When you got your dog, you probably went through a process to enclose your yard as much as possible to keep your dog from running away. While this is certainly a positive thing to do, it is also important to monitor your yard for changes that could potentially result in harm to your pet. There are several things to specifically look for, but it is a good idea to walk around in your yard every few days looking for any changes that may have risks associated with them. Dogs are curious and will interact with nearly everything in their environment, especially if they view it as an intruder into their space. Here are a few things to scan your yard for regularly:
1. New plants. Recently “The Rock” Johnson made news when he found that his French Bulldog had been poisoned and died. Upon scanning the area where his dog was allowed to run free, he found that his dog had eaten poisonous mushrooms which had grown. Animals cannot tell which types of plants are poisonous and which are not, and many times if they find a plant that was not there previously they will eat parts of it. Mushrooms are quite dangerous in that they grow quite quickly and have many poisonous variations. A mushroom can grow quite large in less than 48 hours, so when you scan your yard keep in mind to watch for strange growth of mushrooms in shaded areas. In addition to mushrooms, many plants have flowers and leaves which can be poisonous to dogs. When planting anything in the same space that your dog will occupy, always remember to research if it is poisonous to animals. Even though it may seem out of the ordinary that your dog would eat these plants for any reason, always assume that your dog will eat anything in the yard.
2. Fertilizer. When landscaping and gardening are being done, many times people will use fertilizer to strengthen their plants. Many of these fertilizers are poisonous to dogs and many can cause severe vomiting, seizures, and other health problems. Dogs are quite attracted to the smell, and will many times go as far as to rip open sealed bags to eat the fertilizer. Always store fertilizers away from your dog’s reach, and water them into the ground after they are applied.
3. Insects. You may not see any insects in your yard while you are walking around, but they are there. Keep a close eye out for increasing activity from ants, wasps, scorpions, spiders, and cockroaches. Always maintain a pest service that uses safe chemicals to reduce the insect population, and therefore reduce the amounts of dangerous insects that prey on these other insects. Also remember that insects will eat dog poop, so clean up after your dog as often as possible. It is nearly impossible to eliminate the insect population in your yard, but keeping down the things that attract them can help. If your dog is bitten or stung seek veterinary help immediately.
4. Signs of attempted escape. Your dog will attempt to escape, especially around mating times. Even if the yard is fenced, look for areas around fences where your dog may be showing interest or digging, as there is a good chance that they are targeting that area as a way out of the yard. If you notice signs of attempted escape, immediately create a barrier that the dog cannot get through, as they will continue to attempt to dig under or go over any fenced areas that they perceive as weak.
By keeping an eye on changes in your yard, you will be able to potentially head off unsafe elements before they become a problem. It is best to never have the situation occur by preventing it, instead of dealing with sickness or injury that could have been prevented.