The ASPCA estimates that 78 million dogs are owned in the United States and that about 44% of all households have a dog. TurfMutt – the official spokes dog for the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s environmental education program for students grades K-5–wants to remind homeowners to plan a yard for their family and pet’s play, health and safety.
TurfMutt’s tips for a pet-friendly family yard
1. Consider your pet’s needs.
Dogs love being in your family yard. Most pets need a place to romp and exercise, relax in the shade for an afternoon nap and take bathroom breaks. Your yard should have a fence to keep your dog safely secured.
2. Look for “dog-proof” ground coverings.
Grass is one of the best options for your yard because it can handle the wear and tear that comes with pets and children. Bermuda and buffalo grass are especially hardy. Check your climate zone to select the best option for your area.
3. Avoid plastic grass.
Plastic grass, also known as artificial turf, gets too hot for humans and pets, especially in summer months. A Brigham Young University study revealed that synthetic-turf surface temperatures were 37° higher than asphalt and 86° hotter than natural turf. That’s too hot for pet’s paws and our bare feet to enjoy the outdoors!
4. Select plants for your climate zone and your pet.
Be sure to check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic garden plants before choosing flora and fauna. For areas near garden paths, select plants that have soft foliage, but are still sturdy enough to withstand a little canine “ruff-housing.” Save delicate flowering plants for patio containers when dogs are in the picture.
5. Plant for pollinators for other wildlife.
Fido isn’t the only one who uses your family yard. Keep pollinators (bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds) and other wildlife in mind when selecting climate-appropriate plants, trees, and shrubs. Remember, nature starts in your backyard!
To learn more about how the family yard benefits people and pets and for more tips on taking care of your living landscapes, visit here.