Neighborhoods with more dogs experience less crime, including, murder and assult, new resarch from the Ohio State University reveals. It’s thought that the more dog walkers there are out patrolling the streets, the more criminals are deterred from committing both petty and violent crimes. So, just as your dog helps keep your neighborhood safe, it’s important to return the favor with a dog-friendly backyard. By ensuring your backyard is filled with the right plants, groundcover, and toys, you can create a safe and stimulating space for your dog.

Opt for dog-safe plants

If given the chance, most dogs love to chew up plants and flowers, which means it’s important to ensure your backyard is filled with non-toxic, dog-safe varieties. African violet, Blooming Sally, daylilies, marigolds, and sage are some pretty plants suitable for dogs. Ideally, robust shrubs and plants will be able to withstand particularly boisterous dogs who are more likely to damage young or delicate plants. Shrub roses, geranium, and nepeta are some strong and sturdy options. Be careful to avoid the Pelargonium species of geranium, which is poisonous to both cats and dogs.

Dog-friendly groundcover

When it comes to groundcover, you have a host of dog-friendly options to choose from. If you prefer the look of natural grass, opt for a hard wearing type like perennial ryegrass, for example, which is more resistant to dog urine. Alternatively, silver carpet or irish moss are attractive, hardy grass alternatives. Keep in mind, irish moss isn’t drought tolerant, so is only a good choice if it rains regularly where you live. However, artificial grass is a low-maintenance alternative to natural grass, which looks and feels just like the real thing. Non-toxic grass specifically designed for pets, in particular, is antimicrobial and ensures urine drains right through, therefore keeping odors and bacteria at bay. Since artificial grass is also extremely durable, it can withstand the daily rigors of your dog running around and easily stay in tip-top condition.

Add agility equipment

If you’re looking for ways to distract your dog from digging up your plants and groundcover, agility equipment may be the ideal solution. This can take the form of pre-made kits or be as simple as creating your own obstacle courses with things like cardboard boxes, buckets, broomsticks, and PVC tape. Not only does agility equipment benefit dogs physically and mentally, but it also prevents boredom, which can in turn trigger behaviors like barking and digging. You can either take the time to train your dog on how to use the equipment or let them explore the equipment in their own time. If, on the other hand, agility equipment isn’t the right match for your dog, something like a classic tug toy or even a bubble machine can be alternative fun distractions.

Creating a fun and safe backyard is a priority for every dog owner. By choosing safe plants, opting for dog-friendly ground cover, and adding agility equipment, you can ensure your backyard is the best it can be for your pooch.