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Five Landscaping Strategies for a Pet-Safe Yard

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Your yard is for every member of your family to enjoy, even your pet. It's important that you make sure it is also a safe place for your furry friend.

1. Prune Problem Branches

A small falling branch may bruise you if you are unfortunate enough to be underneath it when it comes down, but it can cause severe injury to your much smaller pet. Inspect trees often for dead wood and branch damage, particularly following stormy weather, so you can cut them out before then come down on their own. It's also a good idea to have the trees fully trimmed every year in late winter.

2. Minimize Lawn Chemical Use

Lawn chemicals, including pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, can make your pet mortally ill. Of course, not all lawn treatments are avoidable. Work with your landscaping company to select pet-safe lawn treatments as needed. If you must use a treatment that can endanger your pet's health, your lawn service should be able to provide you with key safety guidance, such as how long your pet must stay off the lawn.

3. Choose the Right Mulch

Mulch is a key ingredient for an attractive lawn since it suppresses weeds and gives garden beds an attractive finished look. Unfortunately, some types of mulch can also be deadly, particularly to dogs. Avoid using cocoa mulch, a popular alternative to wood and bark chips. The cocoa in the mulch can make your dog sick or even lead to death if they try to eat it, much like a reaction to the chocolate made from the cocoa. Bark mulch is the best option, even compared to wood chips, since it is less likely to leave splinters in the paws.

4. Manage Water Features

Water features make your yard more pleasant, and most pets can't resist the occasional drink from the refreshing flow. Unfortunately, the water may be contaminated with toxic algae. You can guard against this by cleaning the features at least once a week. Further, make sure there is moving water in every feature, such as from a fountain or bubbler. Adding a filter can also help. You should also never add any chemicals to the water, such as an insecticide for mosquitoes, if there is a chance a pet may take a drink.

5. Check Plant Toxicity

Finally, make sure none of the current plants in your landscape or any that you plan to add are toxic. Your landscaper can help you identify and check the toxicity of any plants currently in your yard. If toxic plants are found, work with your landscaper to determine the best pet-safe replacement.

Contact a residential landscaping service for more help in designing a pet-safe yard.