I grew up in the country where we didn’t care about having a pristine yard full of lush green grass. I now live downtown where my husband is often torn between keeping up with the neighbors and allowing our yard to have a bit of “bio diversity” as we like to call it.
The number one reason we chose our home was the yard. We love having a lot large enough for Emi and Luca to play and enjoy the outdoors, so since our yard is geared around our dogs we’ve learned to accept the bio diverse lawn as a safe haven for our dogs. No chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers allowed and quite frankly the sprinkler system hasn’t been used since we purchased the home over four years ago because I’m not a fan of wet dogs.
Chemically treated yards are not only dangerous for your pets that come into direct contact with the lawn they are also dangerous for you and your family members as well as the environment.
The good news is there are still plenty of green options for maintaining a beautiful yard while keeping your dogs (and the rest of your family) safe and healthy.
Here are a few tips on having an eco friendly yard safe for dogs:
1. Use Food Grade DE Instead of Dangerous Insecticides
DE (diatomaceous earth) naturally forms from the fossils of single celled algae and is typically crushed into a fine powder. It has variety of uses from a mild abrasive ingredient in toothpaste to cleaning up toxic liquid spills. It is also useful as a safe way to eliminate yard pests like fleas and slugs. Just sprinkle DE along the edges of your house. The powder will cause insects to dehydrate and die but is otherwise harmless.
Agricultural lime can also be used as an insect repellent without causing harm to pests or plants.
2. Embrace the Good Bugs
You don’t want to rid your yard of all bugs and insects. Many are good for your yard and help to maintain a healthy eco system, especially for your dog. For instance ants love to eat flea eggs and larvae so you certainly don’t want to rid your yard of ants. Other healthy bugs to keep around are honey bees, lady bugs, dragonflies and earthworms – just to name a few.
3. Use a Reel Mower
AKA: push reel mowers, manual mowers, people powered mowers, hand mowers, manual reel mower, etc. Reel mowers are manually powered push mowers, they don’t use gas or electricity and are better not only for the environment and your health, they are better for your yard’s health and they are more economical to own. Learn more about the benefits and comparisons of different brands at reelmowers.org.
4. Choose Native Grass and Plants
Sticking to what grows naturally in your region means greater success for a healthy lawn. You won’t be fighting nature which leads to less watering and upkeep. Beware of toxic plants and check your yard for any of the plants listed on petpoisonhelpline.com.
5. Be Smart About Mulch
Grass mulch can discourage weed growth in your lawn but if your looking for a decorative choice around trees and walkways opt for organic wood mulch or decorative gravel. Steer clear of cocoa bean mulch for yards with dogs. It is toxic just like with chocolate and if your dog ingests cocoa bean mulch it is just as dangerous.
6. Pick Up After Your Dog
It’s hard to enjoy a yard littered with dog waste but worse than that it’s bad for the environment. Dog waste that is not picked up eventually enters the water cycle through storm drains and waterways adding unwanted bacteria and contaminating our water systems. Use biodegradable dog waste bags or invest in a doggie dooley for pet waste disposal.