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15 Tips for Creating the Perfect Dog-Friendly Patio

Dog peaking over a fence



Even if your dog is a couch potato, it’s still important for your four-legged family member to spend some time outside. Your patio and backyard should be accessible and safe for your dog to be in so they can truly enjoy their time outdoors with you. Your pet should be able to live their life to the fullest without you having to worry about their lacking enrichment, or potentially getting into any danger. By putting the work into creating a dog-tailored outdoor space, you’ll both be happier in the long run when you’ll be able to equally enjoy it together.


Read the tips below to learn about how you can make your patio a dog-friendly oasis for your favourite pooch!



1. Provide Lots of Shade

Overheating can be a dangerous and potentially fatal problem for your dog to experience, so it’s important that your patio has plenty of shade available to protect them from the sun.


There are many options to choose from in terms of offering your dog relief from overhead rays. Patio umbrellas, retractable awnings, and setting up your relaxing areas under the protection of trees are all good choices. Of course, you can always pick out a dog house for your dog to retreat to as well.


Dog houses come in countless different styles, sizes, and colours depending on your personal preferences and your dog’s needs, and you can even make one yourself if you’re looking to get creative. Decide what works best for you and your dog, and don’t feel like you have to sacrifice style for the sake of comfort. Match your dog house to your backyard aesthetic by coordinating colours and material choices. Just make sure it’s something your dog will actually enjoy using.



2. Grow Dog-Safe Plants

Unfortunately, not all of the plants and flowers in your yard may be safe to have around your dog.


You can’t always guarantee that your dog won’t get into something, especially if you’re not paying attention for a minute or need to go back inside for even a moment. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so to avoid any unnecessary risks, opt for dog-safe plants. Or, at the very least, keep them well out of your dog’s reach in hanging baskets.


Plants That Are Dangerous to Dogs if Ingested:

  • Geraniums
  • Azaleas
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Hyacinth
  • Yew
  • Bleeding Heart
  • Foxglove
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Rhubarb
  • Virginia Creeper


Wisteria Plants That are Dog-Safe:

  • Oregano
  • Dill
  • Creeping thyme
  • Daylillies
  • Fuchsias
  • African daisies
  • Snapdragons
  • Camellias
  • Garden marigolds
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Sprouts
  • Pansies
  • Petunias
  • Sunflowers
  • Zinnias
  • Rosemary
  • Fennel
  • Polka-dot plant


3. Have a Designated ‘Play Zone’

Depending on your dog’s energy level, they may need a separate area to play in.


You probably don’t want your pup running around high-traffic areas and bouncing around your patio too much where they could potentially hurt themselves or cause damage to your deck and landscaping. Instead, section off an area in your yard that’s designated for doggy playtime.


Once you establish the perfect area for your dog to let their energy out, make sure you stick to that routine and re-enforce boundaries every time they’re outside with you. It will likely take some time and patience, but your patio will be better off for it in the long run.



4. Keep Your Pup Hydrated

Just like humans, dogs need to stay properly hydrated, especially when it’s hot out.


During the summer when temperatures get to an all-time high and the sun is out longer, it can be very easy for your dog to become dehydrated. To avoid this, make sure your dog has access to fresh drinking water at all times. Have a designated space for their water bowl and ensure that it’s refilled often and not left to sit out overnight where bugs and other animals can potentially get into it.


To prevent too much unnecessary mess, make sure the water bowl is out of the way of any heavy foot traffic, and add a water-resistant mat underneath it to catch any additional spillage.



5. Check Your Railings and Fences

Patios typically have railings and yards are usually surrounded by some sort of fencing, both of which should be looked at with a dog in mind if you want your pooch outdoors with you.


Many dogs can jump surprisingly high and far distances, so be mindful of your dog’s potential to scale these areas and potentially get out, which you will obviously want to avoid at all costs.


With that said, make sure your patio railings and fence are both tall enough if you want to keep your dog contained in certain areas of your yard and that they can’t easily get through them.



6. Add Protection From the Weather

Even if your dog likes the rain, you probably don’t want them smelling like wet dog if you can avoid it.




To offer your dog some protection from the elements, ensure their dog house is weather-proof, and consider an extendable awning or an attached pergola that they can retreat to if they don’t need to come inside but want to stay dry.



7. Think Carefully About Your Furniture Placement

Depending on the size of your dog, it can be easy for your dog to accidentally knock over furniture items if they’re not arranged with care.


A strong wagging tail or one happy leap out the door could easily topple a chair or side table. So similarly, to designating areas for your dog to play in, ‘zone’ your furniture so that your dog can easily avoid it when going from one spot to another when they’re outside with you.



8. Be on the Watch for Potential Predators

Even in suburban and city areas, predators (both animal and human) that could pose a threat to your dog are still a possibility to be mindful of.


Be particularly on the lookout if your area has coyote sightings, which can be dangerous if they cross paths with your dog. As well, there has been an increase in dognapping in some areas, so it’s best to protect your dog by having tall, secure fences around your backyard.


Small dogs specifically can also be in danger if faced with hawks, racoons, foxes, and bears. Along with having high, strong fences, don’t leave your dog alone outside for too long if you know you live in a location that is prone to having these animals stop by, and avoid putting out food that may attract these unwanted critters.



9. Keep Hazardous Items out of Reach

Our backyards typically serve multiple functions that include gardening, socializing, and barbecuing.


It’s important to keep your dog’s safety in mind when hosting and participating in these activities, however. Keep all gardening chemicals stored away, sharp cooking utensils out of reach, and avoid lighting candles where your dog may step on them or knock them over. As well, if you have a fire pit, there should be some sort of barrier around it to prevent your dog from accidentally getting burned.



10. Make Comfort a Priority

In order to keep your dog content and relaxed, look for ways to make them comfortable.


Below are Some Options to Consider:

  • Hanging dog chair Stylish and very adorable, a hanging dog chair is certainly going to be a delight to your dog and your guests. Both you and your dog can enjoy backyard comfort without sacrificing your design taste.
  • Outdoor dog bed Outdoor dog beds are a great option if you don’t want to bring your pup’s indoor bed outside. These can come in water-resistant and repellant varieties and tend to be more durable so they can withstand the outdoor elements.
  • Dog-friendly furniture Additionally, you can select your patio furniture with your dog in mind if you’re not bothered about them lounging on them as well. Just opt for choices that aren’t too delicate, can hold up to a dog jumping on and off them, and won’t get covered in hair.


11. Add Some Green

If your yard lacks some greenery, add some yourself. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but dogs typically like some grass to roll in, even if it’s just astroturf.



12. Include a Doggy Pool

Another way you can keep your dog cool in the summer months is by adding a small pool for them to splash in.



Dog standing in a pool


This could be as simple as a shallow kiddie pool, or a pool specifically designed for dogs. Either way, there are endless varieties available that can suit your backyard and dog’s needs.



13. Make Toys Available

Dogs can get bored, and often when they get bored they look for ways to entertain themselves.


This doesn’t always end well, since they can become destructive as a result. So don’t overlook your dog’s need for mental stimulation and exercise. Have a variety of toys available for them to choose from so you don’t have to worry about them chewing on something they’re not supposed to or digging up your garden.


To keep things tidy, have your dog’s toys kept in a wicker basket that’s kept out of the way when they’re not outside and put them away when they’re no longer playing with them.



14. Prevent Digging Under Fences and Barriers

Dogs can sometimes be sneaky when it comes to getting into mischief.


If your pooch is prone to digging, be sure to prevent this with your fences. You can bury chicken wire underneath the fence or place large rocks along the bottom edges. As well, if you own a small breed, repair any holes and block any fence gaps to prevent them from slipping through and escaping.



15. Keep the Bugs Away

Along with the typical backyard pests like mosquitos, ticks and fleas can also become a problem for your dog and you, specifically if they bring them into the house.


Keeping your grass regularly trimmed can be very helpful in keeping away ticks and fleas, along with using repellents such as beneficial nematodes in your backyard. To ward off unwanted mosquitos, eliminate any areas with unnecessary standing water like bird baths, and use non-toxic bug repellants like lemon balm.




Catering to your dog’s outdoor needs doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your style preferences or converting your patio into a solely dog-themed spot.


Integrating these small changes that make your pooch happy and comfortable will be beneficial for both of you, and your dog will thank you for it.




Steve Livock at 9:00 AM
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