Creating a pet proof backyard entails more than just ensuring a pet can’t get out. It must also incorporate elements to keep roaming pets out, along with the wide variety of wildlife that could potentially enter. There’s also a multitude of factors that most people don’t consider, but are essential for keeping a dog safe from harm.


Canines should be kept away from lawns and plants that have been treated with fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. Even the residue can result in a toxic response and fertilizers can burn the pads on a pet’s feet.

Clean the Premises

Damp, dark and debris-filled areas are prime real estate for fleas, mosquitoes and other pests. It’s a good idea to regularly clean doghouses and wash blankets or beds dogs use. Sweeping decks, porches and patios will help keep down pests. Don’t forget to address outdoor structures and storage sheds, along with the undersides of porches and decks.


The enclosure will require a fencing option that the canine can’t climb, jump over, or dig under. From raccoons and deer to coyotes and the potential for an occasional panther, the barrier must also prevent wild or stray animals from squeezing through slats or panels, depending upon the style of fence that’s selected. Inspect the fence regularly for weak spots.

Another area where fencing will be critical is the pool. An estimated 5,000 canines die each year from pool-related accidents. Dogs don’t intuitively know how to get out of a pool. There are no guarantees, even with dogs that have undergone training to recognize steps and they may be unable to climb a ladder.

Mow Often

Fleas, ticks and other parasites live in grass and the longer the grass, the bigger the risk that they’ll hitch a ride on your pet and eventually into the house.


Dogs like to dig, chew, and roll around in greenery. Some types of flowers and bushes are poisonous to dogs, such as amaryllis, azaleas, daffodils, and tulips. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian on poisonous plants. Owners should be prepared to remove existing plants that are toxic and use extreme caution when installing new plantings.

Trash and Recycling

Dogs are naturally curious. They’ll delve into trash cans and recycling containers not understanding the potential for danger such as chocolate or chicken bones. Don’t store trash, recycling containers, antifreeze, cleaning supplies or any type of chemicals where pets can reach them. Antifreeze is deadly to pets.

Water and Shade

Hydration and a shady spot to rest are as important to dogs as it is to their human companions. Fresh, clean water should be available at all times and there should be enough shade plants that enable dogs to get out of direct sun at any time of the day as the sun moves across the sky. Dogs experience dehydration and heat sickness just as their human counterparts and can even die without appropriate shade.

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