Updated: Aug 19
This article may contain affiliate marketing links for products my pets and I adore. You won’t ever be charged a fee for shopping via my affiliate links. I may receive a small commission for purchases made through my affiliate links. I'll most likely use that commission to spoil my own pets or the Living Creatures Ministry Therapy animals. 🐾Learn more. Spring has sprung here in Iowa, and our puppies are finally ready to spend more time in the yard… but is your yard safe for your puppy? Here are 5 tips to help you puppy proof your yard:
Puppy Proof Your Yard Tip #1: Pick up poop.
If this is your first spring with a puppy, you may be a little horrified by the amount of puppy poo revealed when all the snow melts! No worries, we’ve all been there. Just make sure to scoop it up as soon as it thaws to help keep your puppy from eating it (yuck!) and yourself from stepping in it. This is especially important if your puppy has had intestinal parasites. You don’t want your puppy to ingest those parasites again.
If you’ve had any wildlife in your yard, make sure to scoop up their poop too! While most parasites in wildlife poop are species specific, your puppy may still get an upset stomach from eating poop, so it’s best to remove the temptation, if at all possible!
Puppy Proof Your Yard Tip #2: Establish boundaries.
Whether you have a physical fence, “invisible” fence, or none at all, it’s important to teach your puppy not to leave the boundaries you establish.
If there are any areas in your yard like a flowerbed or pool you’d like your puppy to avoid, make sure to monitor your puppy closely and call your puppy back to you if your puppy approaches those areas.
If you have a fence:
Recall and engage with your puppy towards the center of your yard to encourage your puppy to avoid the fenceline. This can help to reduce digging and fence fighting with the neighbor’s dogs.
Practice “gate manners” with your puppy. Make sure your puppy knows to sit and wait for permission before exiting through the gate - whether it’s open or closed!
Make sure to plug any holes or gaps your puppy could squeeze through with boards, chicken wire, etc.
No physical fence?
You’ll need to be extra vigilant about recalling your puppy every single time your puppy nears the edge of your yard. Make the middle of your yard extra engaging by playing with your puppy!
Pick the same spot to exit your yard with your puppy. Treat it like an invisible gate. Practice with your puppy until your puppy understands never to exit through the “gate” without sitting and getting permission from you!
Puppy Proof Your Yard Tip #3: Avoid chemical treatments.
If all possible, avoid using pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides entirely (your native wildlife will thank you!). If you absolutely must treat your yard, make sure to carefully read the instructions and leash walk your puppy only until your yard is safe to be in again.
Choose your mulch carefully! If your puppy likes to chew on sticks and mulch, opt for natural mulch that hasn’t been treated with chemicals. Again, your native wildlife will thank you too!
Puppy Proof Your Yard Tip #4: Identify poisonous plants.
Many weeds and popular garden plants are toxic to your puppy! Here’s some commonly found in yards:
Lily of the Valley
If you are unable to remove some of your flowers, make sure to monitor your puppy closely and continue to work on establishing boundaries.
If your puppy ingests anything toxic (or even something you aren't sure is toxic) call the Animal Poison Control Hotline at 888.426.4435 immediately and take your puppy to the vet.
Puppy Proof Your Yard Tip #5: Monitor your puppy at all times.
Have you noticed a recurring theme in this article? You can puppy proof to your heart’s content, build the safest fence in the world, and monitoring your puppy closely will always be the safest option.
Monitoring your puppy will help to keep your puppy from eating or chewing dangerous items, help to establish boundaries more quickly, and keep your puppy safe from any animals or people that may enter your yard.