What Are the Best Ways to Keep Pets Safe in the Backyard?
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What Are the Best Ways to Keep Pets Safe in the Backyard?

What Are the Best Ways to Keep Pets Safe in the Backyard?

Pets love having some time in the backyard to run, play, and explore. Most people can leave them in a protected space outside without worrying much about potential dangers. As long as the animal is large enough to avoid aerial predators, there doesn’t seem to be much that could be bothersome.

Many pet parents don’t realize what dangers actually exist in their backyard. From toxic plants to harmful structures, a thorough inspection of this outdoor area is necessary to determine if it is safe to use.

These tips can help you to get that process started.

How to Keep Pets Safe in the Backyard

1. Get rid of any toxic plants.
Rhododendrons, azaleas, and sago palms are toxic to most pets. Any member of the cycad family should not be in your backyard at all. Foxglove, kalanchoe, and several lilies are also in that category. If your pet loves to dig, having bulbs as part of your landscape could be problematic for animal health.

2. Stop using insecticides.
Before using any sprays, granules, herbicides, or fertilizer, you’ll want to carefully read the instructions on the product. Most items state that they are not meant for use around children or pets. The worst offenders in this category use metaldehyde, methomyl, or zinc phosphide. If your animals get into those products, they need to get to the vet immediately for treatment.

3. Spread fertilizers without your pets around.
Animals love to explore smelly areas. When you provide your plants with fertilizer, it can be too much of a temptation to avoid it. Many pets, but especially dogs, will eat what you apply. This behavior can cause an upset stomach and a gastrointestinal obstruction that could be life-threatening.

If you use compost for your backyard instead of fertilizer, the issues are still the same. Some moldy foods, coffee grounds, and vegetable stems could be dangerous for pets to ingest.

4. Don’t use any cocoa-based mulch.
A growing trend in the landscaping and gardening communities is to use cocoa mulch for decorative purposes. The combination of a sweet smell and essential plant nutrients works with water retention to grow a healthy garden. It can also be a health issue for pets that ingest this stuff. The combination of chocolate and wood can cause muscle tremors, seizures, vomiting, and hyperactivity.

Some mulch products are better than others. Cedar is the preferred choice because it provides natural pest-resistance qualities.

5. Eliminate spaces where fleas and ticks could hide.
Fleas and ticks prefer to hide in tall brush. If you let your grass grow too long, the small insects could find their way to your pets. As if their bites weren’t problematic enough, their presence can cause hot spots, tapeworms, anemia, hair loss, and skin conditions. Lyme disease, babesia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are also potential outcomes.

Keeping your pets safe outside requires a proactive approach. Consider these tips before letting your animals in your backyard unsupervised to ensure they have a healthy experience.

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