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Landscape Barkitecture: How to Create a Pet-Safe Yard

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Mixed Breed Dog

From endless games of fetch to long afternoons spent lazing in the sun, your lawn has endured lots of activity this summer. While you’re prepping your outdoor space for the cooler season ahead, use these tips to make sure it’s also pet-safe.

8 Tips for a Pet-Safe Fall Landscape:

  1. Munching on Mulch. Many gardeners mulch in the fall to protect plants’ roots from the cold. Since dogs often eat mulch, choose one that’s non-toxic and pet-safe. Avoid cocoa mulch, and any mulch that has essential oils, resins or chemical insecticides. Apply it like this.
  2. Mend the Fence. Whether you choose electric or wooden, a fence prevents dogs from running away and keeps them safe. Before it gets too cold, check for holes, gaps, breaks or broken latches. Fence off pools, ponds and fire pits to prevent injuries.  
  3. Things Falling from the Sky. Even though we may try our best to make sure our lawns are 100 percent pet safe, objects seem to fall out of the sky! Clear the yard of broken branches, pine cones and fungi, like mushrooms, that can be harmful to our furry friends.
  4. Fido First. Use an organic fall fertilizer to promote growth, help lawn recover from drought and increase winter hardiness. Harsher, chemical lawn products can be eaten, ingested or passed on to your dog. Keep your dog alive longer by making sure their paws are safe thanks to organic lawn products.
  5. Let Them Play! Pets love to play, especially in piles of leaves. Ensure safe play by removing all sticks, debris and making sure the rake is put away. Also make sure to check your dog’s coat after play as leaf piles can be nesting environments for fleas and ticks.
  6. Dig It. If your dog is frequently digging up your favorite flowers, create a dog-friendly dig spot. Pick a spot and put a border around it using rocks or bricks. Then, fill with loose dirt or sand. Bury a few toys and bones here to introduce the area. Reward your pup with treats when they dig here.
  7. Plant Fall Color. Fountain grass, Giant aster, Globe thistle and yarrow are show stopping fall favorites for gardeners. But more importantly, they are also known to be safe for most pets. However, if a pet eats too much of anything they may experience a stomach ache. Be sure to always keep an eye on them when they’re outside.
  8. Safe Paws, Safe Pets. The chemicals used in many garden fertilizers and products aren’t safe for pets or people for that matter. Keep dogs’ paws safe, happy and healthy by opting for a 100 percent organic gardening program. Follow all label instructions and water thoroughly after applying fertilizers. Store these out of pets reach.

Do you hear that? It’s the distant, but unmistakable sound of your dog’s tail wagging! Congrats, your dog officially has the safest yard in the neighborhood.

Jaime Brunner, part of the fourth generation to join The Espoma Company, is an animal lover, dog owner and equestrian. To help keep pets safe in lawns and gardens, Espoma launched the Safe Paws initiative in the Spring of 2015. A family-owned business, Espoma has been the pioneer in organic gardening since 1929, developing products that work in harmony with nature, preserve natural resources and make a greener world for future generations. Espoma offers a complete selection of natural plant foods, lawn foods, control products, and potting mixes available nationwide. For additional information, visit www.espoma.com.

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