There is no greater joy for a pet owner than to see its dog running happily throughout the backyard or his fluffy cat snuggling in some warm corner outside. Still, sending a pet into a backyard is a responsible decision, although many people consider that all it takes is to open the door and hope for the best. It is important to adapt the backyard to your pet’s needs and make it a safe and a loving place. That, of course, will not hurt your own backyard needs, so there is no reason not to start optimizing it for pet’s needs. Here are some essentials that make a good pet friendly backyard.
Safety Comes First
Sure, cats and dogs can ruin your backyard plants when left roaming freely, but their safety comes first on this list. A fully fenced backyard will stop your pets from running out on the
street where they can be exposed to dense traffic. Alternatively, you can install a dog run or a cat fence within a larger area. If you are looking for a quick and easy solution, a chain-link fence is the best option. If, however, you want something that matches your overall landscape design, you can opt for picket fences, horizontal boards or a wire.
Accessible Fresh Water
Plenty of fresh water is essential for every living being, including your little family friend. Instead of filling up the water bowl every couple of hours, try to make water constantly accessible to your pet. A fountain or a stream in your backyard would not only make your dog happy, but they would serve as a great addition to overall landscape and turn your backyard into a peaceful oasis. Other options are a small pool or a pond, just make sure that the water is shallow enough.
Shade + Shelter
This is especially important for dog owners, because dogs are prone to getting sunburns or even suffer from a heat stroke. Good shade solutions will benefit not only to your pets, but also to your family and house, so use this opportunity to plant several large trees to provide cool during hot summer months. If the trees are not enough, or if they are not even an option, consider installing shade cloths that stretch over some part of the backyard or overhead traps. More long term solution is a dog/cat house.
Toxic-Free and Pleasant Landscaping
A study published in the Science of Total Environment found that dogs exposed to chemicals used in lawn care have a higher risk of getting a bladder cancer. Furthermore, dogs contaminated with those chemicals can pass the chemicals to their owners and other pets in the house. Having that in mind, it is important to avoid using dangerous chemicals for maintaining your lawn. If you own a dog, avoid using cocoa mulch, because it can cause similar dangerous reaction as chocolate. As for the areas that are not covered by grass (pathways, pool surroundings, water features, etc.), make sure that they are made of some natural material. Dogs can find stone tiles uncomfortable, cold and pretty, so opt for warmer-looking and safe sandstone tiles, instead.
A Place to Play
A bored dog is a dog looking for trouble, and a bored cat is just a cat, but they too love to play. Luckily, dogs are not so hard to entertain, so you will not need to go through some challenging backyard remodeling projects. Just provide enough space for your dog to chase and run and you will have no problems. As for the cats, their main interest is climbing. A couple of cat trees will be enough, but you can install outdoor shelves for climbing and scratching posts.
A pet that plays outside is a healthier and happier pet. So, provide your little family friend with favorable conditions for a safe and satisfying time in the backyard.