By Kristin McEvoy
When it comes to pets, most people don’t think of them as mere animals—they are truly members of the family, who naturally want to spend many hours in the backyard along with their two-legged companions. However, as with any family member, it is important to make their experiences as safe as possible.
Whether your pet usually spends time outside supervised or alone, a securely fenced yard is a good start to keeping them safe. Remember, however, that even within the confines of a securely fenced area, potential dangers could be lurking in all corners of the backyard. Pets tend to be curious by nature, so it’s important to be informed of the potential risks they face and take the necessary steps to avoid an unfortunate incident.
Watch the Water
A quick dip in the pool shouldn’t harm your pet. However, if your dog does go for a swim, it is always a good idea to rinse the chlorinated water off of their coat after they’ve finished their laps. Also remember to keep a bowl of fresh water nearby, so your pet won’t be tempted to drink the pool water. Keep in mind, too, that not all dogs are natural swimmers. Consult with your veterinarian and consider purchasing a doggy life jacket if you own a breed that cannot swim (e.g. a pug or bulldog).
If you use a cover or solar blanket for your pool, be sure to be vigilant when your pet is playing near it; any animal that falls into a covered pool could become tangled in the cover and drown. A secondary fence around the perimeter of the pool area could help prevent a potential tragedy. If you choose this added layer of security, be sure your pet is not able to squeeze under the fence or through the gate. Also ensure any entrances to the fenced-off area are locked; many pets are capable of pushing unsecured doors open with their nose.
Curious pets may also be attracted to backyard ponds or water features, especially if they are stocked with fish or attract other wildlife, such as local birds. Consider placing unsteady rocks around the edge of the pond to keep pets from getting too close to the water’s edge. Lower water levels may also discourage inquisitive pets from the pond area, while also presenting less of a drowning hazard.