There's so much to consider when you bring home a new dog. And one of the most important aspects of dog ownership is a safe yard for them to run around in.
Ensure your fence is in good condition and there are no loose planks or holes where your dog can escape from. Equally, rotten or soft wood is easy for sharp teeth to chew through - so check your fencing right around the yard to make sure there are no weak 'escape' points. And if you have a gate that swings open easily, it's always a good idea to put a large brick in front of it. Curious pups can worm their way through gaps smaller than you think, so safeguarding the perimeter of your yard is always the best option.
Plant and chemical no-noes
Unfortunately some of the plants we like to have in our gardens are no good for dogs. In fact, many are downright dangerous and potentially deadly, even when ingested in small amounts. The most important ones to note are any members of the lily and bulb families; azaleas; rhododendron and oleander. Some fruit trees can cause severe gastrointestinal upsets but it's the humble avocado tree and its fruit that is the most toxic to dogs and should be avoided. For a full list of plants that are harmful to dogs, checkout the links at rspca.org.au
Fertilisers, weed killers, pesticides and insect baits should never be left lying around. So too for barbecue fuels, including lighter fluids, charcoal and matches. Make sure everything is stored securely, away from curious creatures!
Your Dog's home
A dog's kennel is his castle and when it comes to creating the perfect home for him, location is everything. It needs to be shaded and cool in summer and well protected from rain and wind during winter. Make sure the kennel has a well-insulated floor, so he or she is not sleeping on the ground. A raised floor is even better meaning that there's no chance of dampness seeping through to make him cold and miserable. When it comes to kennel size, bigger isn't necessarily better. Ensure that your dog can stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably. When you're choosing a kennel for a puppy, buy it for how large he is going to be and then block off part of it until he's fully grown. Give him plenty of comfy bedding to lie on - old blankets and jumpers work wonders and line the kennel first with some durable plastic sheeting. This way, your dog will stay warm, dry and comfortable, whenever he's hanging out at home!
Dogs physical and mental wellbeing
There should always be a full bowl of fresh, cool water available for your dog. In fact two bowls are a good idea, so on hot days he'll always have something to drink. Wash the bowl regularly and always put it in the shade. And to keep your pooch occupied, keep a variety of weather-friendly toys outside. It'll stop him chewing on things he shouldn't or digging up your precious garden! All of these things will help keep your dog happy, safe and healthy when he's out in the garden.