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Planning a Pooch-Friendly Paradise

a dog at a local public poolBy Melanie Rekola

Just because you want a safe play sanctuary for man’s best friend to frolic in doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your dreams of having a beautiful backyard oasis. A mutually fulfilling retreat lies in wait! By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating a backyard heaven that can keep both you and your hound comfortable and content.

The Gardens

Woody plants are a dog owner’s best ally, as most are tough enough to stand a bit of bashing, plus their structure is substantial enough to deter even the liveliest of canines. Trees in particular have great importance, since they create the necessary shade crucial for all types of pets. If you have a male dog, evergreens must be protected by a barrier, such as placing deciduous plants at their base, otherwise your cedars may end up with brown patches or die altogether. Dog urine is especially destructive to all evergreens, while deciduous plant materials are more tolerant of uric acid.

To guard perennials from being trod upon, areas containing more delicate plant materials should be elevated and retained. Potted plant materials are usually safe—just be sure to choose containers that are large and heavy enough to stand alone or group together for added protection. By selecting trees, shrubs, and perennials native to your area, you’ll be assured of their hardiness and best chance of survival. Plus, the need for supplemental fertilizing or pest control will be very likely unnecessary.

You need not sacrifice beauty by opting for native plants; many gorgeous varieties are available in today’s marketplace. Pick large vegetation without thorns that is native to your location whenever possible and remember to plant densely. Be very cautious if you plan on growing toxic plants and contact your local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for more information to protect against accidental poisoning.

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Wet down the spots where your canine goes to the bathroom to guard against yellow patches.

The Lawn and Pet Messes

There is no question—dogs are hard on lawns. However, by selecting tough perennial rye grasses and fescues, your turf will have the best chance for a happy existence. To protect against those ugly yellow patches of lawn burn, hose down the spot after your canine goes to the bathroom or at least dump a bucket of water there within eight hours of contact. As well, by feeding your dog high-quality food and encouraging it to consume more water, your pet’s waste won’t be as strong or as damaging. You can also teach your pal to use a less noticeable bathroom area by moving its feces to the desired place. Remember to praise wildly when they eventually use this space as was intended. Pets are like children—positive reinforcement often outranks corrective disciplinary measures.

Consider as well the ‘Bones and Raw Food Diet,’ otherwise known as BARF. This diet is said to have many health benefits, such as improved skin and coats, reduced body odour, and healthier bones and joints. However, the most amazing thing about this diet is it also results in less odorous and smaller stools that will turn white and biodegrade into your lawn in a matter of days! Check with your local vet for details.

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