazine.