Summer is a wonderful time to be outdoors with your pet, and if you're like many Canadians, most of that time will be spent in your own backyard. Find out how to keep your pet safe in your backyard this summer with these Summer Yard Safety Tips for Dogs and Cats, so you can enjoy the most of it.
Protect Your Pet From Pests
1. Flea and Tick Protection
Make sure your pet has flea and tick protection, especially in the spring, summer, and fall with warmer temperatures and higher risk of contact.
2. Natural Flea and Tick Control
Try a natural flea and tick remedy, such as Tea Tree Oil, which is antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial.
3. Preventing Flea and Tick Contact
While your pet should always be protected against fleas and ticks, you can also avoid contact by keeping your pet away from wild animals and unprotected pets that may have fleas, avoiding long grasses and bushes where ticks like to hide, and by giving your pet a quick check for ticks daily.
4. Checking Your Pet Daily for Ticks
Any serious damage from ticks usually happens after 24 hours of contact, so make sure you are checking your dog daily if he’s been outside at all. Finding and removing ticks quickly can mean all the difference in your pet’s health.
To remove a tick using tweezers (from the Humane Society):
- Gentlly grab the tick with your tweezers as close to your dog's skin as possible. Be careful not to pinch your dog's skin.
- Pull the tick out and away from your dog's body in a straight, steady motion. Make sure that you've removed the entire tick, as any part you leave behind could cause infection.
- Clean the area thoroughly with an antiseptic.
- Praise your dog!
5. Protect Against Mosquitoes
Your pet needs mosquito protection just like you do. Marigold sprays, such as Eqyss Canadian Marigold Spray, are an all-natural repellant that is safe to use on pets and humans, too. Never use a spray containing DEET on your pet.
6. Limit Hunting
Feed your cat or dog before they go outside, particularly if they like to hunt. Common prey, such as mice, carry harmful diseases, fleas and ticks, and can also give your pet tapeworms if ingested. A well-fed pet is less likely to scavenge and eat.
Garden and Yard Pet Poisons
7. Poisonous Garden Plants
Make sure your yard and garden are pet-safe. Popular plants such as lilies, rhubarb, tomatoes, and begonias are toxic to pets.
8. Pet-Friendly Garden Plants
For your outdoor cat, plant some cat-friendly plants such as catmint, catnip, honeysuckle, or oat grass. Or for some plants your dog will enjoy, try mint, barley grass, or wheatgrass. They are great for your pet's digestion! Many dogs also love fresh garden veggies, such as cucumber, zucchini, and carrots, but you may want to cover these or put them in a raised bed so that your dog doesn't eat them right out of the garden.
9. Outdoor Pond Safety
Have an outdoor pond or garden fountain? Make sure all chemicals you use in it are pet-safe.
10. Avoid Cocoa Mulch
Avoid cocoa (cacao) mulch for the garden, particularly if your dog is a grazer. Or, choose pet-safe varieties that are theobromine-free.
11. Go Pesticide, Insecticide, and Herbicide-Free
Be careful about using pesticides, insecticides, or herbicides on your lawn and garden, or around your house. These products are also harmful to pets. Always read the directions carefully, or better yet, choose natural, safe alternatives whenever possible, such as neem oil.
12. Fertilizer Caution
Fertilizer can be dangerous to your pet, causing life-threatening bowel obstruction if eaten. Follow instructions after use for when it’s safe for your pet to be out.
13. Say No to Coffee
Coffee grounds are a popular mulch for the garden and content for compost bins, but coffee is one of the foods that are most toxic to dogs. Make sure compost bins are sealed or out of reach and avoid using coffee grounds directly in your garden.
14. Enclose Trash
Always keep trash in an enclosed bin so that your dog or cat cannot get into it. Garbage bins that are left open can be scavenged by pets, strays, and pests. Aside from the mess, your pet could ingest something toxic.
15. Supervise Tie-Outs
Never leave your dog out alone outside on a tie-out or runner. Strangulation and other injury are more common than you think. Try an alternative such as a fenced in open dog run, an invisible fence system, or a kennel.
Beat the Heat
16. Keep Water Accessible
Always make sure your dog or cat has plenty of access to fresh water when outside in the heat. It is easy for your pet to dehydrate.
17. Sun Protection
Your pet needs sun protection, too, particularly dogs with light-coloured or thin coats. Faces, ears, and bellies are most at risk for sunburn. Try a pet sunscreen, such as Happy Tails Spray and Play Sunscreen, or use coconut oil for a natural fix.
Prevent Your Dog From Escaping Your Yard
18. Check for Escape Points
Check your fence perimeter for possible escape points before letting your dog free in your yard. Avoid placing objects near your fence that your dog could climb up on and jump from, and make sure that all holes are repaired quickly. Have a digger? Secure digging spots with chicken wire to prevent escape.
19. Safe Dig Site
Create a safe area for your pet who loves to dig in a designated area of the yard. You can even bury some of your dog’s favourite toys or bones for her to find for fun!
20. ID for Safety
Always keep your pet microchipped or with a well-fitting collar and identification in case of escape. There is always a chance your pet could accidentally get out. If you have moved or changed phone numbers, keep your pet’s microchip information up-to-date.
Looking for other ways to keep your pet safe in the summer? Check out 13 Pet Summer Safety Tips.