iStock_000040438840_SmallFor many of us, summer is largely spent in our backyards. Not surprisingly, the same is true for our pets. With that in mind, it is important that you plan for your pets’ outdoor needs and enjoyment as you plan for your own.

As you visit the home improvement store in the weeks to come; consider the following when it comes to backyard pet safety, and perhaps help your pet have a yard of his or her dreams…

Safety First

As you begin to whip your yard into shape this summer, consider your pet’s safety first. Be certain that your fence is shored up and that there are no escape routes. Likewise, make sure that any nails are hammered in or bent down, and that there are no splinters of wood or metal to gouge your four-legged friend.

You’ll also want to be sure that you clean up any piles of yard debris or grass clippings, as these areas can be rife with fleas. Be sure to drain any standing water that could breed heartworm-infected mosquitoes, and keep any tall grasses or extended branches trimmed to help avoid ticks.

And don’t forget to keep the pesticides, herbicides, and rodenticides to a minimum (or avoid using them all together), and keep them locked up and out of your pet’s reach if you do have them on your property. There are some great all-natural alternatives to these toxins that are just as effective and much, much friendlier to your pet’s health and safety.

Planting Your Garden

Whether you’re looking to plant a flower garden or try your hand at growing your own vegetables, you’ll want to know what is safe for your pet, and what is not. Many plants are fine for pets, but others can be deadly.

Some common favorites to avoid planting (or to plant somewhere your pets won’t get at) include:

  • Buttercups
  • Lilies
  • Ivy
  • Foxglove
  • Iris
  • Lupine
  • Rhododendron

There are, however, some plants that can be beneficial to your pets’ health, including:

  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Pet grass
  • Catnip
  • Milk Thistle
  • Astragalus

Adventure Time

Once the yard is secure, and the garden is planted, it’s time to start thinking about the little things that transform your yard into an oasis. For us, that might be a great patio, a pool, or a fire pit, but our pet’s needs are much simpler than that.

First and foremost, your pet will want a cool, shady spot to escape to. Natural shade is always best, but if your trees are still growing, consider a low-slung awning in a grassy nook of your yard. Complete the oasis with a bowl of fresh water, and it may be your pet’s favorite summer spot.

Likewise, your pet will probably want somewhere to soak up the sun, so provide a safe spot for that as well. Many pets enjoy large landscaping rocks or hidden platforms for lounging, so consider those options as you browse Pinterest and the landscaping shops you visit.

You may also want to consider laying flagstone or decking along your pet’s favorite paths as a way to establish his or her route, and make the lines look a little cleaner to your eye.

In short, watch your pet’s habits, and then work to enhance those spots for maximum awesomeness. If you think like your pet, and keep plenty of fresh water at the ready, chances are you won’t go wrong.

If you have any other questions or concerns about backyard pet safety this summer, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. And, if your pet is not current on his or her vaccinations or parasite preventatives, please schedule an appointment for those services as soon as possible.