It’s the perfect day, and you’re out in your yard with your family when one of your pets starts to dig frantically at a tree, or worse yet, uproots it. Your dreams for an outdoor space where you can be active with your kids are crushed before they even have a chance to grow. Most pet owners have been there.
So how can you keep your pets from ruining your backyard? Here’s how to prevent destruction by your fur friends.
The Basics: Contain Your Pets
As the owner of a pet, you are responsible for its actions. This means that when your dog or cat is outside off-leash and acting aggressively towards other animals or people, it’s not just their fault. It’s yours, too.
It may not be easy at first to keep your pets contained in the yard, but after a while, they will understand that beyond a certain point, you will pick them up by their collars and put them back inside the fence.
As an added precaution, if your pet gets out frequently, make sure that all doors leading into the backyard have secure locks on them so that if one opens accidentally, they won’t be able to get out (or in).
Keep Dogs Away from Your Plants
Dogs dig; it’s what they do. But if you want a beautiful garden in your backyard, this can be problematic because as soon as they unearth one plant, they will want to dig up everything else. Spray the trees and plants with white vinegar or bitter apple. You can also plant marigolds around your plants since they repel and discourage dogs from digging in that area.
Finally, you can cover the soil with mulch like wood chips or straw. The dark color of these materials tends to hide any dirt turned up and prevents other animals from seeing the exposed areas as an invitation to dig further.
Secure the Trees
Some dogs are particular about certain trees or plants, so once you’ve decided which ones need to stay where they are, be sure to secure them properly. Not only will this ensure that the tree remains in its rightful place, but it will also keep your dog from moving it around and potentially damaging your yard or even the lawn next door.
If you have multiple dogs and want to protect more than one tree each, consider using metal stakes that a dog’s teeth can’t puncture. You might also try capping off exposed root balls with wire mesh as an added precaution. You can call in tree care experts to better guide you about tree care and protection from pets, especially if you bought a property that already had a growth of trees inside it.
Keep Pets Away from Toxic Plants
Protecting your garden and trees from pets is one thing, but plants and trees can also harm your house pets. Some of them are naturally toxic to animals, and you may not be aware of them. For example, lovely lilies are poisonous to cats. If ingested, they can cause kidney failure and even death. Other plants like foxglove and iris contain heart-numbing poisons that any animal should never eat.
So even if you don’t want to keep your pets out of the yard entirely, make sure that they have no access to any part of it where these plants are present.
Set Up a Safe Area for Pets to Play
Some dogs are content to stay in their backyards and play, but others like to explore the rest of the neighborhood. If your dog likes to spend his days romping around, try setting up a safe zone for him in your yard. Some ideas include a large dog house, an agility course, or simply a section of the yard that’s covered with soft sand and equipped with toys.
Keep in mind, though, that if you leave your dog unsupervised in this area too often or for too long, he’ll most likely start to destroy it as well. After all, dogs are notorious for doing everything in their power to escape from whatever it is they’re contained within.
Some people put up invisible fencing in front of the sandbox or agility course so their pet won’t wander off. If you want to ensure your dog stays secure in one area, consider the invisible fence option.
There are many ways to keep your pets from destroying your backyard. You may need to try different methods and make adjustments over time as the needs of both humans and animals change, but that is a small price to pay for creating a space where everyone feels at home. These ideas can help you start designing an outdoor space that is more pet-friendly.