Congratulations on your puppy! If they are anything like Mr Magoo puppy proofing your yard is a must. He loves to put everything into his mouth, even the dangerous stuff. How do you go about puppy proofing your yard?
The most obvious is making sure you have a fence around the area. For some people this isn’t possible due to size of yard or because of homeowner’s restrictions. In this case you will want to invest in an electric fence, although this is not the best option. Many dogs will break through the electric fence and end up in potentially dangerous situations.
My first girl, Molson, required me to turn my yard into Puppy Knox. She was able to dig under the fence and pull the picket up, snapping it. After a couple of these she was able to freely move been my house and the neighbors. Fortunately, it wasn’t to the outside! As a result, I ended up digging about 12 inches down in the yard under all of the fences. Laying down six to eight inches of concrete and returning the dirt. While it was a lot of work it kept her safe for many years.
You will want to see if there are any gaps in the fence. Also look for any exposed nails or other injury hazards. Or if your dog is jumper make sure the fence is high enough. While your puppy might not be super creative, assume they will be a creative teenager and look for everything they *might* do.
The most obvious is identifying and removing poisonous plants. This is more difficult if you are a renter or cannot remove the plant for some reason. In this case you will want to mitigate the possibility of poisoning by putting a barrier or other deterrent around the plant.
The ASPCA has a very comprehensive list of poisonous plants, but it is not all inclusive. The following list are ones that I’ve come across when I’ve been landscaping.
Caladium is also known as Elephant Ear, Heart of Jesus, and Angel Wings. There are many other Caladium varieties that are also toxic, those listed are just the most common. Like Caladium, Taro is a similar plant that just as toxic. These plants are extremely dangerous and can cause death. Dogs who ingest Caladium or Taro might experience tremors, seizures, loss of balance, upset stomach to name a few.
If you live in California or Arizona you see this plant everywhere. And you’ll find it many other areas of the country as well. Many times you will see it as a screen to add privacy to a home. Every part of this plant is toxic. Some symptoms of ingestion include excessive drooling, diarrhea, abdominal pain to name a few. It can cause heart issues and even death.
The Sago Palm is also known as King Sago, Sago Cycad, Japanese Sago Palm. The seed of the Sago Palm is the most dangerous, but the whole plant is toxic. It is as poisonous to humans as it is to other animals. Dogs are most susceptible because they find the plant very appealing. Some of the symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, liver failure, bloody noses, bloody stools just to name a few. Ingesting any part of the plant requires an immediate vet visit. The ASPCA estimates that over 50% die as a result of ingesting a part of the plant.
When I redid my landscaping the Kangaroo Paw was added. This plant is native to Australia. In a review of Australian sites, the Kangaroo Paw is a poisonous plant to dogs. There is nothing in the US that indicates it’s dangerous. The flowers are the most dangerous but they are also the hardest to keep cleaned up. Some symptoms of poisoning include diarrhea and vomiting. While it is unlikely to be deadly, removing them from my yard seemed to be prudent.
You can find Larkspur natively in higher elevations. However, it is grown in other areas and can be either a perennial or an annual plant. When the plant is young it is highly toxic to animals as well as humans. It becomes less toxic as it grows. Some of the symptoms of poisoning include increased drooling, muscle tremors, weakness, stiffness, convulsions. It may lead to cardiac failure and death.
Dangerous and other Poisonous Objects
In addition to making sure fencing and foliage isn’t an issue you will want to look at other objects in your yard. You will want to make sure all pruning shears, pointed spades, hoes and other tools are out of reach from your puppy. You’ll be surprised at what they grab and run with!
While rose bushes aren’t poisonous you will want to take precautions if you have them. Miss Millie and Mr Magoo have an obsession with my roses. Recently, Mr Magoo grabbed a thorny branch and while it was stuck on his foot he tried to pull it loose with his mouth. He managed to catch it on his lips. Fortunately, I was standing nearby and was able to stop him from making his mouth and paw a bloody mess. The plants now have a fence around them to protect them and him from any further issues.
Make sure to avoid using fertilizers, pesticides, or insecticides. The chemicals can be very harmful to a puppy. Plus, they aren’t good for dogs or children either. If you need to use them make sure your puppy is away from the chemicals for as long as possible.
Mulch is one of the more popular product found in yards. Treating mulch with chemicals is common. These chemicals can be toxic to dogs, particularly puppies. When I was landscaping my yard, they brought in mulch. Chemicals in the mulch would have been terrible for my wood chewing pups. I opted for larger rocks, much more expensive but much less likely to become a hazard.
Miss Millie single-handedly destroyed the landscape lighting in my yard. Because she was a puppy I had turned the power off but before I could remove everything she had chewed through multiple wires. If you have electrical in your yard bury it deeply or ensure you protect your puppy somehow.
You will want to look into organic or chemical-free gardening. While I’m no expert this is an area that I’m venturing into to keep Miss Millie and Mr Magoo safe. At minimum look for products with “pet safe” designations.
If fully puppy proofing your yard proves impossible you will want to be with your puppy 100% of the time. And if that isn’t possible you might want to consider buying or building a dog run to keep them safe. You can pick up the one below on Amazon.
This should help you with puppy proofing your yard. What are other things you consider when puppy proofing your yard?
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