Dog-Friendly Yards

How to Make Your Yard Dog-Friendly

With a little planning, your pet and landscape can coexist

You can love your dog and your yard, too.

Petscaping is a landscaping approach that takes into account the interests of both two- and four-legged residents. The idea is to establish an enjoyable, praiseworthy yard, while protecting and providing for your pets.

Creating a dog-friendly yard begins with its layout.

Make sure there is a water source - a bowl, an automatic waterer, or an existing fountain with circulating water will do. Change water in a bowl frequently to keep it fresh for your pet, and to discourage mosquito breeding and algae growth.

Be wary of poisonous plants. Oleander, gardenia, and bird of paradise look great in many landscapes, but they are dangerous for dogs. Better to use nontoxic plants such as pampas grass, impatiens, or bottlebrush. Check the ASPCA website for toxic and nontoxic species.

Dense plantings, raised beds, and sturdy or thorny plants usually keep dogs at bay. If not, you might need to install a see-through fence to prevent treasured plantings from being trampled.

Be wary of Florida's summer heat. It's important to provide shade - a dog house, overhanding roof, trees with thick canopies, or other area where the sun doesn't shine. Keep your dog's water in the shade. And don't leave your pet outside, unattended, for a long period.

Watch your pet's outdoor behavior before deciding how to prevent escape. Does your dog patrol the perimeter of the yard? Does he/she routinely dig? Consider such tendencies when laying out your dog-friendly space.

These are a few of the factors you should consider when creating a dog-friendly yard. There's also the type of turfgrass and mulch you use, the method you choose to deter pests, creation of pathways for play and exercise, and disposal of pet droppings.

Don't have a dog? Hillsborough County's Pet Resource Center has lots of them waiting on forever homes. Select a four-legged friend, and arrange your yard to keep them safe and happy.


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