Love is a four-letter word, and for dog owners, your four-legged friend is your forever love. Making a comfortable home for your beloved pup includes providing a nice place to play and explore. No matter how big or small your backyard, you can create a dog-friendly haven that is engaging, cozy and safe.

Dog-friendly backyardFencing

A fenced-in yard is an excellent way to assure your pet’s safety from wolves and coyotes, as well as stray dogs (and cats) in the neighborhood. Depending on how big the animal is, chain-link fences are effective. If you choose picket or board fencing, be sure your curious pup can’t get stuck between the planks or holes. With a wooden fence — and if your dog isn’t prone to rambunctious behavior and needless barking — you can install a glass or plexiglass window. It’s a great big dog-friendly world out there! 

Water, Water, Everywhere!

Fresh drinking water is essential and should be readily available in bowls around the yard, especially in the summertime. You can dress up the backyard with water fountains and splash pools— dogs love them! You’ll find shallow and portable dog pools in various sizes for sale at pet stores and online.

Kiddie pools work too, but they’re made of a thinner plastic that tends to break under a lot of weight. Dog-friendly pools are constructed with more durable materials.

In fact, if you have a swimming pool in your backyard for people, it’s not a good idea to let your dog swim in it. The American Kennel Club warns that dogs may suffer reactions to pool chlorine since their ears and eyes are more sensitive than ours. Dogs with floppy ears can also get an ear infection.If a little chlorine can irritate your dog, imagine what a chlorine tablet can do. Make sure to store all pool chemicals safely out of your pooch’s reach.

Lawn Care

Dog-friendly backyard

Next, a healthy dog is a happy dog, and whether you tend to the yard with synthetic or organic materials, it’s important to choose dog-friendly products. Lawn chemicalsare poisonous; they can sicken your pup – or worse. Plants, fertilizers, and pesticides must be carefully administered and monitored. Protect your dog from all chemicals – keep synthetics in a well-secured box. Since dogs love to dig in the dirt, why not give them their own plot of soil? However, make sure it’s not the soil you’ve just treated to get your lawn and plants to grow! Some of the fertilizer or chemicals you use to raise the PH level could be poisonous. Fill your vegetable and flower beds with dog-friendly herbs like fennel, dill, basil, and rosemary. Flowers that can be toxic to dogs include lilies, mums and azaleas. The ASPCA has a long list of plants poisonous to pets.

Shade and Shelter

Like humans, dogs burn from the sun too! This means, hot days with the sun blazing down is as hard on pups than it is on the rest of us. Large shade trees are best, but if you don’t have any in your backyard, build a doghouse or lay tarpaulins over an in-ground structure.


Finally, dogs can get sore feet, especially on hot pavement. Your pup will be running through soft grass, but also on concrete, brick, pebbles, and rocks, asphalt, or whatever you have in the backyard. Mulch and small bark chips are dog-friendly, and they don’t get too hot. Artificial turf is a possibility, but it can be a bit hot and scratchy on tender paws.

In conclusion,without physical activity or something to look at, animals can be bored. Laying around all day long with nothing to do makes your dog lazy, and he or she won’t burn calories as needed. Dogs are curious; they need challenges to keep healthy in mind and body. A yard full of toys is a plus, and when you join the game, that’s all the better. These are all the keys on how to create a dog-friendly backyard!

Written by Annaliese Olson

Annaliese Olson is a gardening and animal care writer. When she moved to the city from her family’s farm she decided she needed more nature in her life. She is dedicated to urban farming, she loves to creatively discover spaces for her animals and plants to blossom in her city home.