Creating a Dog-Friendly Outdoor Space Angela MarcusJust for Fun, Bringing home a newly adopted dog is exciting, but requires lots of preparation. Besides making sure your home is puppy-proof, you want to make sure your outdoor space is pet-friendly, too. Here are some tips for creating the perfect dog-friendly outdoor space: Fence Safety should be the number one priority when creating a dog-friendly outdoor space. A fenced yard is a great start, but it’s not a foolproof. Dogs sometimes jump fences, dig their way out or find other ways to escape the yard. We recommend actively training your dog to stay within the boundaries of your yard, whether you have a fence or not. For smaller dogs, make sure the fence is the appropriate size to prevent any wriggling bodies from getting through or getting stuck. It’s also important never to leave your dog unattended or unsupervised when outside. Plants safe for dogs Pet owners should always take care to use toxin-free landscaping. Chemicals in pest control and other landscaping materials can be extremely poisonous for our four-legged friends. Make sure your garden doesn’t use cocoa mulch, and get rid of any toxic plants that may be growing on your property. These include lilies, tulips, and azaleas. They are highly toxic to dogs, and when ingested, can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal issues. Don’t rely on a chicken wire fencing or another barrier to keep toxic plants out of your dog’s reach—remove the plants altogether. Relief from the heat or protection from the elements No matter where you live, every climate comes with its own unique challenges. It’s important for any pet owner to provide a comfortable and safe environment for their pet. In warmer months and during the summer especially, you want to provide plenty of shade for your dog. If you don’t have any trees in your yard, you can create a makeshift sun screen to block harmful UV rays, or even create a basin for your dog to lie in and stay cool. Like people, dogs can get sunburn and suffer from heatstroke if left in the sun too long. Designated digging area Dogs have a natural instinct to dig. Rather than discourage your dog from digging, you can provide them with a space that’s intended to get a little messy. Sandboxes, digging pits, and other designated digging areas can help deter your dog from digging in off-limit places like your garden. You can create a digging area for your dog by hollowing out a good-sized area of the yard and filling it with sand, mulch, or other soft material that won’t hurt your dog’s paws. Line the pit with rocks to keep the contents in, and let your dog dig to their heart’s content! Water feature If your dog loves water, you can create a simple water feature that will satisfy their craving to get wet. Playtime is much more fun with some sprinklers, kiddy pools, or dog-friendly water fountains! Just make sure the water feature is safe for your dog, and that they aren’t left unattended near a pool. Obstacle course No dog-friendly outdoor space is complete without a doggy playground. Give your pooch something to keep busy with by providing them with a dog-sized obstacle course! It’s easy and fun to create an exciting space for your dog to play. Fill your yard with ramp ladders, tunnels, weave poles, or other objects for your dog to jump over. Ultimately, however, you don’t have to do anything fancy or expensive to make your backyard a place your dog will love. If this is too big a project for you, consider taking your dog as often as you can to a dog park. Interested in adopting a dog of your own? Get started browsing dogs for adoption on getyourpet.com.