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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Creating an Eco-friendly Yard
for Your Dog

by Carrie Boyko
(c) Carrie Boyko
Natural Lawns Can be Green too
I suppose your first question is why? What possible reason is there that a dog owner would want to concern herself with providing her dog with an Eco-friendly yard? If you have to ask this question, you're probably not ready to hear the answer, so strap on your seat belt.

Let me begin with a telling tale. A neighbor's dog once had a seizure and fell quickly into an irreversible coma. The cause? My friend's dog had succumbed to the pesticides that were sprayed on their yard that day. Toxins in products such as fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, car wash preparations, anti-freeze, and many other products we use outdoors can be harmful, if not fatal to our furry friends who frolic in the air where the toxins blow and roll in the grass where it lands.

Speaking of the landscape, there are many plants that are poisonous to our pets, as well as those that are not sustainable and offer little to help us retain our beautiful yards and gardens without significant overuse of important resources such as water. Tanner and I encourage you to learn more about poisonous plants that might be lurking in your yard, before the unthinkable happens. You can visit our page, Pet Emergency Resources to read about poisonous trees and plants. You'll find all sorts of info on first aid, poison control numbers and emergency help there.

Speaking of the unthinkable, here's a few considerations you can look into to assure a safe refuge for Fido:
  • Organic or all-natural pest control for indoors and outside are both now available to the public. I have been on a program like this for a couple of years, and have had an excellent experience. Xena, my 13 1/2 yr old Retriever mix, who once had a recurrent problem with hotspots, now has overcome these. We credit this to the absense of chemicals on our lawn--her favorite place to lounge during the cool times of day.
  • Flea and tick control are also attainable via natural means--with a little extra diligence--for your pets, your home and your lawn. The pay off is a healthier, longer-living best friend, and less toxins in the environment in which you live. After a recent camping trip with my dogs, we unknowingly brought home a houseful of ticks. The cure was a few blasts of peppermint oil, a treatment that had our neighbors wondering what we were up to! Nevertheless, we're tick-free and used no poisons to handle the problem. You can read more about this adventure at No More Ticks for Tanner.
  • A number of natural, vegetable oils can be used as pesticides for diseased plants, while natural fertilizers made from worm guts and fish emulsion are highly effective. My lawn screams GREEN and the funny part--the dogs think it smells great. Fortunately for me, we can't smell it; they just have highly developed sniffers that find every unsavory smell there is.
Perhaps you are giggling at my apparent nuttiness, wondering why I'm not discussing the doggie landmines that Rover leaves around the yard. These too can be handled in a more Eco-friendly way, with the help of products such as Doggie-Dooley, that biodegrade the dog waste inside an in-ground container that then allows the biodegraded material to be absorbed into the earth below. Neat idea, huh?!

I like the way it works--a foot pedal for opening (no hands!)--and a scooper for dropping the contents inside. You get all this and a supply of enzymes to speed the process all for one quite reasonable price.

That's not all, though. There are also companies who manufacture dog waste bags ( poop bags!) that are water soluble, like Flushpuppies. Simply scoop and drop into any toilet. The bag disappears and the waste is then flushed away to be handled by our sewer system, a job it was built and intended for.

The amazing thing about working toward having a greener dog is that you'll find it is contagious. Pretty soon, you'll be applying some of the same lessons to yourself, and reaping the health benefits for years to come.

Help protect our precious dog parks
© Carrie Boyko, all rights reserved

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