The great American backyard. It’s a place for epic barbeques. It’s where your childhood swing set lives. You built your first treehouse out there. It’s where you and your dad had your first game of catch. The American backyard is hallowed ground for many of us, but it is also where your pets spend most of their time. Your backyard should be a safe and fun environment for your pets and should be a place where they too can relax, stay cool, and have some fun. We’ll explore several key things you can do to make sure your backyard is perfect for your pets.
Pool covers and fences
Don’t get us wrong, having a pool is great for your dog (and some cats too)! However, just like with human children, leaving a dog in the backyard with an open pool is a recipe for disaster. If you have a pool or hottub, make sure you have a secure cover and even a sturdy fence or railing to keep both two legged and four legged children from falling in on accident.
We humans don’t walk around all year with a thick fur coat on, so it’s easy to forget that our dogs do. Dogs can suffer from heat stroke and dehydration in the fall and spring months just as much as in the middle of summer. Their thick fur and lack of sweat glands are a recipe for trapping heat and the need more water, even during cooler months. Make sure that you keep a fresh water bowl or automatic station outside for your pets, especially if they are not allowed inside during the day while you’re away.
Plenty of shade
Many of us keep our dogs in the backyard during the day while we’re away at work. This is great, but make sure that fido has plenty of cool shade to hang out in. Otherwise they can overheat in the direct sunlight. If they have a doghouse, make sure it has adequate insulation and ventilation so that they can stay cool even in the hot summer.
Plant barrier between grass and fence
Dogs love to think they are little escape artists. One way to make sure they stay away from the fence and prevent them from testing for vulnerable areas is to plant thick vegetation or trees close to the fence between the grass. Prickly bushes like roses, natal plum, or blackberry are ideal for keeping your fence intact and your dog in your yard. They also have the added bonus of being extra security against unwanted human prowlers. A nest of prickly thorns at the base of a fence will ruin just about any would-be burglar’s day (or night).
Making sure your fence is maintained is essential to keeping your pet in, yes, but it’s almost more important that it keeps unwanted animal visitors out. If you live in an area like Boise or Meridian that is close to mountains or foothills, then you are at risk for being in coyote or mountain lion territory. It is not uncommon for packs of curious and hungry coyotes to wander into residential neighborhoods looking for an easy meal. Same thing goes for mountain lions and even stray neighborhood dogs. Some dogs escape their owner’s backyard and roam the neighborhood looking for fights. These are the threats that you want to keep out of your backyard and away from your pets.
All in all, no backyard is perfect, but every backyard is unique to the quintessential American experience. If you take some time and put a little elbow grease into it, you can make your backyard a great place for you, your family, and your pets.