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Dogs, Gardens and Grass
6 Tips for a Dog Friendly Backyard

llllll hphtograph of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy on green grass

You love your garden. You love your dog. There's no reason the two of them can't co-exist peacefully if your plan ahead and take a few precautions.

1. Protect your dog from obvious and not-so-obvious

Of course, you keep your dog away from chemicals and locked indoors if your lawn is being sprayed or treated. You know many plants can be poisonous to dogs so you probably - and wisely - don't let him eat any of them.

What isn't so obvious is that even products advertised as safe for pets can upset the stomach of a petite pooch.

Keep your dog away from products that seem harmless such as mulch. Many commercial brands contain cacao bean shells which have high concentrates of theobromine, the ingredient in chocolate that is so dangerous for dogs.

2. Landscape with your dog in mind

Climbing plants are a safer choice (for the plants) in dog households than ground level flower beds. Container plants make it impossible for a dog to dig.

If your dog drives you nuts barking at anything that moves past your yard, create a sight barrier using shrubs or bushes. This also will help block out unwelcome noises.

Some grasses are better than others for lawns that share their space with canines. For example, the ever-popular Bermuda grass is easily burned by canine urine. On the other hand, Fescue grass stands up better to being used as a toilet. Local lawn and garden stores, including Lowe's and Home Depot, can give you advice on which varieties would do well in your climate.

Dogs often are drawn to taller grass for their toilet so allowing a small area of your yard to grow may help protect the rest of your yard.

If you're really looking for maintenance-free yard, take a look at K9Grass, the first artificial lawn designed with dogs in mind: http://www.k9grass.com/

3. Choose dog-friendly plants

Thorny and spiny plants can cause serious eye injuries if your dog runs into one.

Dogs often look for a lone, vulnerable flower so it is a good idea to plant your flowers in a bunch. A plant such as lavender can be a good choice as even if your dog rolls around in it, he'll smell good.

Visit The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) website for a comprehensive list of non-toxic plants and flowers: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/

4. Have a shaded, protected area with water

If you have your dog outdoors, make sure there is a safe, shaded place for him to get out of the sun. You also need to provide a source of fresh water.

I never recommend having Toy breed dogs live outdoors even in dog houses. For the occasional romp outdoors with the family, however, make sure your dog has an area where he can get away from the sun.

Something as simple as putting an open golf umbrella into the ground will do. If your dog is hairless or has bald spots including hair parts be sure to put doggy (no lanolin products) sun screen on his skin.

5. Don't expect a dog to avoid a plot of dirt

No canine can resist a pile of fresh dirt that seems to be just waiting for him to dig through.

If you're trying to plant something, use a commercial product that repels dogs and be leery of old-wives tales. Mothballs are sometimes recommended but these are toxic to dogs and not good for cats either.

If you don't want to use a product, try a fence of chicken wire to protect your in-work flower bed. Driftwood or other wood that isn't paw-friendly to the touch can help stop dogs from treading into the area.

6. Create a safe area for your dog

Dogs love trails and you can use smooth, large stones or bricks set in a bed of pebbles for your dog to walk over. Even easier on paws are small cedar chips. These are especially nice because they don't cling to canine coats.

Dogs also love to protect their property. If you have a fence, consider setting aside a three-feet wide area parallel to and the same length of your fence for your dog. He can patrol the area from a safe and dog-friendly path.

If your dog has already created a path he loves to tread through your yard, don't waste your time trying to re-direct him. Instead, make the path a safe one for your dog using the suggestions above.

llllllll llllRegrow grass llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllNeutralize urine stains ;;;;;;;;;; Add green color

photograph of three products to stop dog urine stains on lawns and regrow grass
llllllK9 Yard Patchlll lllllllllll llNutri-Vet Green Grass llllllllllllllll Lawn Spot Spray

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