How to Create a Pet-Friendly Yard

Tips to provide your pet with a yard they’ll love, without creating extra work for you.

If your dogs are anything like mine, they are in and out all day long. And the backyard shows exactly where they like to roll around, play, and go to the bathroom. Add  flower gardens, vegetable gardens, and your own entertaining into the mix and the backyard can become quite unkempt.

Here are a few suggestions to lighten the yard work while keeping everyone outdoors and happy this summer.

Get rid of yellow spots

Yellow patches on the grass are caused by the nitrogen and salts in a dog’s urine. To avoid these unsightly spots there is something called Dog Rocks. These are natural, mineralized rocks that are placed in your dog’s water bowl, and can be purchased at pet stores. The zeolite minerals in them neutralize the nitrogen in your dog’s urine, keeping your grass green.

Another option is to saturate urinated spots with water. After the pet urinates, lightly hose or pour a few cups of water over the area to dilute the urine.

Designate a bathroom area

Designating a toilet area for your pet will reduce the risk of your lawn being dotted with yellow patches, will reduce the risk of “surprise” fertilizer, and will make cleanup that much easier. Puppies can typically be trained to go in a certain area of the yard within 3 weeks while older dogs may take a bit longer. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are key to this process.

Keep pets and plants safe

Dogs and cats give no mind to trampling garden beds, so make it hard for them to do so. Mass plantings of shrubs and ornamental grasses often help with this as most pets will go around rather than through such plantings.

If you are creating a garden bed, transplanting larger trees, shrubs or perennials may be the best bet because they are hardier than their smaller counterparts. Alternatively, putting up a picket or temporary fence around the garden should help keep pets out and plants safe.

Keep fruits, vegetables, and herbs out of reach. You don’t want pets taking a bite, trampling or going to the bathroom on these! Either grow in raised beds or fence off the area.

And always check that any plants, mulch, or sprays you use are not toxic to pets. Cocoa or cocoa bean mulch is one I like to highlight because while it looks wonderful it is highly toxic to dogs. And dogs seem to love to chew on mulch so please avoid this one!

Create a designated pet area

If the size of your yard allows it, this spot is for your pet to run, dig, play and rest. Include a dog house or some sort of cover or shade for them, and keep a bowl of water there too. You can even go a step further and set up a little pool for them to cool off in during the heat of summer.

Filed under: Your Pets