Re-thinking Your Back Yard in a Pet-friendly Way
Some of you have just adopted a dog...hopefully from one of our wonderful shelters. Other pet owners may be considering some new land-scaping either as a direct result of fires or rainstorms here in Southern California, or are just considering updating the yard in general.We have multiple microclimates and geographical terrains here in San Diego and not all instructions are generally applicable. I would suggest before doing any new planting in your area that you call the Master Gardeners Association of San Diego County. They have a hotline number at (858) 694-2860 [also www.mastergardenerssandiego.org] and will be able to provide the latest information on your specific area.As for your new pooch, basic necessities for his safety and comfort include: good fencing, shady spots to lie in, shelter from the elements [unless you have a doggie door] and a good location for plenty of fresh water and food safe from insects...and dont forget toys! Checking out your dogs habit patterns can make the layout an easier solution. As you begin to think where everything should go, it would also be a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:
- Where does Poochie like to sleep when hes outside?
- Where is his favorite shady spot?
- Where is he starting to make paths in the yard? This usually involves a border near the fence... is this area dangerous to your pet or plants?
- Is he starting to dig or tear up the yard in general...or just certain spots?
Answering these questions can start you on the path to a pet-friendly yard. You can also access more information on pet-friendly landscaping, tips on eliminating bad habits, pet-safe plants and pesticides, and natural wildlife deterrents from your local shelter or from Planting with Your Pooch classes and information packets available here at PetLovers Publications  631-7886. We all want you, your pooch and your plants to live happily in your yard together.Judy Macomber, Master Gardener and Editor of PetLovers Publications