As a pet parent, you already know that your little fur ball loves the outdoors! Dog parks are a great place to off-leash your pet and help her to get some much-needed exercise. How do you go about creating a space that’s safe for your pets, and allows them to run free — while also offering them lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and surfaces to have fun in?
Here are five top considerations to keep in mind when creating the perfect dog park:
1. Run doggo run!
Your pooch is a bundle of energy. Channelize this energy by allowing them to let loose and run! Give your doggo a lovely expanse of lawn to safely go crazy in. Invest in high quality turf grass that is grown the organic way, with chemical-free fertilizers or non-toxic compost. Check out the varieties of grass that will thrive in the climate conditions in your area, and will stay lush even if it is minimally watered. Buffalo grass is a hardy variety that does not need much maintenance, and will easily handle doggie rough-and-tumble.
2. Sand pit play
Your four-legged baby probably loves to dig around in mud, and will rip up all your carefully laid flower beds, given half a chance! A safe alternative is a simple sandbox, where your pet can sniff and dig around to her heart’s content. Excavate a foot of topsoil in an area about 6 feet square, line the pit with landscape liner, and fill it with play sand or clean, white river sand. Create a border all around with bricks. Every couple of months you will need to sift through and clean the sand, or replace it completely to maintain hygiene.
3. Sip and slurp
Many dogs, especially those with a thick fur coat, cannot handle outdoor heat easily. They will need to keep themselves hydrated to stay cool, especially in the harsh midday sun. Communal water bowls are not the safest, and while each dog owner will surely carry their own water, a dog watering station or a pet fountain is always a good idea. Always ensure that your pet has an adequate supply of fresh, clean drinking water, and slurps up especially after all that running around.
4. Snooze in the shade
Your pet (and you, too!) need plenty of shady spots to cool off and rest. Plant shady trees, and plan comfortable benches where pet parents can catch up on the week gone by, while pets have their play dates nearby. Older pets can grab some shut eye in the shade, while the younger ones can cool down after a run. Elevated dog beds are a lovely idea; place them in a spot that’s cool and shaded.
5. Scoop the poop
Designated places where your pets can do their business don’t always work, but there’s no harm in trying! Synthetic turf and paved paths that can be hosed down easily will keep the rest of the park clean. Artificial turf looks almost indistinguishable from real turf, but can be cleaned easily. Plan for well-designed drainage and closed, sanitary garbage bins to dispose of the nastiest.
- Make sure all entry gates have automatic closers, so that even if a pet parent forgets to latch them they stay closed.
- The bottom rail of fences should be set deep to foil the escape plans of an expert digger!
- Certain flowers are toxic to pets. Please avoid these plants: aloe Vera, daffodils, ivy, hydrangeas, gladiolas, sago palms, tomato plants, amaryllis, rhododendrons, tulips, chrysanthemum, oleander, daisies, and yews. Please make sure you check with a good landscape designer about the most suitable plants and trees for your dog park.
- Avoid any paint, fertilizer, turf or landscaping element that contains chemicals of any sort.
Dog parks can be a lot of fun, both for your four-legged pal and for you! Loved our ideas? Let us know in the comments below!
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