Just like bringing home a baby, bringing home a puppy or an adult dog requires some preparation. In addition to indoor dog-proofing, dog-proofing outdoors is essential if you plan on giving your furry pal the run of the yard, because items that you might not perceive as hazardous can be dangerous to your dog. Before bringing him home, do a walk-through to ensure that your yard is a safe environment for your dog.
Having a fence installed around your yard is a must if you don't want your dog to run off. If your dog is a puppy, take his adult size into consideration before installing the fence, because otherwise he might jump over it when he's bigger. A 6-foot fence is sufficient for medium to large dogs. If you already have a fenced-off yard, use boards or chicken wire to fix any gaps or holes in it through which your furry pal might escape. Placing paver stones on the ground along the base of the fence can prevent your dog from digging his way out.
Walk through the yard and examine the ground for any objects that can potentially hurt your dog when he steps on them or puts them in his mouth. Clean up broken pieces of glass, nuts, screws and bolts, compost piles and toys, such as small balls and marbles, that are potential choking hazards. Large items stored in your yard, such as bicycles or garden furniture, are best removed also. They might not seem hazardous, but if they fall on a small dog, they can hurt him.
If you're an avid gardener and are growing a variety of plants in your yard, ensure you aren't growing any that are poisonous to your dog. Aloe (Aloe vera), garden hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis), oleander (Nerium oleander), gloriosa lily (Gloriosa superba) and coleus (Coleus ampoinicus) are examples of plants that are toxic to dogs. Also, remove cocoa hull mulch, mushrooms and weeds, such as nightshade (Solanum spp.), that can be dangerous to your dog.
Securely store any chemicals that you use to maintain your lawn out of your dog's reach or, ideally, switch to using natural alternatives. Always water generously after applying chemicals to your lawn and wait at least 48 hours before allowing your dog in the yard. Store the garden hose out of reach, because your dog might chew on it and puncture it. You don't want your pet companion to walk over a newly, chemically treated lawn and lick his paws. Also, ensure there aren't any contaminated puddles that your pet companion might drink from.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.