Pet Hazards In Your Yard (and How to Fix Them)

It's wonderful to see a beloved pet playing and enjoying the space of a backyard or other outdoor space. But how do you keep them free from hazards?

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Who doesn’t love to see their pet running and playing in the yard? Of course, that joy quickly turns to panic if your pet is accidentally hurt in some way. Here’s how to make sure your pets are safe when they’re out exploring in the yard.

Unsafe Boundaries

Pets are curious, so they will find openings in fences and try to roam outside the yard if they get the chance. Broken or sagging fences can act as traps and wrap around a pet’s legs or body. Inspect fencing and other boundaries for damage to ensure your pet can’t wander or get entrapped. If you have an invisible fence, check frequently to make it is working properly.

Hazardous Plants

Many plants are toxic to pets, causing intestinal problems and other severe issues. Contact your local cooperative extension service if you’re not sure about the safety of some plants in your yard. They can also suggest pet-safe plants that grow well in your area.

Waste Removal

Your pet’s poo can contain parasites and other unwanted guests that could affect the health of your pet and your family. Teach your pet to use one section of the yard and clean it regularly. If the grass there shows signs of spotting or wear and tear, use pet-safe products to fix the damage.

Menacing Mulch

Some mulches are aromatic and appealing to pets, but they can be toxic and even fatal. Remove cocoa bean shell and other fragrant mulches if your pets gravitate to them. Supervise your pets if they are in areas with potentially hazardous mulch.

Path Perils

Pets will create paths around the yard, wearing down grass or plant material and leaving puddles from rain or sprinkler systems. Organisms such as leptospira and giardia will live in standing water and mud, and pets can become sick if they come in contact with these bacterium. You can create a path with pet-friendly materials to avoid standing water.

Water Hazards

Pets are attracted to water, so if you have a pool, pond or other deep water feature you’ll need to take precautions. Make sure there is a slope or stairs for pets to climb out of the water easily. A drinking water source is important to keep your pet safely hydrated and prevent them from seeking water from puddles or elsewhere in the yard.

Brutal Bites

Fleas and ticks can lurk in the lawn and garden. Ask your veterinarian about pest protection treatments that are safe for your pet. Use lawn pest control products that are nontoxic.

Lack of Shade

Always offer your pet a shady resting spot. Enclosed areas can heat up quickly, so create open shaded areas with retractable shades, a gazebo or other covered resting spots. Never rely on the shade of a building, since the amount of shade changes throughout the day and could leave your pet in full sun.

Lack of Fun

Bored pets find their own fun, which sometimes leads to trouble! Offer puzzle toys, chew bones and other activities to keep your pet interested and engaged.

Treacherous Tools

Lawn and garden tools can be harmful to pets if left in the yard. Keep rakes and all sharp-edged tools stored when not in use. Remember that gas-powered tools can leak, so never leave them out in the yard.

Burrs and Bristles

When grass is sparse or cut too close to the ground, plants such as stinging nettle, burdock, foxtail and other prickly varieties might invade the area. Plant parts embed themselves into the fur or feet of pets, causing infection or other toxic reactions. Watch for these plants and eliminate them before they take hold and seed themselves. Mow your grass about three inches high to give your pet a safe place to roll and play. This helps create a healthy, lush lawn that will be less likely to dry out from exposure, which encourages spiky weeds to invade the area.

Finally, make sure you play, too! Your pet craves human interaction, so be a part of the fun and discover ways to enjoy your own backyard with your pet.

Rosie Wolf Williams
Rosie Wolf Williams is a Vermont-based writer with credits in business profiles, veterinary and agriculture, natural health, general interest, automotive, hardware, DIY, innovation and trends. Her work has appeared in USA Weekend, Energy Times, Costco Connection, Next Avenue, and many other local and national publications. She is the author of "The Thought of You: The Art of Being Alive!" and is an award-winning speaker.