Spring is coming! Sure; it may take a longer time to show its full colors in Massachusetts than most of America, but it will get here. When it does, you and your pup will probably gear up to spend more time outdoors. Another way to let Fido get out more often is to provide yard access. However, if you haven’t dog-proofed your yard, you could be putting him at risk.

Note that “dog proofing” means something different for every dog. It all comes down to how likely your dog is to escape. Will a four-foot fence deter her from leaving the yard? Or, are you the worried owner of an escape artist who could try out for the Olympics with his jumping skills? Consider your answer to this question very carefully before moving forward.

1. Install Proper Fencing

This generally goes without saying, but you might be surprised at the details you need to keep in mind. We already mentioned the importance of double-checking the height, but be sure to check how deep into the ground the fence is. Dogs who can’t jump over it sometimes burrow their way out. If the cost of proper fencing is too high, consider only fencing a small area for the dog to use.

2. Pick Up the Poo

A surprising fact many pet sitters encounter is that people with yards do not always pick up the poo. Dog poo can be a breeding ground for bacteria — and it smells! A dog-proof yard should also be human-friendly, so be sure to pick up after Fido. Note that failure to do so could send poo flying when mowing the lawn, especially when using a weedwhacker.

3. Mow Regularly

Speaking of mowing the lawn, this is something you should do regularly. Critters love tall grass to hide in and may pose a risk to your pets. This includes both the common rat and the rarer timber rattlesnake. Make your yard uninviting by keeping it mowed. Otherwise, not only might Fido get hurt, but your doggie door could become a way for these uninvited guests to get into your home and cause you even more trouble.

4. Choose the Right Plants

People plant flowers for themselves, bees, butterflies and birds. Much to their surprise, their dogs — and cats! — often want to get in on the action as well. Some four-legged pets are naturally drawn to plants, so be sure to plant ones that are safe for interactions. According to PetMD, some plants that are poisonous to dogs include azaleas, tulips, amaryllis, and daffodils.

5. Lock Away Chemicals

Dogs with access to the front yard face higher risks as they may get into the garage and come in contact with chemicals. When backyard sheds are used to store chemicals, they can make the back yard just as dangerous. Also, take care with using pesticides as these can be poisonous.

6. Secure the Trash

Even more tempting than chemicals to a dog is your trash. Those with only back yard access are unlikely to come into contact with the trash can. However, if your dog has access to the front yard, you might be surprised at how much trouble he can get into. Training your dog not to mess with the trash is a good preventative measure as well.

7. Create Shade

The best way to create shade for your dog is to plant a tree. Unfortunately, these take years to grow, so unless you already have one in place, consider a dog house, gazebo or canopy while you wait. You could even get creative and use a tarp and some poles to create a shaded area. Don’t forget to also provide water so your dog can stay hydrated while outdoors.

  1. Consider a Doggie Door

Revisit the earlier question about whether or not your dog is an escape artist. If yes, you might want to reconsider a doggie door. For everyone else who has an otherwise dog-proofed yard, a doggie door is a great way for Fido to have safe, independent access to the great outdoors. Never again do you have to get up in the middle of the night or while working on an important project to let him out.

One of the best benefits of a dog-proof yard with independent access is that it allows you to spend more time away from home without putting Fido at risk. You can work longer hours or spend the night away guilt free.

Still, remember that Fido is not supposed to be left home alone for too long. For longer times away from home, schedule an appointment with Saugus pet sitters at Dog Gon’ Good Time. We ensure he gets food, water, companionship and exercise. Give us a call at 781-780-4985 for more information.