We have a small area in our backyard where our dog can get outdoors, bark at the neighbors, and "do his business". We have a cheap, flexible, garden fence to contain the dog. I'm interested in suggestions for upgrading the fencing, but my main question is, "what can I do to keep the area from getting turned into a dirt pit?" For a little dog, he sure can produce enough waste to kill any grass in the area. We clean up after him, of course, but grass does not survive. I've thought of using stone, but am concerned it will be too uncomfortable for the dogs paws. I'd also like to have some small bushes or some type of vegetation around the perimeter, but the vegetation needs to be hearty enough to withstand the dog's territory markers. It also needs to be non-toxic.
I'd probably go with shredded bark mulch. Cheap enough to buy, and you can rake it out to refresh it every season and add a few new bags to build it back up. If you have a pick-up it can be pretty cheap to buy by the pick-up load. Around here it costs about $20 for a cubic yard.
Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.
My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
We had a dog run situation at a prior house. We also used bark mulch. Always sprung for the bagged Cedar mulch (either shredded or chunk) rather than just pine or random shred. Several inches thick and it worked really well.
Cedar helps deter any insects including fleas (from mice) whom also like to live in and around mulch piles.
if its a long haired dog, the mulch will get caught in its hair, short haired dog, not so much. You might think about an artificial type turf that can be washed down periodically
Since you have a small dog, a 6 inch retaining type of fencing with short posts may be enough of a barrier, placed a few inches out from your plantings, that he may learn to use that as a territory marking spot, instead of the actual plants?
Not knowing your planting site conditions, hard to recommend plantings. We have found evergreen Yews to be very resilient to all issues and recover easily once established. Watering the area regularly to help dilute any urine is really beneficial to anything planted in the area used.
We have had long haired dogs and never had an issue with the mulch getting caught in their fur, but never a silky breed, which may be different. Good to keep in mind. As a potty area, they normally don't roll in the mulch, but may kick it up after going.
Thanks for the suggestions Sparky617, Conrad, and nona.
Dogs are probably different, but I know that when we had a Guinea Pig, the pet store steered us away from Cedar--saying it was harmful to their respiratory system.
Doesn't the mulch get tracked back into the house?
Artificial turf is certainly worth considering--if not too expensive and if I can change my wife's mind about it (she doesn't like it at all).
With respect to the fencing, our dog (around 17 pounds) can jump up onto my daughter's bed, so I think I need to go at least two feet high. He is a long hair (Havanese--similar to a Bichon Frise).
Oh, another consideration with the vegetation is that I have to keep plants with brittle twigs away from him. He likes to chew on them. So, maybe keeping the plants on the outside of the fence is the only way to go.
I am sure you will find something that works.
As far as the cedar, we have never had an issue with it and dogs. In fact it is sold regularly for dog bedding. Other small animals may be affected if they lived on it 24/7 and had tendency to chew wood however.
Your Havanese dog breed can have hair that may be more likely to pick up sticks and such from any outdoor source (a friend has one, and they keep it like a mop most of the time).
The bark may be a better match, then shredded mulch, if you go that route.
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