Summertime! Summertime! If your dogs are like mine, they are reveling in the heat and humidity and grass under their paws. My pups are mini poodles so they do love the warmth instead of the snow, rain and cold they usually face in New York!
COVID-19 is running rampant in many areas of the country and that means our pups are not at doggie daycare, nor are they frolicking in the dog park or even romping with a dog you meet on the street. Since you’re staying home, let’s talk about ways to make your yard more dog-friendly!
How To Make Your Yard Dog Friendly This Summer
When you get right down to it, our pups are so easy to please. They love unconditionally, live in the moment and enjoy pretty much whatever they see in front of them, right? Even so, there are some things you can do that will amp up the joy they get out of life even more.
- Water, water everywhere! Dogs need access to fresh, cool and clean water at all times. Keep the water flowing and their bowls full. Consider, too that many dogs love to cool off in a kiddie swimming pool! Fill the pool up with water, toss in a few balls and watch them go! Make sure you drain the pool if you’re not going to use it for a few days — don’t let it become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Let them roam… freely, but safely. If your dog is always on a leash, she may not get the activity she craves. Consider fencing in the yard or an area of the yard so she can run, dash, jump and roll around leash-free! Keep your dog safe from getting lost or injured by keeping her in your yard, but look for ways you can give her more room to run and burn off some energy! Keep an eye on your dog so she is safe at all times. Don’t leave her outside alone. Make certain her fenced-in area or yard has shade and fresh water. When your dog is outside — whether on a leash and on a walk or in the backyard playing — keep her collar with ID tags on. You can’t predict whether your dog will get out of her collar or get out of the fenced-in yard and an ID tag and a microchip just might help you be reunited.
- Shade and shelter matters. Again, we don’t recommend leaving your dog outdoors alone. If he is in the fenced in area and you are outdoors with him, make sure he has a shady area or even a cute doghouse in which to lie down and get out of the sun. No matter what kind of dog house you use, it should also be placed in a shaded area. Remember, our dogs are social and they want to be with us — please don’t leave them to their own devices for too long. Enjoy their love and companionship.
- Offer a toxin-free yard space. If you have dogs who roam the yard, don’t use — or don’t hire a lawn service that uses — chemicals in the yard. Your dog can suffer ill effects if he eats chemically-treated grass and can even get the toxins into his system through his paws. Pet parents need to either avoid using chemicals on the yard — dandelions are bright, cheery flowers, don’t you think? If you work with a lawn service make sure they know you have pets (and children, if you do) and know what type of chemicals they are using and make sure they are pet-friendly.
- Peek-a-boo! If you have a fenced in yard and have a friendly pup, consider putting in “bubble windows” so your pup can watch the foot traffic. If your dog is prone to barking at everyone and gets frantic if he sees another dog or a person, these bubble windows may not be ideal — you know your dog best.
- Let ’em dig! If you have a dog who is a digger, don’t go against her natural instincts; let her get her dig on. Some pet parents will pile dirt in an area in the yard, think big doggie sandbox, and fill it with dirt. Show your pup where the space is and let her go crazy! You may even want to make the digging more of a challenge and even more fun for her by burying toys or bones. Let her be rewarded for her efforts by digging up these special treats. When you let your digging dog have her own space, you may be spared potholes in the yard or seeing your flowerbed destroyed!
- Stay indoors if it’s too hot. We have some of our team who live in Arizona with their dogs and they caution pet parents to “stay indoors when it’s too hot.” If you can’t comfortably put your hand on a sidewalk, and hold it there for five seconds, it is too hot for your dog’s tender paws. When it gets into the triple digits — like it has been in Arizona, it is safer for your dogs (and you) to be indoors. When you’re indoors with your dogs, make sure they have access to fresh, clean water and to a cool space to lie down (with the air conditioning on or with a fan running. Turn on DOGTV — canine enrichment technology — to keep your pup entertained when the weather is just too hot to be outdoors.