As a dog parent you probably want to give your doggie a great play place, but do you know there are hazards lurking in your yard? I have to admit I have been surprised at times to find dangers for my dog, Henry. Whether you’re a new dog parent or a long-time dog parent, some of these may surprise you as well. Today, let’s dig in and discover the top ten hazards to avoid in a safe dog yard.
*Updated: June 2, 2023
Budget Tip: Keeping your backyard safe for your dog means fewer trips to the vet's office and pricey bills. For me, knowing my dog is safe in whatever yard I put him in is priceless. That is a major buget win in my book!
Whether you and your doggie are in your yard or a family or friend’s yard, there are surprising hazards. These are the top 10 hazards to avoid in your dog yard.
1. Plants and shrubs
You probably already know that there are many plants that are toxic to pets. If you need a list, the American Kennel Club has a great list of plants to avoid for dogs and pets.
However, you might be surprised to learn that the simple structure of some plants or shrubs are dangerous to dogs and pets. For instance, some plants have pointing leaves and are just the right height for small dogs’ eyes, especially if they are sniffing. Roses bushes also can be a thorny issue for dogs’ and pets’ eyes.
Personally, I learned this the difficult way. One day, I turned my back for a split second and my dog, Henry poked his bad eye in a family’s yard. We were out of town visiting, but I immediately called my vet for advice. However, if I’d been in town or the poke would’ve been worse, we would’ve made a trip to the vet or emergency vet. Thankfully, Henry’s eye healed without any issues.
Do you know the best way to prepare for an emergency vet visit or how you may be able to cut the cost of a visit? In this article, I share my tips and reveal how you might cut your emergency vet bill.
Pollen season can also be a bit treacherous for those dogs who love to sniff everything and tend to have allergies.
You may be mindful of what you put on your plants and shrubs and where you store your chemicals (if you use them). But if you visit a family or friend’s yard can you confidently say chemicals are stored properly? Or what if your dog rolls on the grass and then licks his/her paws? Will he/she be ingesting toxic chemicals? Never assume others take care of landscape and lawn chemicals in the same way you do in your yard.
Have you heard that Benadryl can cause severe allergic reactions suddenly even after it’s worked for years for your dog? I hadn’t until it happened to Henry. In this article, I share exactly what happened and what you can look for in your dog.
This seems like an easy one to check. You simply make sure that there’s fencing and it goes completely around the yard, right? But you also need to make sure that the fence is in good order. This means it’s strong enough to withstand your dog or a dog from the other side of the fence jumping on it.
Again, I learned this lesson the hard way. A few years ago Henry and I were visiting his favorite small puppy friend. They were playing in the backyard. Suddenly the neighbor’s dogs broke through the fence and pulled Henry through.
Specifically, the problem was there was a knot in the fence, which weakened the fence’s strength. The neighbor’s dogs used it as a weak spot to look through and bust down the fence. This is why Henry has a bad eye. But the good news is he survived. I think it knocked a few years off my life. I now make sure fences are well-maintained and secured. However, it was a very stressful ordeal and ultimately pricey for the neighbor’s homeowners insurance. Although, I had to go to small claims to receive payment.
Another aspect of a yard fence is that it needs to be tall enough to hold your dog, especially if your dog likes to jump. Many years ago, my family had a border collie, named Punky. She could clear a 6’ brick fence from a standing position. In this case, it’s a matter of knowing your dog’s skills and keeping an eye on your dog if you’re visiting a friend’s dog yard.
4. Pool/water feature
While most dogs are great at swimming, some are a bit scared of it. If you have a pool or large water feature in your backyard watch your dog like you would a child. It’s always best to be safe. When in doubt, put a life vest on your dog.
While Henry is a great swimmer, he’d prefer to float. I guess that’s part of his “King Henry” persona.
5. Yard tools
My grandfather was a stickler for taking care of tools of all sorts, including yard tools, and putting them away properly. However, you may not be the same. Or you may visit a yard that doesn’t adhere to this philosophy. Yard tools can be sharp and pointy. If you’ve ever accidentally stepped on a rake hiding in the grass, you’ll understand it’s no fun.
Additionally, if you have a dog who likes to chew, then your expensive tools can soon be a faint memory of what they used to be or you may have to invest in new tools for your friend. It’s always best to do a quick search before letting your dog loose in the yard.
6. Chipping paint
I know you’re thinking this is just weird. My dog won’t eat paint. Well, you’d probably think the same thing about your dog eating poop until you saw it. Dogs can sometimes do the strangest things when they get bored or if they are not entertained to their full energy level. The problem with a dog eating chipping paint (even if you’re prepping to paint your house) is the paint chips could be lead-based. Besides, dogs simply weren’t made to digest paint chips. Either are humans. This could mean a pricey vet visit.
This could seem like a silly one to include on the list. However, it’s a critical one. If you have anyone that has access to your backyard, then it’s super important. You always need to check that the gate or gates are closed before you let your dog loose in your yard or a friend’s yard.
Once again, I learned this lesson the hard way. I was visiting family and waited for the landscaper to leave and then let Henry outside for a couple of minutes. I went to grab a bottle of water before joining him. Within those few seconds, he was gone. The landscaper left the gate open. Thankfully, he was waiting at the front door for me. Now, I check everything.
I know this is another weird-sounding hazard. Let me explain. If you live in a very populated area or you are visiting a highly-populated area with your dog, then a backyard that is exposed to the public, even if it’s gated and fenced, means heavy supervision. Unfortunately, some dogs are considered more valuable to people for a multitude of reasons.
As such, it’s not uncommon that dogs, who are friendly, to be snatched from their own dog yards especially when the yards are visible to the public. Cameras can help detect the intruder, but it still can be difficult to retrieve the “dognapped” dog. Of course, having your dog chipped may help as well. But mostly you being present with your dog will deter the person from invading your yard for the easy grab. Needless to say, making your dog yard less visible to the public also helps. It’s the out-of-sight, out-of-mind method.
Have you updated your dog’s microchip information lately? Do you know it’s vital in case your dog becomes separated from you? In this article, I walk you through all your questions about microchipping. That includes how to transfer a chip and how to signup for free.
9. Gravel, bark, or mulch
You may have decorated your backyard with gravel to save on water and cut down on the mud. This is a great idea! However, if you have a dog that likes to chew or eat whatever is around, you’ll want to pay close attention. I know, sometimes I think dogs are part goat. If you have a goat-type dog, you may even want to invest in a dog run to quarantine your dog from these dangerous pebbles or bark areas. Ingesting pebbles could lead to an emergency veterinarian trip or worse.
Additionally, mulch or bark made from cocoa bean, almond or walnut trees, or most fruit trees can be toxic to dogs and cause blockages if ingested. Again, this would lead to a very expensive vet bill.
10. Garden hose
If you have a dog who is high-energy and gets bored easily, make sure you put your garden hose up and out of the way. This too could end up as a chew toy. In this case, it would be a good idea to invest in some heavy-duty chewy toys rather than replace your expensive garden hose.
How does a safe dog yard help my dog expenses?
This will shock you. Actually, this is the fun part to see how simple steps save big!
|Ingesting toxic plants||$547|
|Replacing of hose and tools||$100|
- Emergency Dog Fund: How Much Money Should You Save?
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- Easy Dog Yard Digging Solutions
- Is There Cheap Temporary Dog Fencing? Yes!
- Easy Dog Fence Jumping Solutions
- A Dog Friendly Backyard On A Budget
Summary of surprising hazards to avoid for a safe dog yard
Dog yards are a fun place to let your dog be a dog as long as you account for the hidden dangers that are lurking in your backyard. While some hazards may seem obvious like chemicals, others are rather unique like chipping paint. But each will make you more aware of what your dog needs from you as a dog owner and help provide a safe dog yard. In the end, allowing your dog to feel safe and loved is really what it is all about. No dog parent wants to end up in the emergency vet waiting room.