Is the Layout of Your Yard Healthy for Your Dog?

Your pup is part of the family. Just like you would baby-proof a yard for your kids, it’s important to protect your dog by doing the same. Make sure you have everything he needs to enjoy his time outside, while also making sure he can't get into too much trouble.

If you’re wondering if the layout of your yard is healthy for your dog, we’ve compiled a list of things your dog would love to have in his outdoor environment.

Create Doggie Paths

Whether we want them to or not, dogs love to explore the great outdoors and will find places to run, sniff, and investigate regardless of how much training they receive telling them not to. The trick is to allow dogs to be dogs by providing them designated places to do so.

Make doggie paths through your garden or landscaping. These paths will allow your dog to investigate and experience the elements of your yard without having to run through your flowerbeds. This can also provide you, your guests, and your family with a convenient place to roam your backyard.

Design a Dig Pit

Your pup can’t help digging up the flowers and trashing the grass—he has nowhere else to play! Design a sandbox for your dog to dig and roll in. He will love you forever for all the fun he’ll have, and your garden will thank you for it, too.

Your pup may want to use the bathroom in the dig box, and that’s okay. It may even become convenient to have your dog do his business in the same spot (just remember that if there are any little ones around, you need to keep them from playing in the dig box). Soon your dog will learn that his dig box is a special place just for him, and will—hopefully—leave the landscaping alone.

Create a Roughhouse Arena

Being a dog owner, you know dogs can kick up some dust during a play date. Whether rolling around, tumbling with one another, or galloping through shrubbery to fetch a stick, dogs love to roughhouse and socialize.

Consider building a play area designed for children and doggie social times. Your area can include a kiddie pool for splashing, a sandbox for digging and a playhouse for shade. The kids will have as much fun as the dogs will with a set of sprinklers to jump around in.

Grow Pup-Friendly Plants

There are several popular plant species that are poisonous to dogs. Maybe the most important aspect of doggie-proofing your backyard is making it safe for him. The following are just a few poisonous plants to avoid in your puppy-friendly yard:

  • Aloe
  • Jade Plants
  • Lilies
  • Amaryllis
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Philodendrons

Be sure to determine which plants are harmful before planting your new garden, or when weeding through your old one.

Additionally, you can purposefully include plants you know your dog might eat. There are lots of plants that are good for dogs, including oregano—which both ease the digestive tract—and parsley, which is rich in antioxidants and vitamins. If you know you have a grazer, why not plant a few treats that’ll keep him healthy, too?

Provide Shady Areas

Especially on a hot summer day, your pup will need a place to escape the heat and cool off. Providing a shady space in your yard, whether under the cover of a tree, overhang or dog house, is an essential part of making your yard dog friendly. Checkout a few of these cute outdoor dog house designs for inspiration.

Have Access to Water

Whether through a pond, sprinkler system, or a bowl, your dog should be able to access water somewhere in your yard. This can be as involved or as simple as you’d like. A bowl of water will do, but if you’re into landscaping and are interested in designing a fountain or pond system in your yard, your pup would probably love interacting with a natural-looking water system.

Design your yard in a practical and social way, providing all your family members with a place to let loose and hang out. Your pup is a part of the family, and he will love his section of the yard.



Emily is a freelance wildlife conservation and pet blogger. To check out more of her work, see her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her Twitter account @emilysfolk

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