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Backyard Pet Safety Guide

By Stacy Painter
published: May 6, 2020 - updated: April 19, 2023 • 2 min. read
two dogs playing in backyard

With the weather warming up, many of us find ourselves (and our pets) spending more time outside. Whether you’re embarking on a new gardening project or merely lounging in the yard to enjoy the warm sunshine, there are several precautions pet parents should be aware of to ensure pets stay safe while enjoying the outdoors.

Keep your pet safe outside

Don’t leave small pets outside unsupervised – Depending on where you live, predatory wildlife like coyotes, hawks, eagles, and bobcats could pose a serious threat. Be aware of the risks in your area and be sure someone can monitor your small pet while they explore the yard.

Check for holes in the fence – Now is a great time to patch up any potential escape routes to make sure you can safely contain your pet to your yard. Read on about the best fences for your yard.

Keep them cool – Always provide plenty of water on warm days, and make sure your pet has access to a shaded area to prevent overheating and heatstroke.

Practice sun safety – Pets with less fur or light-colored fur need protection from the sun to prevent sunburn and skin cancer. Purchase pet-friendly sunscreen or limit your pet’s time outside on sunny days.

Protect your pet

Make sure your garden isn’t poisonous to pets

Some typical gardening supplies and plants are toxic to dogs and cats. Avoid using these to maintain a safe, pet-friendly yard.

gray cat walking through grass
  • Cocoa mulch – It’s common knowledge that chocolate is toxic to pets. Just like chocolate, cocoa bean mulch contains theobromine and caffeine, which are poisonous to dogs.
  • Fertilizer – Eating fertilizer or licking it off their paws can cause your dog or outdoor cat to become ill, so it’s best to keep pets off recently fertilized lawns.
  • Slug bait – Metaldehyde is a common ingredient found in slug bait and is highly toxic to pets if ingested. Opt for pet-friendly alternatives, like diatomaceous earth, or planting lavender, mint, or rosemary to deter slugs and snails.
  • Lilies – All parts of lily plants are highly toxic to cats if ingested. Learn more about lily toxicity and cats.
  • Sago palm – Sago palm trees are ornamental plants, but all parts of this plant are poisonous to animals. Learn more about the dangers of sago palm.
  • Toxic plants – Find a longer list and more information about other harmful plants

Creating a pet-friendly garden

There are many pet-safe fruits and vegetables that you can include in your garden to create a safe and welcoming oasis for your dog or cat in your backyard. These are the fruits and vegetables you can include.

For further reading, check out these springtime dangers for pets to keep in mind.

Even when we do our best to prevent an accident, sometimes pets can still get themselves into trouble and need an emergency trip to the vet. Make sure your pet is covered with a pet insurance plan for these unexpected events. Start by getting a quote today.

Stacy Painter profile
By Stacy Painter

Stacy has always been an animal lover and has worked in the pet industry and pet insurance specifically for over a decade. As a writer since early childhood, content writing for Healthy Paws pet insurance was a natural career path to combine her two passions. She currently lives in Florida with her boyfriend and Taiwanese rescue dog, Kaya.

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