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You're ready to spend the summer outside with your family and friends. You're planning pool parties, barbecues and all kinds of activities to enjoy the sunny weather. And while your backyard may be perfect for you, you need to consider how it works for your furry family members as well. Let your pets enjoy the summer with you by implementing these pet-friendly tips for your yard.
One of the most important features of a pet-friendly yard is a secure fence. You need to make sure it's high enough that your dog or cat can't jump over it. Don't underestimate your pet's abilities to jump either, as they can be quite bouncy. You also should make sure they can't climb over the fence. Put up a slick material, such as plywood, to prevent climbing, and remove items near the fence they can climb on. When you're putting up your fence, make sure your dog can't dig under it by installing chicken wire or concrete under the slats.
Your backyard needs to be safe for your pets to explore and play. Before planting a garden, you need to know which plants may be poisonous or harmful to your pets. Some common garden plants to stay away from include azaleas, lilies, daffodils, African daisies, aloe and cocoa bean mulch. The ASPCA has a full list of plants you can check before planting your garden.
You want your backyard to be as comfortable for your pets as it is for the rest of your family. Make sure they have a cozy spot to sit and doze throughout the day. Get an outdoor dog bed or patio furniture they can curl up on. They should have plenty of spots to relax and survey the yard that's in the shade and comfortable to spend long periods of time. If you don't have a covered porch or patio, build them a dog house where they can hang out.
Your pets also should have easy access to drinking water and food if they're going to spend any time outside. Don't forget that the summer weather is hot and time outside should be limited. They'll also need extra water to stay hydrated.
Now to the fun part. You want your pets to actually enjoy spending time in your backyard. Set up paths for them to explore around the yard and lookout points for them to survey their territory. To keep them cool and active, set up an inflatable pool or build a small pond for them to splash around in. Just make sure they are easy to get in and out of so they are safe. You also can build a sandbox where your dogs can bury bones, dig and play with their toys. This is a bit messy, though, so you'll need to keep a rake and shovel nearby. If you're really motivated to make your backyard a pet heaven, build them an obstacle course where they can run, jump, dodge and play all day long.
Your pets are an important part of your family, so your yard should be part of their home as well as yours. Make it safe, comfortable and fun for them, and you'll be able to enjoy your summer together.