How To Puppy Proof Your Backyard

I think most people would agree that puppies are a lot of fun and bring life, excitement, and energy into any household. That’s especially true when your household has children, but, no matter the situation at home, a new puppy can make things significantly more lively. 

However, like a young child, a puppy will occasionally do something destructive, wrong, or otherwise unacceptable. Urinating and defecating on the floor, for example, is a problem all new puppy parents will deal with at least several times. 

Chewing up pair of new shoes or the arm of your sofa? Yep, puppies will sometimes do things like that also, which I think we all can admit isn’t a fun experience for anyone. (Maybe for the puppy, but still.)

If you have a backyard and let your puppy play outdoors, the same thing holds true. Your precious pupper will dig, root around, and tear stuff up if left to their own devices. Puppies digging up your yard can be infuriating, but it can also be dangerous. That’s because several plants in the typical yard can be very harmful and toxic to your puppy. 

Plants aren’t the only thing that can hurt your pup when they’re in the backyard. Other animals, including dogs, cougars, bears, coyotes, raccoons, cane toads, and more, pose a serious risk for your precious puppy in your backyard. Then you have things like twigs, pine cones, garbage, and other junk or debris, which can cause a choking hazard for a small-ish pup. 

I was thinking about this the other day when one of my neighbors chased away a coyote hanging around in her backyard. (She doesn’t have a puppy, but still!) That alarming incident got me thinking about a question I hear from readers all the time, namely, how to puppy proof your backyard? 

The answer is that there are many different things you can do to make your backyard safer for your precious puppy. In fact, to puppy-proof your backyard well, it would likely take most homeowners a weekend’s worth of tasks. 

In other words, no one thing will puppy-proof your backyard but, instead, a series of tasks that need to be done to ensure they’re safe when romping around. Even if you plan to keep your puppy inside most of the time, the risk that they occasionally slip outside through an open door is real, which means the need for puppy-proofing your backyard is real also.

To find out more about how to puppy-proof your backyard, I’ve done the research for you and assembled some of the more essential tasks below. It will ensure that, whenever they’re outside, your furry little buddy will be safe and sound. If that sounds like the information you’re searching for today, read on.

Puppy Proofing your Lawn

Your lawn might not seem like a place where your puppy can get hurt, but, in fact, it can hide a lot of dangers. They include snakes, ticks, cane toads (very toxic!), and several poisonous spider species. 

Plus, if you’re fond of having it stay pristine and well-groomed, you don’t want your puppy out there tearing up your lawn. Below are a few excellent suggestions and methods you can use to puppy-proof your lawn, keep your pup safe and ensure your grass always looks great.

  1. Keep your grass as low as possible by mowing it regularly. Low grass is especially vital in spring and summer, when grass tends to grow very quickly.
  2. If your lawn is under trees, it’s essential that you rake it often to remove nuts, pine cones, poisonous berries, seeds, twigs, and other small debris. These can all cause a choking hazard and, in the case of poisonous berries, put your puppy in great peril. 
  3. Remove any plants that are toxic to puppies and dogs. Here’s the thing; if you like a certain plant species, but it’s toxic for dogs, you have two choices. The first is to put up a fence or barrier around it, and the second is to remove it. 

Either way, you want to make it so that your puppy can’t accidentally eat the plant and get sick (or worse). Below are some of the worst plants for puppies:

  • Carnations
  • Shamrocks
  • Hydrangea
  • Geraniums
  • Tulips
  • Ivy
  • Daisies
  • Apple trees (Apple seeds are very toxic.)
  • Wisteria
  • Oleanders
  • Toxic mushrooms
  • Rhododendrons

Puppy Proofing Fences 

When it comes to puppy-proofing fences, no matter the fence you use, it needs to be sturdy. The thing is, puppies are relentless and even more so as they get bigger. If you put up a lightweight, low-quality fence, the chance your puppy will somehow get over, through, or under it is significantly higher.

Your fence should, for example, be high enough your puppy can’t climb or jump over it. Also, remember that, as puppies grow and get larger and stronger, your puppy will be able to jump much higher. If you get a fence that prevents them from jumping over it today, there’s no guarantee it will prevent them from jumping over tomorrow unless it’s high enough.

You also need to ensure there are no gaps wide enough in the fence that your puppy can squeeze through them. Again, puppies are relentless. If they find a gap that they can fit through, even barely, you can rest assured that they will do their best to get through it. Speaking of which, it’s also a very good idea to check the gate latches regularly to make sure that they’re working well and firmly attached.

Lastly, if you have any type of pond, pool, or other body of water in your yard, it should be fenced off so that there’s no way your puppy can reach the water. Not only is there a drowning risk, but cane toads love water, and if your dog happens to see one and try to give it a taste, they could get quite sick.

Puppy Proofing Outdoor Furniture 

When it comes to outdoor furniture, one of the best ways to puppy-proof it is to stay outside when your puppy is outside. Not only is this safer for your furniture, but it’s all so much safer for your puppy and will ensure that they don’t get into any sort of trouble or hazardous situations.

If you worry your puppy will chew up your furniture, invest in chew-proof metal furniture. Also, take the cushions from your outdoor furniture and put them somewhere your puppy can’t get to them whenever you are not using them.

You can also purchase different sprays that will deter your puppy from chewing, sitting on, or otherwise interacting with your outdoor furniture. Most of these sprays have odors that you won’t be able to smell, but your puppy definitely will. (You can use the same spray on anything you want to protect from your puppy’s sharp teeth.)

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned at the start of this blog, how to puppy proof your backyard consists of several different tasks. Getting rid of toxic plants, putting up sturdy fencing, and protecting your outdoor furniture are essential. They will keep your backyard in good condition and protect your puppy from itself, preventing them from getting into trouble or eating something that hurts them.

I hope today’s blog was entertaining, interesting, and very helpful. If you have more questions on how to puppy-proof something, please see my other blogs. I have quite a few of them covering the gamut of subjects relating to raising a puppy and being a fantastic puppy parent.