No one likes going out into their yard and coming face to face with a big, ugly snake. Even if the serpent in question is completely harmless. And while we take quite a few precautions to protect ourselves and our children from unwanted pests, what about our pets?
Any good pet owner will tell you that one of the biggest concerns when contemplating pests on your property is what potential dangers that might pose to your beloved pet. The fact is, your dog is exposed to a lot more dangers from unwanted wildlife than you. A dog is more likely to get into an altercation with a pest, and risk getting scratched, bitten, or otherwise hurt. Many pests, such as raccoons, for example, carry a wide range of disease-causing bacteria in their claws, so your dog getting scratched could lead to infection and even death.
So how do you protect your pet from these gnarly pests and make your backyard a safe haven for your canine friend?
- Keep snakes away.
Snakes are a huge threat to the health and safety of your pet, both venomous and non-venomous ones. Venomous snakes, for obvious reasons, and non-venomous ones, because they still carry diseases in their bite.
Some common and efficient ways to keep snakes away from your property include:
- Trim your lawn and hedges regularly. If snakes feel “out in the open”, they’ll be less likely to want to slither around your yard.
- Disperse firewood stacks and leaf plies, as these can serve as make-shift snake nests.
- Repair any cracks in the foundation, to prevent a pregnant snake from making its nest there.
- Keep the yard clean and free of food. While that will not attract snakes, it will bring over rodents and other smaller pests, which are the main part of a snake’s diet.
If you live in a snake-prone area, you might want to find professional help. A good wildlife removal company will not only get rid of any unwanted intruders but also advise you on any potential weak spots in your fence and property that might provide access to snakes.
- Check your garden.
Then, of course, there are the dangers that aren’t posed by wildlife, but by what you yourself plant in your yard. Many people like to plant onion, garlic, as well as various spices in their back garden, to use in their cooking. But the sad fact is, many of these common household veggies are poisonous to canines.
Tomatoes, onions, chives, garlic, and so on – all of these can pose a risk to your beloved pet, so a good idea would be calling the vet before you actually do any planting, to save both you and your pet some trouble.
You should also keep an eye out for allergies. Dogs are often allergic to plants such as ivy, as well as certain types of grass, like bottlebrush, so keep that in mind also while you’re caring for your yard.
This step is actually twice as good because your garden might also be attracting common garden pests, from various insects to rodents and the like. So not only are you creating a safe environment for your pet, but you are also making it an undesirable environment for pests.
- Keep pet food inside at all times.
Yes, we know that in the warm months, your pet will be doing a fair bit of roaming the great outdoors and that you’ll be tempted to leave some food and water to keep your doggo nourished and active.
But see, the trouble with that is that exposed pet food also attracts various wildlife, such as raccoons, for example. While raccoons don’t tend to get into fights with dogs unprovoked, it’s still best to keep them out of your yard, since they can expose your dog to disease, not to mention cause some serious damage. Other wildlife, like rodents, are also prone to pop up if there’s food left unattended for long enough.
So make sure you feed them indoors and regularly clean up their feeding area, as well. Otherwise, you risk pests just making their way indoors through open windows, pet flaps, cracks, and so on.
- Invest in a sturdy fence.
This one’s a bit of a no-brainer, but you’ll want to invest in a good, strong fence around your backyard. This will not only ensure that your dog doesn’t roam off, but it will also keep most pests out of your yard. Research your options and opt for the fence that keeps as many pests out as possible.
Also, you’ll need to make sure you maintain the fence and regularly check for loose boards, cracks, holes, and the like. Holes big enough might allow your dog to squeeze through them, and obviously, you don’t want that. But you shouldn’t only be looking for dog-sized holes. Also keep an eye on smaller cracks that might allow snakes, opossums, skunks, and more into your yard.
- Make sure your dog is well-trained.
Lastly, there’s only so much you can do to make your backyard a safe environment. Some of it will have to be direct supervision, control of your canine, and obedience training. For example, dogs have a dangerous tendency to dig and to stick their noses into gopher holes. And gophers, in turn, have developed the obvious habit to bite back if that happens. This will, of course, expose your pet to disease, not to mention seriously hurt them. So you need to train your dog to respond to commands such as “stop!” or “off!”.
These commands also come in handy if the dog decides to chase after a rodent or other such pests. While this may seem like innocent playtime behavior, keep in mind that most of these critters are likely to have been exposed to poison and pesticides in their adventures – which your dog risks ingesting if it doesn’t leave the pest alone!