Do you have your own home, with a fenced yard? If so, that’s great! Our canine pals really do benefit from having a space where they can just run and play. However, there are some things to keep in mind when sorting out your backyard design. Read on as a local Salisbury, NC vet offers some advice on creating a yard that is both fun and safe for Fido. Fencing If you have a large yard, you may find it worth your while to divide it up into sections. Set aside one part for Fido, and then use the rest for gardening or playtime. You won’t have to deal with messes in your recreational area, and you won’t have to worry about your dog destroying your plants. Before dividing your yard into areas, watch where your dog goes naturally. If he tends to run back and forth in a certain area on squirrel patrol, incorporate that pathway into your design. Ground Cover Choose a dog-friendly ground cover. Grass of course is fine, but it isn’t the only option. If you’re fencing off an area, you can also use artificial turf or thyme. We don’t recommend getting mulch. It can harbor fleas and other critters, and can cause sharp splinters. Plus, some dogs will try to eat it, which is extremely dangerous. Cocoa mulch is particularly hazardous, as cocoa (chocolate) is toxic to pups. You can also just put something more durable in areas with lots of paw traffic. Pea gravel or decomposed granite can work, but these are best for shady areas: they’ll get quite hot in direct sun! Pupgrades Once you have the basics sorted out add some dog-friendly features. A doghouse is a great option! Your furry buddy may also enjoy a kiddie pool or sprinkler to splash around in, or a sandbox to play in. Ramps can also be a fun option for active, agile dogs. Plants Toxic plants are a huge concern. Many popular choices are poisonous to pets. Sago palms are very high on the list of dangerous plants. Other unsafe options include tulips, daffodils, azaleas, and rhododendrons. You can find more information on safe and unsafe plants online at the ASPCA here. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns about your dog’s health or care. As your Salisbury, NC veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!