How to create a pet-friendly backyard

3 August, 2015

If you have a dog you probably treat it like another member of the family. Fido is always there for you whether you have snacks or not … but mostly when you have snacks. However, just because he's an important part of your life doesn't mean you want him dirtying up your outdoor seating. Here are just a few suggestions that can help you keep your yard tidy and your dog occupied when guests come over to a backyard party:

Ice lick
Having an outdoor get-together but worried that your dog will bother guests while they're eating? Consider making a doggie ice lick that'll keep your pooch busy while you and your party attendees enjoy one another's company. It sounds odd, but your dog will be busy for hours with it. Just fill a cake mold with chicken broth, dog bones and toys, and freeze it for a few hours. Present the ice lick to your pet in the backyard once your friends start arriving and be bothered by a hungry puppy no more!

If you'd prefer to make something smaller for your pet to chew on, then fill an unused ice tray with chicken broth and chopped up apple slices. This method will help keep smaller dogs busy while you enjoy the day lounging in the yard.

Designated potty spot 
Are you still training your dog when it comes to going to the bathroom? If your pup regularly uses your yard to do his business, you might forget to clean up after him all the time. Also, if you're a gardener, you probably don't want your pet going to the bathroom over your prized flowers and bushes. 

A great work-around to this problem is to create a small fenced-in area of your backyard as a dedicated potty training zone. Make sure the area is far enough away from your outdoor furniture sets and guests. 

Dog bowls
Does your backyard furniture and design have more of a Mediterranean style? If you think the chrome of your dog's food and water bowls clashes with your design sense, there's a simple way to fix it. Find a pair of planters or pots that the bowls can easily fit into that will make a nice facade.

Water fountain
If your dog is thirsty but you want to keep his water bowl inside the house, then invest in a dog-activated water fountain. The outdoor kind usually hooks up to a hose, and dogs can step on the fountain's mat to start the water stream themselves. 

For small dogs
A fenced-in backyard can keep most pups from running off and getting lost. Do you have a particularly small dog and want him to be able to enjoy the comforts of playing in a yard? An escape-preventing harness could solve the problem. Made by a number of companies, it features a fabric crossbar over the top that's wider than your dog. It'll keep him from slipping through any narrow bars.