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Posted on 04-18-2014

How to have a beautiful yard and a happy dog. With proper planning you and your dog can enjoy your backyard together. First you need to understand what your dog enjoys doing outside and set realistic expectations.

Exercise your dog daily. A dog with too much energy is bound to get into trouble. In order to alleviate their boredom dogs can turn to digging, chewing or barking while they are outside. You should also supply your dog with a variety of toys to enjoy. Such as chew toys or hollow toys that can be stuffed with treats or peanut butter. There are a wide variety of entertaining treat dispensing toys on the market.

Secondly, pay attention to how your dog acts while outside in the yard. Does he like to run along the fence line causing a worn trail? A solution could be to place flower beds or plants just out from the fence. This will allow your dog to continue to patrol the fence and will hide from view the bare ground.

Some people create a dog yard. This is a fenced in area that is specifically for the dog and is free of any gardens or potential risks. This is also a convenient way to keep scooping duty reasonable.

Is your dog a digger? Some breeds are born diggers and expecting them not to dig can be unreasonable. You can consider trying to discourage them from this behavior by exercising them before outside playtime. You can also limit their access to dirt and by making the digging itself unpleasant. You can try this by placing your dog’s stool in the holes they have dug and covering with a light coating of dirt. Many dogs won’t dig in their own mess. This procedure will need to be repeated but usually is effective within a short amount of time. Another option is to provide your dog with an acceptable place to dig. Believe it or not your dog can be taught where it is ok to dig, with a lot of patience.

In order to protect your most precious plants prepare raised flower beds and use hanging planters. In your borders you can plant sturdier plants that can handle being stepped on. There are also plants that are pet friendly, such as mint that is nearly indestructible and with contact emits a pleasant, cool, minty aroma. Just be cautious of plants that can be toxic to your pets. Your local garden center can also give you many more suggestions on hardy and safe plants.

Dogs can’t tell precious plants from weeds, so it is best not to leave your dog alone with your plants. The safest and most effective way to protect your yard and your dog is to always supervise your dog while outside. Enjoying the outdoors with your canine best friend means fresh air and fun for all!

If you have questions please call us at Eagle Animal Hospital (610) 458-8789. We serve Chester Springs, Downingtown, Exton, Glenmoore and the surrounding area.

Written by Keri LinsenBigler, veterinary technician

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