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4:47 PM Sat, Nov. 17th

How to let your yard go to the dogs

Do you have a dog or know someone who does? This is one pet that needs outdoor time. Let's talk about your dog and your yard.

Here are a few points about being a responsible pet owner. Fence the yard and make sure there are no holes in it.

This ensures that your dog has the fun and freedom of running and playing. Make sure the fence is tall enough so the dog can't jump over it. An invisible fence is another option for large yards.

Second, make sure there is a shady spot for your dog in warm weather. With the summers we have here, shade is a necessity. Even if you are outdoors for a just a few minutes, shade is important. Of course, your dog should not be out for more than a few minutes when the temperature is high.

A spot under a tree, under some bushes, under a patio or other structure, or a doghouse can be effective. Just remember that dog houses can get quite hot inside in the summer.

Third, look for debris, holes and other items that may be a danger to your dog. Fill holes where your pet might trip and injure himself.

Do a regular patrol of the yard to look for anything that can be chewed or ingested that could be harmful.

Fourth, provide warm, dry shelter in cold or inclement weather. Of course, when the weather is cold or rainy, the dog should not be outside for long periods of time.

Fifth, keep a variety of toys in the yard. These may range from tennis balls, frisbees, a wading pool or a chew bone, depending on your dog's preference.

Sixth, keep a bowl of fresh water nearby. Change the water every day.

Seventh, enjoy the yard with your dog. As much as your dog enjoys the yard and his toys, he enjoys your company even more. Staying outside with your pet prevents inappropriate behavior due to boredom, such as barking or digging.