Dangers to Dogs That Could Be Lurking in Your Yard

Your dog lives for running around the yard chasing squirrels. But as Rover is protecting his turf from rodents, are you protecting him from potential backyard dangers? Learn what might be lurking in your yard that could harm a dog.

Swimming pools

Your Labrador retriever doggy paddles with the best of them, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore pool safety. If you have a swimming pool in your yard, practice similar pool safety with dogs as you would with children. Install a dog-proof fence around the pool area, teach your dog how to enter and exit the pool safely and always monitor her while she swims. “Even if your dog is a strong swimmer, he or she should never be left unattended in a yard with a pool,” according to PetMD.

Your fence

A Greater Swiss mountain dog puppy looks through a fence.

Wait a minute — we just touched on how fences keep dogs safe. So wouldn’t a fenced yard be the ideal setup? Yes, but with one major caveat: The fence has to work.

Some pet parents might have a false sense of security when they let their dogs out into a fenced yard. And that’s when things get dangerous. If you don’t regularly inspect your fence for dog-sized holes — and dog-sized tunnels underneath — you might assume your dog’s in the yard when he’s actually running loose through the neighborhood. “Depending on the breed of dog you have, you may want to dig at least six inches below the fencing and install a wire mesh under it to prevent tunneling,” Animal Behavior College suggests. “Padlocks are always the best choice for gates, as latches can be loosened by the wind or a strong dog.”

A lack of shade

A wide open space for your dog to exercise is great, but in warm weather heat stroke is a real concern (as is hypothermia in cold weather). “Make sure to give your pup plenty of breaks in the shade, access to fresh water and the ability to go inside if he needs it,” PetMD recommends. If you’re lacking adequate shade, plant some trees or bushes, or invest in a doghouse or patio cover. Plus, know your dog’s heat tolerance and the symptoms of overheating, and always monitor him while he’s outside.

Pests

You likely already know fleas, ticks and other pests pose dangers to your dog, and it’s almost inevitable you’ll find them in your yard. But some aspects of your property might be a little too inviting for them.

Fleas prefer dark, humid areas, such as under decks and in sheds, but you can work to deter them from taking up residence. “Sweep off patios, clean under your deck and remove debris from outdoor structures to prevent fleas from congregating in your yard,” PetMD suggests. Ticks like to hide on tall grasses and branches, so mow your lawn and remove debris regularly to help limit your dog’s contact with them. Flea and tick treatment may fail, so always check your dog for any pest hitching a ride.

Lawn chemicals

In an eternal obsession to have the greenest grass on the block, many people apply an array of lawn chemicals that could be extremely harmful to pets. Even if your dog doesn’t eat anything while he’s in a treated yard, he’ll still get the chemicals on his paws, which he’ll almost certainly lick later. “The safest plan is to rid your lawn of weeds the old-fashioned way — by digging them out of the ground,” according to the American Kennel Club.

But if you must treat your lawn, try to use the most natural products you can. Always read the label (don’t fall for greenwashing), and follow guidelines when it comes to pet safety. Keep animals away from treated areas, and be aware of any products your neighbors are applying to their lawns that might sneak into your yard.

Plants and mulch

A Labrador retriever puppy sits in front of red and white flowers.

Most dog owners are probably aware that certain plants are toxic to their canine friends. The ASPCA’s plant list is a great resource if you ever have any doubts. But even if you’re certain you’ve only incorporated dog-safe plants in your garden, it’s possible unsafe species from neighboring yards have made their way into your space. So it’s always smart to check what you have growing each season.

And don’t forget to consider what’s under your greenery. Mulch poses huge risks to dogs who just can’t keep it out of their mouths. Not only is it a choking hazard, but some mulch contains toxic dyes. “The dyes used to color your mulch those vibrant hues of red or cocoa brown can potentially be very hazardous for your dog,” according to the American Kennel Club. “For instance, that chocolate-colored mulch actually contains cocoa bean, which has a compound that can be toxic to animals.”

Main image credit: alexei_tm/Thinkstock

276 comments

Peggy B
Peggy B29 days ago

TYFS

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hELEN h
hELEN h1 months ago

tyfs

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Renata B
Renata B2 months ago

Our dog visit our garden only twice a day and for very short times: he goes to check and comes back asking to come in. We take him to the park to run and meet friends. Our garden is as safe as possible because we want to make it safe for wildlife: from foxes and hedgehogs to birds and rodents (although these last ones in particular are not safe when the fox visits alas).

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Chad A
Chad A2 months ago

Thank you.

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Stanley S
Stanley S2 months ago

tyfs

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Richard A
Richard A2 months ago

Thank you for this article.

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Julia S
Julia S2 months ago

Thank you!

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Greta L
Greta L2 months ago

thanks

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Diane E
Diane E2 months ago

Good advice. And remember that ticks can carry diseases that can also harm humans.

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Edo R
Edo R2 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

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