Begin with your fences. Make sure that there is no way that your dog can escape by tunneling under or through a broken area of the fence. Make sure that your gates have locks and get into the habit of locking gates after every use. If you have a gardener, make sure that he understands the dangers of leaving a gate open for even a minute. Are your walls and fences high enough to thwart even the best four-legged escape artist? You might have to add a height extension to the top of your fence.
Can our dog fit under the wrought iron fence? You might have to reinforce it with chicken wire or heavier gauge fencing.
• Plants are the next major concern. Go onto our link for the toxic and non-toxic plants from the ASPCA. Download it and take it with you when you go shopping for plants.
• Be careful about using pesticides and chemicals to get rid of snails. These can be highly poisonous and are always unsafe to use in areas where your dog might be.
• Be careful about fertilizers and mulch. Avoid any potting soil or soil conditioner with cocoa in it.
• You should check at least twice a day for mushrooms, toadstools, and other types of fungi, especially in the mornings or after a rainstorm.
• Foxtails should be removed immediately before they dry out. These irritating plants can get into your dog’s nose, mouth, eyes, and ears. It is a common, but expensive, painful and uncomfortable procedure to remove them, and they must be removed.
• If you are planting vegetables and are going to water frequently, remember that this could encourage mushroom growth. You might want to fence off your vegetable garden to keep your dog out of it.
• Check for debris that people might toss over into your yard or that birds might drop in it. These include cigarette butts, small toys such as balls, bottle caps, and bits of glass and plastic.
© Bruce Malter, PawPassion.org