Given the current stay-at-home climate, many of us find ourselves spending more time in our backyards than ever before. This is not a bad thing. With so many challenges demanding our attention this year, a low-key summer on our own turf could be just what the doctor ordered.
But as we’re kicking back, let’s not forget about our four-legged friends. If they’re also spending more time than usual in the yard, boredom and curiosity may drive them to get into things that could potentially be harmful.
Be especially wary of these “backyard hazards” this summer:
BBQ Grill. Grills hold several hazards. Of course, you don’t want your dog to get burned, which could happen if they jump up to pull the meat right off the grill. An even bigger concern, however, is the grease trap. Dogs are drawn to the delicious aroma of all that grease, but ingesting that much fat can cause a life-threatening disease called pancreatitis, which often requires hospitalization. Make sure you clean out your grease trap after every use. Also, keep an eye on the gas lines to make sure nobody’s been using them as a chew toy.
Kids Toys. If we’re hanging out in the yard more, and the dog is hanging out in the yard more, chances are our kids will be hanging out in the yard more, too. As dogs are known to eat almost anything, make sure the toys are safely put away after playtime.
Plants. For those of us who like to spend time in the garden with our dogs, being a conscious gardener means knowing what plants are toxic to our pets. The ASPCA has a complete list of plants to avoid for dogs, cats, and horses. A few popular plants in the Pacific Northwest to be wary of: foxglove, peony, garlic, rhubarb, tulips, and daffodils.
Fireworks. Many dogs, ours included, do not handle the firework noise with...let’s say “poise.” Those thunderous booms and repetitive loud bangs can cause nervous anxiety even in the toughest canine. Remember, it’s not just the big explosions that can spook pets. Small fireworks pack loud and surprising detonations as well, enough to induce run-and-hide behavior. Keep in mind that fireworks don’t only occur on the 4th of July. Check out these tips for keeping your dog safe from those loud noises year round.
Too much sun. Yes, dogs can get sunburned, too. Get them in the shade if you see them in the sun for too long.
Trash cans. Speaking of the sun, the baking heat of summer makes aromas in the trash bins come more alive than ever. Dogs can’t resist the ripe, rich smells. Always make sure you secure the lids on your trash and recycling.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. Appraise your own yard in terms of the hazards it could possibly present, so you can take steps to mitigate any damage. As we adjust to new routines and lifestyles, we need to be mindful about how it impacts our pets as well. Create a danger-free yard, and let that “outside room” be your happy place as we all get through this unprecedented summer together.