Many pets are suited to an outdoor lifestyle. Whether it’s a place to go to explore for short periods of time or it’s the place they call home, make your yard a pet paradise.
The size of your back yard doesn’t really matter as its more about what you do with your pet when you spend time with them. A pet sees their owner as the most important thing in their world, and they love to be around their owner as much as possible. Unfortunately, life gets in the way and it isn’t always possible to be constantly by your pet’s side. The challenge is to make sure that they have a safe and fun place to be when you are not around.
1. Space to run and play
Dogs and cats love to run about, so offer them as much space as you have available. Grass is the best option to cover the majority of the space as it is soft underfoot and is visually appealing. Some properties have an open lawn which is great for up and back sprinting. If you have the space, you may be able to create a garden corridor up the sides of the house to link the front and back garden, giving your pet the opportunity to do full laps around the house.
While small furry friends, such as guinea pigs and rabbits are generally housed in hutches, they love the opportunity to run around on the lawn in a pen. The lawn also makes for a great snack and these little mowers can help you out with keeping the lawn short. It’s a win-win for both of you!
2. Provide Fresh Water
After all of that running around, your pet is sure to be thirsty. Pets should always have access to a bowl of water and owners must ensure that it’s always fresh and re-filled regularly. Some pet owners choose to make a water feature in their garden that pets can have access to a constant water source. Examples of pet friendly water features include, a water fountain that is constantly bubbling or a slow dripping tap. Beware of ponds though, as just like a young child, an inquisitive puppy or kitten can fall in and get into trouble. Pond water often sits still and has very little movement, so is prone to developing algae which can also be a health hazard to pets if consumed.
3. Provide shelter
Adequate shelter is a must for your pets if they are going to be spending time outside. Shelter such as a dog kennel or rabbit hutch will not only provide protection from the weather but will also act as a safe and comfortable place to rest. Giving your pet access to the garage or covered patio will allow them more room to move, while keeping sheltered. This is a nice option, particularly when it’s wet weather.
4. Fenced and secure
No one wants to lose their beloved pet, so a secure space is a must. A well fenced property not only keeps dogs contained it also gives the option to create dog free areas which can be great if you have small children around or want to do some pet free entertaining.
Unfortunately, fencing probably won’t keep your cat contained to the yard. If you want to create a safe outdoor space for your cat, a cat enclosure could be the solution.
5. Outdoor toileting
If you are lucky, you may be able to train your pet to do their business in a certain area of the yard. A fence can be used to separate this spot from the rest of the yard.
Cats are very particular about their bathroom habits and prefer to have a private place to do their business. Ideally, this space is covered with loose dirt of leaf litter that they can cover their waste with. For dogs, a space covered with pebbles or artificial grass will create an easy clean area. Male dogs love to mark their territory, so a wooden stake in the ground can become the marking post.
Female dogs however, like to go in the middle of an open space, such as the lawn and unfortunately this can result in light coloured patches known as urine burn. This occurs because their urine has a high nitrogen content. While nitrogen is a fertiliser, applying too much will result in burn. There are a few things you can try to minimise the burn effect on your lawn.
– Encourage your dog to drink more to dilute the nitrogen in their urine.
– Keep an eye on how much meat they eat as lots of meat can mean extra nitrogen.
– Water the lawn more to dilute the urine.
6. Protect your precious plants
If you have a section of the garden that you don’t want destroyed by your pets, its best to fence it off. Vegie patches can be especially appealing to dogs and cats and are likely to be trampled or have the produce damaged or eaten. Raised garden beds are another option that may be helpful in keeping your plants out of harm’s way.
When it comes to protecting your plants and using pesticides, you should opt for non-toxic options just in case your pet happens to come into contact with them.
Slugs and snails are notorious pests in the garden, but avoid using snail bait as it is highly toxic to pets. Instead you could try picking them up and putting them in the bin or you could sprinkle coffee grounds around the garden bed. Coffee grounds are quiet good at deterring slugs and snails and they are bitter enough that dogs won’t eat them.
7. Toxin free plants
Some plants may appear beautiful but can be poisonous to pets if consumed. When placing your rabbit or guinea pig enclosure in the backyard, be sure that it is positioned away from any potentially harmful plants, this includes their fallen leaves. Bulbs are also a concern, as they are round like a ball, so are quiet appealing to dogs and can be very toxic.
Many cats and dogs enjoy a little nibble or sometimes a destructive chew on plants of the garden, so if you are re-planting your garden be sure to check the US created pet’s poisons list for advice on potentially hazardous plants.
8. Provide distractions in your pet paradise
While outdoor time can be great for dogs and cats, they can become destructive if there isn’t enough around to keep them occupied. Naturally, dogs love to dig holes in the yard and cats love to scratch whatever they can get their claws on.
Keep your dog entertained with engaging, interactive toys such as balls and chew toys. Cats can be kept busy with toys that encourage their natural instincts and trees to climb and bark to scratch on.
If you are planning a garden renovation keep you pets in mind to make your yard the ultimate pet paradise that is a safe and fun place to be.