Bow WOW! 6 Tips For A Dog-Friendly Yard

Your four-legged friend is a member of the family. To keep him happy and healthy, he needs plenty of exercise. But at the same time, you want to provide a place for your furry friend to frolic where you don't have to worry about passing cars, aggressive dogs and other dangers. Find out how to create a dog-friendly yard that you'll both enjoy below.

1. Put up a fence.

Fence installation is the first step to creating safe and dog-friendly outdoor space. How tall your fence needs to be depends on the size of your dog. In addition to your own dog's height and jumping abilities, you should also take into account the size of other nearby dogs, especially if their owners let them roam the neighborhood. Not a fan of the closed-in look of a fence? Have a landscaper install shrubbery or climbing vines along the fence wall to give it a more natural look.

2. Provide a shaded area for cooling off.

Too much sun isn't good for anyone, including your pup. Light-skinned dogs are especially prone to sun irritation, but all dogs can get sunburns. This results in flaky, itchy skin that will have Fido scratching for days.

A tree is an attractive shading option, but if you have limited yard space, you can still create a cool haven for your dog. Invest in a doghouse if your pup spends a lot of time outside. For something more decorative, put up a pavilion or gazebo in the yard, and cover the posts with climbing vines.

3. Offer your dog plenty of fresh, clean water.

Staying hydrated is essential to your dog's health. In fact, dogs need somewhere between 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds of body weight each day. Romping around and running outdoors can cause your dog to work up quite a thirst. A large, easy-to-clean dog bowl full of fresh water will hit the spot, keeping him hydrated and happy. Stainless steel bowls stand up well to all sorts of weather conditions. Alternatively, you can find some bowls that can be attached to the fence to prevent your dog (or the wind) from carrying them off.

4. Use a playpen for small dogs.

Some small dogs are frightened by wide-open spaces. If your yard is too large for your small dog to be comfortable, invest in a doggy playpen. Most are made of mesh, but this won't keep champion chewers inside. For large dogs or dogs that chew a lot, build a kennel out of fencing materials. This will let your pooch enjoy the outdoors without the fear of straying too far from you. This is also a great option if you can't afford a fence around your entire yard right away.

5. Create a digging space.

Eventually, most dogs get curious and try to dig around in the yard. If you want to keep your grass intact, give your dog a space where he can dig to his heart's content! Use mulch or sand to help your dog differentiate the digging area from the rest of your yard. Replace as necessary to keep your dog from expanding his digging territory.

6. Provide sturdy dog toys or activities.

In addition to a digging area, your dog will love a good game of tug of war with a tree. That's right—a tree! Tie a strong rope to a sturdy tree branch, and tie a knot in the end of the rope for your dog to grab onto. It can provide hours of fun for dogs that like a lot of physical play.

Dogs that need more mental stimulation can get it with weather-friendly doggy puzzles. Puzzle toys have moveable parts and openings for small treats. As your dog uses his noodle to open up the various compartments, he's rewarded with a treat!

These are just a few tips to create a pooch-friendly play space outdoors. As they say, "A tired dog is a good dog." With all the extra physical activity in your dog's awesome yard, he'll be both tired and good.