we keep it green call (888) 649-9919

Lawn Care and Pets: How to Maintain a Pet-Friendly Lawn

Posted on August 22nd, 2023

There are many reasons to keep a well-maintained lawn. On top of creating visually appealing property and complying with your HOA landscaping policies, regular lawn care provides spaces everyone in your household can use. And when we say “everyone” in your home, we mean everyone – even those with four legs.

Pet-friendly lawn care is a must for those with dogs and cats who want to ensure their spaces are safe for them to roam and play. However, what could be an everyday feature in your lawn for you and others living on your property may be a potential hazard for your pets. If you want to make your home more pet-friendly for your furry friends, here are some best practices for maintaining your lawn.

Best Practices for Pet-Friendly Lawn Care

Whether hiring professionals or handling your lawn care needs, there are some steps to take or practices to consider to make your outdoor spaces pet-friendly. These are some of the best tips to achieve safe pet spaces.

Choose Your Greenery Carefully

While some common decorative plants are harmless to humans, they can be toxic to cats and dogs. Consuming, smelling, or coming into contact with these plants can cause gastrointestinal problems in cats and dogs. Check the list below and see if you have any plants on your lawn that may need removing.

Common Yard Plants Toxic to Dogs Common Yard Plants Toxic to Cats
  • Amaryllis
  • Azaleas
  • Bird of Paradise
  • Bluebells
  • Calla Lily
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils
  • Daisy
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fuchsias
  • Holly
  • Honeysuckle
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Jade
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Morning Glory
  • Oleander
  • Philodendron
  • Tulips
  • Wisteria
  • Yew
  • Aloe
  • Azaleas
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils
  • Dahlia
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Eucalyptus
  • Holly
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Iris
  • Ivy
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lavender
  • Lilies (all types, can cause fatal kidney failure)
  • Oleander
  • Peony
  • Periwinkle
  • Philodendron
  • Poppy
  • Sago Palm
  • Tulips
  • Yew

Additionally, watch out for mushrooms sprouting around your lawn. Mushrooms tend to grow near decaying organic matter such as wood, so check wooden materials around your yard, such as wooden fences. Some types of mushrooms can be toxic to cats and dogs.

Plant Damage-Resistant Grass

Dog owners understand the kind of chaos their dog can create. While playing outdoors, dogs can run around and trample on your grass. The high amounts of nitrogen from pee and poop can also affect the grass’ health. This can cause damage to your lawn, such as bare patches, and affect its overall appearance.

An excellent way to address this is to regularly conduct overseeding using a stronger type of grass. More robust grass variants like bluegrass or Bermuda grass can withstand more wear and tear from playful pets.

Fence-In Your Property

Prevent your pet from escaping or running into traffic by partially or entirely fencing your property. You can place fences on the entire perimeter of your home to give your dog a safe space to roam freely. Alternatively, you could only fence a section of your front and back yard, depending on what works best with your property’s aesthetic.

There are different types of fences ranging from wood to iron to wire fencing. Choose one that matches your budget, property style and any rules your community may have regarding fencing. Choose fence designs with gaps your pet can’t pass through. Once your fence has been installed, check the perimeter for potential escape points before letting your pet out. You can also place bricks or large rocks at the bottom of your fences to prevent your dog from digging to escape under.

Provide Shaded Spots

If your family can enjoy a cozy patio or pergola, your pet should also have something for their comfort. Playing and staying outdoors can be fun, but no pet wants to be exposed to the sun the entire day, especially during the hot summer months.

For dogs, a sturdy dog house will be appreciated. Make sure the dog house is large enough for your dog’s size, and don’t forget to leave food and water for them. Additionally, you can achieve pet-friendly lawn care outside of using furniture. A thoughtfully-designed lawn with trees and tall shrubbery can cool your outdoor spaces and provide shaded areas.

Create Stimulating Spaces To Prevent Digging

One of the common problems of letting dogs onto your lawn is when they tend to dig and leave craters everywhere. Instead of using deterrents that make your dog uncomfortable, you can get to the bottom of their actions and address them.

Most dogs usually dig when bored or looking for something to do. If this is the case, you can address it by providing stimulating activities your dog will enjoy. For example, provide dogs with outdoor playground features or give them toys. You might also only let them out when someone can play with them.

Know When To Keep Pets Indoors

Products like pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals are necessary to perform tasks such as grub control or weed removal. However, residual traces of these chemicals could remain on your property after the process. Some of these products can be toxic for pets, so avoid exposing them to them by keeping them indoors.

If you’re doing these tasks yourself, opt for pet-friendly products. Otherwise, professional landscaping companies should advise you how long it could take for your lawn to be safe for your pet.

Conduct Regular Pest Management

Your home’s outdoor spaces may have parts susceptible to pests, such as insects and rodents. On top of inconveniencing you and your household, these pests can also potentially spread harmful diseases to your pets. Some examples include:

  • Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, overgrown grass, compost bins, and twigs and branches scattered around your yard. They can also carry parasites such as heartworms and pass them to animals through bites.
  • Ticks: They are commonly carried by rodents and other animals onto your property and are attracted to tall grass, moist dirt, and shaded areas. They can carry lyme disease which can transfer to your pets.
  • Rodents: Various types of rodents, such as rats and raccoons, may be attracted to your exposed garbage, birdfeeders, pet food, or any fruit-bearing plants on your property. They can carry diseases such as leptospirosis and rabies.

Adjust Your Landscaping Practices

Just because you want your pets to roam free and enjoy your lawn does not mean you can’t maintain visually appealing landscaping and greenery. Here are some pet-friendly lawn care practices you can do to ensure that your plants stay healthy.

  • Perform Regular Core Aeration: Over time, your lawn’s soil becomes compacted, preventing your grass from forming deeper roots. This can prevent your grass from becoming thicker and harder. Regular core aeration softens the ground and makes nutrients, water, and air more accessible. Deeper roots also make your grass durable from your pet’s wear and tear.
  • Mow Your Grass Taller: Letting your grass grow taller makes it stronger against your pet’s walking. However, that doesn’t mean you should let it grow unkempt. Consider adjusting your mowing process. You can let your grass grow between 1.5 to 3.5 inches, depending on your grass type.
  • Fertilize Less or with Low Nitrogen Fertilizers: Letting your pets roam your lawn means there’s a high chance it will be exposed to pee and poop. On top of cleaning their mess right away (which can also prevent pests), you might want to adjust your fertilizing practices. Use less fertilizer or use fertilizer products low in nitrogen.

Maintain Healthy and Pet-Friendly Landscapes at Home with Turf Unlimited

Pet-friendly outdoor spaces at home may require some changes, but it’s worth giving your pets the opportunity to enjoy the outdoor spaces with your household. If you want to ensure your landscaping is safe for pets and can withstand your pet’s wear and tear, your best bet is to turn to the professionals at Turf Unlimited

You can make your lawn safe and accommodating for your furry friends while maintaining eye-catching landscapes. Contact us today for a quote on our lawn care services. 

Content Copyright © 2024, Turf Unlimited Inc. | All rights reserved.