Make Your Backyard Dog-Friendly this Winter

While the Lower Mainland experiences somewhat milder winters, we still have to deal with freezing temperatures, lots of rain, and even some snow. If you have pets, it’s very important that your backyard is as pet-friendly as possible. Especially if your dog is a cold weather warrior (the kind that wants to be outside all the time), winterizing your yard will keep them safe throughout the season.

Rake the Lawn

Rake the lawn to remove any leftover autumn leaves, twigs, and other debris that have settled on the ground. When water or moisture clings to organic materials, it can freeze as the temperature drops, creating a slippery surface that might be dangerous for pets.

Inspect the Gutters and Downspouts

To make sure there are no leaks, inspect the gutters and downspouts. An overflowing gutter system can leave icy patches on the ground.  Pooling water beneath the downspouts is an accident waiting to happen. If icicles do form on the eaves, carefully knock them down to prevent them from falling on any pet that happens to be directly in the path of a frozen spear.

Decorating for the Holidays

Dogs are naturally curious. Just like indoors, pets have to check out anything new “invading” their territory. The same goes for the backyard. When adding holiday cheer, ensure all decorations are dog-friendly, can’t be easily tipped over, and are securely fastened.

Check the Fence

Check fences for holes or weak spots that allow exit and/or entry. Also look for posts that are leaning, loose, or damaged. You don’t want your pooch to come into contact with splintered wood. Secure gates; inspect hardware for damage, including rust.

In from the Cold

Pets might need to stay out for a while. Or they just prefer outside to indoors. If your pets spend a lot of time outdoors, provide some type of shelter where they can warm up a little. This could be an accessible corner of the garage, a small shed, porch, or carport. If you want to build a freestanding shelter (not a dog house), it should be anchored firmly to the ground, have a sloped roof, and include an outdoor dog bed or dog mat.

Insulate the Dog House

If your backyard does have a dog house Fido likes to use often and it’s never been insulated, perhaps now is the time. To be really effective before insulating Fido’s outdoors home, ensure the floor of the structure is a minimum of four inches off the ground. For additional insulation during the winter months throw down several layers of straw.

Don’t Leave Home

In really cold, windy, or heavy rainy weather never leave them outside for long periods of time. Don’t leave home without bringing your pooch inside. Even with access to some kind of shelter, pets shouldn’t be outside unsupervised for too long.

Antifreeze Woes

Antifreeze is a deadly poison and even the smallest amount can be fatal for pets. Because of its sweet taste, it is attractive to animals and even small children. Immediately wipe up spills and store it out of reach. Eco-friendly products, such as proylene glycol antifreeze is a non-toxic version of antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol.

Build or Buy a Shed

If there’s no room in the garage, build or buy a shed to store chemicals, fertilizers, and cleaning supplies that could be toxic for your pet. You will want to keep anything Fido can get into or “investigate” safely locked away.