Having a nice, big fenced yard is a dog owner’s dream. Being able to just open the door to let them run, play and do their business is a convenience many dog owners pay a premium for. However, things may not always be as they seem. There may be multiple hazards awaiting Fido in your yard. Here are some common backyard hazards for dogs and tips to consider that will help keep your dog alive and well.
Rabbit, bird or cat feces
No matter where you live in the country, you are likely to have the feces of other animals somewhere in your yard. To many dogs, this provides a veritable smorgasbord. According to the ASPCA, “The consumption of fecal matter can cause bacterial-related gastrointestinal problems, and may also transmit parasites such as worms and certain diseases.” For this reason, they advise taking your dog into the yard on a leash until your are able to train him to leave other animal feces alone.
Predators like coyotes, hawks and poisonous snakes
Depending on where you live, one of the backyard hazards for dogs could be predators in the area that could harm or even kill your dog. There is virtually no way to keep out birds of prey, and some species can easily pick up a toy breed like a Chihuahua or Yorkie. Some areas may also have rattlesnakes or other poisonous reptiles and amphibians that are impossible to keep out of your yard. Coyotes can be kept out with a 6-feet high fence, but many backyard fences aren’t nearly that high. The best course of action here, is that if you have any of these predators in your area, never let your dog out alone.
Most dog owners report that their dogs have eaten grass from time to time. Although experts disagree on why dogs exhibit this type of behavior, most do agree that it’s generally harmless. Harmless, that is, unless your lawn contains toxic herbicides or pesticides that can actually poison your dog. Please read product labels carefully and if using a lawn service, be sure to choose one that uses non-toxic products.
Swimming pools can also be backyard hazards for dogs, just as they are for children. Even if your dog knows to keep his distance, accidents can happen. Running or playing near the pool can result in your dog falling in, and even if he knows how to swim, water temperature or the shock of unexpected submersion can have a bad result. Installing an emergency ramp made especially for pets, or a pool alarm that alerts you if a pet falls in, are both ways you can help keep your dog safe around the pool.
Chances are that when most people purchased their homes, they gave little consideration to the types of plants, bushes and trees the landscaping contained. The fact is, however, that many common landscaping plants are poisonous to dogs. From asparagus ferns to yucca, there are literally hundreds of plants that could cause serious harm to our dogs. If your yard contains any of these toxic plants, you should take your dog out on a leash until he learns to leave them alone.
Before just opening the door and letting your dog enjoy his freedom, take a survey of your yard. Do some research, and if necessary, take preventative measures to ensure his safety.