With summer around the corner, we wanted to share some of our best tips and resources for prepping your yard to be dog friendly. A few weeks ago, we spoke with sitter on Rover Sylvia Wes, who said this slower period is the perfect time to get your home ready for future clients’ pets, and we happen to agree. If you haven’t read her recommendations for sitters on Rover during COVID-19, you can read her letter here. In the meantime, we’ve put together some great yard tips.
Let’s get to it.
1. Tidy Up
Perhaps the most basic, albeit important, tip we have is to take steps toward a lush, grassy lawn by tidying up. Your clients’ pups and your own bare feet with thank you. If you’re an active sitter on Rover, the wear and tear of endless dogs likely impacts your yard. Tidying up your yard will ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.
Our backyards and front lawns go through a lot in the winter, enduring storms and cold temperatures. Raking your lawn, cleaning up flower beds, and removing piles of yard debris, such as fallen branches and dead leaves, will help you assess what’s safe for dogs and what’s not.
In addition to raking your yard of leaves in fall, it’s important to rake your grass in the spring. Even if you removed the majority of fallen debris, raking the dead grass from winter promotes new growth and keeps those old blades from turning to thatch. Another reason to rake your grass in the spring is to freshen up matted areas, which would otherwise make it hard for new grass to grow.
Something as straightforward as tidying will make a huge difference for both you and your clients.
2. Grow Pet-Safe Plants
While doing research for our guide to poisonous plants to dogs and cats, we realized how many plants are actually harmful to pets. And we aren’t alone! According to our survey*, 62% of pet parents said they didn’t realize lilies are poisonous to dogs, despite lilies being the number one offender for making dogs sick (according to Pet Poison Helpline). Turns out, lilies are poisonous to cats as well.
3. Neutralize Odors and Designate a Potty Zone
If you have dogs of your own or typically watch a lot of dogs on Rover, your yard might serve as both a play area and a relief spot. There are a couple great ways to get the old pee smell out of your grass.
- Water! While probably obvious, water is one of the best ways to wash away the pee smell. If you have concrete in your yard, it’s important to wash the pee away as soon as possible. Concrete is porous and can retain the smell of urine more easily than grass.
- Enzymatic cleaning products: These cleaners are a go-to for many pet parents. Enzymatic cleaning products use “good bacteria” to break down the smell of urine. Here are a few of our favorites.
To make this easier in the future, it can be helpful to designate a potty zone so that you know exactly where to stay on top of.
4. Deter Potential Digging
Not all dogs dig, but the ones that do can quickly turn your lush lawn into a ravaged destruction zone. There are plenty of ways to train your dog to not dig, but here are a few preventative ideas for digging hot spots in your yard:
- Partially bury flat rocks.
- Bury plastic chicken wire.
- Citrus peels, cayenne pepper, or vinegar may wrinkle their nose.
- Set up a motion sensor sprinkler.
- Rose bushes and thorny shrubs can make great borders.
- Create dog-friendly garden fencing.
5. Set Up a Pup Oasis
If you feel like getting playful and really taking your dog-friendly yard up a notch, we have a few recommendations. Setting up a kiddie pool for them to splash around in is both a fun activity and helpful safety measure to keep them cool in the summer. Sprinklers are great for this too! Dogs will definitely appreciate a shady spot, which you can create using a simple pop-up tent, if you don’t have natural shade. Most importantly, make sure you have a big dog bowl full of water to keep them refreshed.
More Seasonal Tips
*A 2020 survey of 2,000 dog owners in the US by CivicScience