After months or years of dreaming about adopting a puppy, your wish is about to come true. You have found the perfect puppy and will be bringing her home in a matter of days.
While you are over the moon with excitement about your new family member and cannot wait to spend tons of time with your fur baby, you also realize that taking care of a puppy is a huge responsibility. In addition, puppies are notorious for getting into anything and everything, which means you will be busy puppy proofing your home and yard as much as you can.
Fortunately, making a backyard safe for a young dog is not terribly difficult—it simply requires a combination of thinking like a puppy, removing some key items and adding others. With that in mind, check out the following five ways to puppy proof your yard:
Remove Poisonous Plants
Puppies chew on all sorts of things, including plants they find in the backyard. Unfortunately, some varieties of plants are toxic to dogs; to be on the safe side, remove them from your garden prior to your new family member’s arrival. As WebMD notes, popular plants that could harm or kill a puppy include begonias, clematis and azaleas. To get a full list of plants that are a no-no to puppies, visit the ASPCA website; in addition to letting you know which plants to pull out, this is a handy resource to check prior to adding new bushes and flowers to your garden.
Install a Fence
If your backyard does not have a fence, or if you have one that is short and/or looking shabby, it is a good idea to look into fence installation. To prevent your future big dog from jumping over the fence and running off, make sure the new fence is at least 6 feet high, and that it goes around the entire yard. Most reputable fencing companies will be happy to give you a free estimate on privacy fence costs; the representative should also carefully check your entire yard’s perimeter looking for rocks or uneven areas where the fence will have to be contoured or adjusted. If you find yourself wondering “where are the reputable fencing companies near me?” you can ask friends who have a great looking fence who they hired, and/or search local companies online and check their reviews.
Think (and Crawl Around) Like a Puppy
Another great way to make your backyard safe is to literally get down on your hands and knees and crawl around looking for places a puppy can get into, things he can find and chew and more. Walking around upright, you might not notice the crawl space under the house that a puppy would love to disappear into, low to the ground planter boxes filled with tulip and daffodil bulbs and some odd wild mushrooms growing in the grass. As you crawl around, take note of what you find and then take the steps to cover, put up and/or remove these issues.
Stash Your Trash
A wonderfully stinky trash can and/or full recycle barrel with empty puppy food cans is like nirvana to a young pup. They can also make a huge mess when topped over and/or be dangerous to puppies who find and chew chicken bones, coffee grounds and other garbage. As Labrador Training HQ notes, if you are used to storing your trash and recycling out back, either move it to the garage, carport or side yard, or make sure the containers have extremely secure lids that lock.
Secure the Pool
If you have a pool, spa and/or koi pond in your backyard, you should definitely fence off the area until your puppy gets a lot older and has proven himself to be a great swimmer. You can either speak with your fence installer about a permanent fence to go around your pool—making sure that the bars are narrow enough to prevent a curious puppy from squeezing through—or consider a temporary barrier like a removable mesh fence. One caveat—older dogs can still get into trouble in the water, so do not remove the fence until your new family member is fully grown and an amazingly capable swimmer, and still keep a sharp eye on him when he is in the water.
Congratulations, and enjoy that new four-legged friend!
Puppies are an absolutely wonderful addition to a home and you are sure to spend many years together enjoying each other’s company. By spending some time to make sure your yard is safe, you can rest assured that your fur baby will not get into any trouble or danger when exploring the grass and garden.