What to Look For in a Yard for Dogs

Consider these things when looking for the right yard for your dog.

When you’re buying a home, you want to make sure every member of your family is satisfied. And Fido is no exception! When it comes to your canine companion, the yard is possibly the most important part of the home. After all, this is where your furry friend will play, relieve themselves, and possibly even eat and occasionally sleep. Making sure the yard meets your dog’s needs is very important to buying the right house for your family.

Consider these things when looking for the right yard for your dog.

Fence them in

Your dog, much like a kid, probably wouldn’t say they want a fence. But, like a kid, they need boundaries. A fenced yard offers the safest space for your dog to run and play. You’ll want to make sure there are no restrictions from the HOA, city, or county on building a fence.

But you’re not stuck with the traditional chainlink or wooden privacy fence options. Consider a more environmentally- and dog-friendly fence made up of shrubbery or install some posts and plant snaking vines that will grow up over them and create a natural wall.

Big enough to romp

Yards comes in all shapes and sizes, from a postage stamp with no grass to the size of a state park on private property. While you might want a smaller yard to maintain, it still needs to be big enough for your dog to enjoy playing and relaxing in.

Of course, “big enough” will depend on the size and personality of your dog. Typically, you can get by with a smaller yard for a smaller dog, but you know your dog and how much space they need best.

Dog-friendly landscaping

Did you know cocoa mulch could poison your dog the same way chocolate can? It’s little details like that that might be overlooked when seeking out a dog-friendly yard.

If you find an otherwise perfect yard that has a few dog-unfriendly choices, consider how easy or difficult it would be to swap out those choices. If it would be difficult, ask yourself if you want to put in that much effort or be forced to constantly monitor your dog outside to ensure their safety? It might be a good idea to skip it and find another house with more dog-friendly landscaping.

Dog-friendly features (or room for them)

A big, grassy yard is the first step in finding the right yard for your dog. But is it enough? What about some other dog-friendly features that will give your dog even more pleasure at being in their own yard?

Try looking for a water feature for your dog to easily cool off on hot days. A sandbox offers the perfect place for your dog to dig without making holes all over the yard. Both features would require maintenance, of course, but the joy your dog will get from them is worth it. If the yard doesn’t already have these features, consider whether there’s room to add them and how much it would cost.

Plants that work with your dog instead of hurt them

If the yard has lots of plants like foxglove, iris, monkshood or lily of the valley, you might want to pass as these are all dangerous to your dog. On the other hand, plants like lavender, rosemary and mint will help keep fleas away. And your dog can eat blueberries, strawberries, and both wheat and oat grass, making these plants great free snacks for your precious pooch.

Look for urine-resistant plants too. Your dog is going to go where they want to go, so having plants that won’t be negatively affected by their urine will make for less yard maintenance for you.

Entertainment and play activities

Dogs try to escape their yards when they get bored. Look for a yard that offers plenty of things to keep their interest. Dog runs, playground equipment such as slides, teeter-totters and crawl slides all offer your dog chances to play, run, and entertain themselves until they wear themselves out.

A yard that already has features like this is perfect for your dog. But if they don’t already exist, consider the layout of the yard. Is there room for multiple play options? How would you lay out the different activities?

Access to the yard

Most of the time, you’ll want to be able to access the yard from the house and from the yard itself with gates. But when determining if this is the right yard for your dog, consider how easy or difficult it is to access the yard. Are there no gates or do the existing gates stick or otherwise not work easily? Can a stranger walking by easily open a gate and let your dog out?

Traffic patterns around the house

Another reason dogs might try to escape the yard is fear. Loud traffic, lots of traffic, horns honking, and car accidents are all things that might scare your dog. Look at the roads and traffic patterns right around the house. Is it on the corner or two busy streets or located at the end of a quiet dead-end road? Is there an interstate close by that the dog will be able to hear? If an accident happens, is there a possibility that a car would end up in your yard and potentially hurt your dog?

The best yard for your dog depends on a lot of things. But with a little time and careful consideration, you’ll find the perfect yard for your pupper.


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