Dog in grass with pet friendly seal of approval
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5 Tips to Make Yards More Dog Friendly & Safe

If you’re having second thoughts on getting a manicured lawn and landscaped garden because of your dog, or vice versa, no need to fret. You can simply make your lawns and backyard dog friendly. Although planning for landscaping with your dog in mind can be tricky, it can be done. You just have to be prepared to compromise on some of the designs or plants that you may want in your yard along with a few other small factors to be diligent with.

We all know that dogs need a lot of space where they can exercise and play. But this should not deter you from having a beautiful and scenic landscaped yard. In this article, we will give you some helpful tips on making a yard more dog-friendly.

#1: Properly Fenced

Give your dog the freedom to run around but not all over your neighbor’s yard. Installing a good-quality fence will not only allow your pups to stretch their legs within the safety of your yard but they also won’t be tempted to go beyond your property. A good fence will also add privacy and help increase your property’s value.

If you have a small yard, you can just fence the whole area. This will make your yard feel bigger. On the other hand, if you have a bigger yard, you can just fence an area that you can designate for your dogs. This way, they’d still enjoy the yard without you worrying about your fancy landscape decorations and expensive plants.

Want something that can be quickly installed at a lower cost? Some experts would recommend choosing an invisible, electric fence. If you are installing wood or solid metal panels, remember to add some peeking areas for the dog. Adding some holes for the dogs to see outside will prevent barking, digging, fence stalking, and other issues with their behavior. If you plan to have PVC fencing installed, you may want consider using a piece of plexiglass at a low level in order to allow the pup to peak through to the neighbors’ yard. When dogs hear things (especially other dogs) without being able to see them they tend to get anxious which can lead to excessive barking. A simple ‘looking hole’ can help alleviate this behavior.

When choosing a fence, be sure to choose one tall enough to keep your beloved pooch from jumping it. For some breeds, this can be nearly impossible, such as Boxers and German Shepards which have been known to jump fences as high as ten feet. However, the taller the better when it comes to these more agile, jump-talented pups.

After installing the fences, make sure to regularly check them for integrity.


#2: Add A Digging Area and Install Water Feature

Divert your dog’s attention away from your flower beds by creating a designated digging area for them. Digging is an irresistible activity for some pups. Thus, you need to keep them away from the plants especially when you fertilize with manure or something that smells tasty for them.

Use Sand

Using sand for the digging area will make it much easier to brush off the dog’s paws before coming back inside, plus it helps to minimize dirt that sticks to the dogs skin and hair bringing about a much more frequent bath time.

You can either buy a kid’s sandbox from the toy store or DIY a digging corner and fill it with sand. Make sure to cover it when the dogs are not using it to keep stray or local cats from using it as a litter box.


Adding fountains and other water features not only add a modern touch to your garden, but they also act as drinking fountains for your dogs. You can also install a small plastic or inflatable pool where the pups can play and cool off during the hot weather. You can also install a pump or sprinkler hose that will serve as a cooling blast to the dogs while also watering the lawn.


#3: Keep Hazardous Materials Away

Make sure to store away all the dangerous materials in your garden so your dogs won’t be able to reach them. As you know, dogs are naturally curious, and they may end up accidentally nibbling on essentials or tools that could cause harm to them.

Prepare a tool shed where you can lock away paint, fungicides, fertilizers, rat poison, etc. Tools such as rakes, shears, and others should be kept in an area away from the pup’s reach.


#3:Be Aware of Plants That Are Toxic to Dogs

Before you plant beautiful shrubs and flowering plants in your garden, make sure to research which plants can harm your pups and which ones are safe. It would surprise you how many common plants are toxic to animals.

Make sure to avoid plants such as Dahlia, Chrysanthemum, Lily of the Valley, Iris, Peony, Hydrangea, and Begonia. You can still plant these in your garden but make sure that they are in an area away from the reach of your pups. Think about installing some raised planters for these.

King Sago

King sago poisonous plant
King sago poisonous plant

One plant you may not have realized could cause harm to your dog (or yourself for that matter) is the King sago. This plant looks like it might be in the Palm family but it certainly is not. The King sago belongs to the cycad family and is home to toxic chemicals which are commonly found when dogs are brought in due to liver failure from the consumption of the King sago’s nuts. These nuts look similar to walnuts. If you already have a King sago in your yard you should consider removing it or putting a small fence around it’s base to keep your dog from eating these nuts.

On the other hand, you can allow your dogs to play around dog-safe plants such as Marigolds, Cilantro, Snapdragons, Sage, Tiger Lily, Sunflowers, and Zinnia. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA has more information about these plants here.


#4: Pet-safe Fertilizers & Usage

Florida’s harsh sun can make it difficult to keep your lawn looking its best year-round. Many homeowners find help by adding lawn fertilizers and even insecticides to their front and back yards to help maintain a nice green, lush look throughout the year. When you select your fertilizer, be sure to check the safety and usage instructions for the product prior to purchase. This information is mandatory for the seller to include and taking the time to read it could mean the difference in your k-9’s life.

Also, be sure to check the usage instructions. Chemicals often need up to 48 hours before they are safe to the touch of a barefoot whether human or four-legged friend. For more information on ‘dog safe’ fertilizers simply head over to Google and do a quick search for “Dog Safe Fertilizer”.


Poisoned Pup Warning Signs

While you’re here, may as well intake a little bit of info so you know what to look out for in the event your dog has been subjected to a poisonous substance.

  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea / Vomiting
  • Drooling (abnormal amount)
  • Nosebleeds
  • Convolsions
  • Kidney Failure
  • Loss of Balance
  • Swelling of the stomach


#5: Hire experienced landscapers and lawn care companies

Don’t skimp when it comes to hiring the crew to maintain your property. Inexperienced and/or low rated lawn services won’t always know nor care when it comes to using dog-safe chemicals. Atop that, they are also more prone to leaving gates open.

Live in Pinellas and looking to hire a professional? Lawns and Palms specializes in premium, dog-safe lawn care solutions. We can also help you dog-proof your lawns and gardens, so you don’t have to worry about a thing. Learn more about our residential lawn care services here.

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