6 Essential Tips for Pet-Proofing Your Outdoor Living Space - PetFirst
6 Essential Tips for Pet-Proofing Your Outdoor Living Space
Pet Care & Health

6 Essential Tips for Pet-Proofing Your Outdoor Living Space

by MetLife Pet Insurance
6 months ago

There is no denying it – spring is here! The snow has finally melted, we have turned the clocks ahead, and the sun is setting a little later each day. As the weather warms up, everyone is eager to come out of hibernation and enjoy the outdoors with their pets.

However, before you move all your activities outdoors, remember to always check your outdoor living spaces to make sure it is safe for your pets. Here are a few items to consider when getting back outside with your pets this spring:

Dispose of stagnant water  

Don’t leave standing water around your property, in buckets, or child or pet pools.  If you forgot to bring the wheelbarrow in before the rainstorm, empty it as soon as possible.  Standing water attracts bugs, particularly mosquitos, which can transmit heartworm disease.

Check patio and deck

Check the floorboards on your patio and deck.  Make sure there are no sharp pieces of wood in need of filing down.  These could cause painful splinters in paws, feet, or hands.  You can smooth out any splintering areas with sandpaper6.  

Additionally, check stone and cement patios and walkways.  Ensure there are no loose stones or cement pavers, as these can catch a paw and cause an accidental injury.

Store items safely out of reach

Keep chemicals like gasoline, pool cleaner, pesticides, herbicides, and weed killer securely closed and stored away from curious paws.

Keep lawn equipment and garden tools locked up in a secure shed or garage when they are not being used. Though they may seem harmless, pets are curious and may try to hide or explore in or under machinery. Additionally, sharp items left out in the yard can cause accidental injuries when pets are out playing and roaming. 

Protect pets in high places

If you live in a city, your outdoor living space may consist of a condo or high-rise apartment. The view might be something to write home about. The safety – not so much. Creating a safe space on a terrace won’t take the place of walking your pup, but with a bit of thought, your four-legged friend can enjoy the cityscape with you.

The main concern with a condo or apartment building terrace is the risk of your beloved furry companion slipping through the railing. If the space between the bars is wide enough for a pet to get through, you can attach a netting or heavy-duty screen to the railing bars. This precaution will prevent Fluffy and Fido from attempting to escape should they desire to chase birds, squirrels, airplanes, or other distractions.

Tailor your terrace or balcony to your pet’s personality. For example, if you know your dog is a heavy chewer, perhaps a chicken wire or netting is not the right option. Consider attaching something more durable, such as plexiglass panels, to your terrace railing7.  

Avoid poisonous plants and flowers

Make sure your yard is free of poisonous plants that pets can ingest. Trim your lawn and nearby shrubbery to prevent insects, wild animals, and snakes from hiding in nearby tall grass.

While potted plants and flowers add beauty to any porch, patio, or balcony, walk around and make sure you do not have any of the following plants out, as they can be toxic to your pets8:

  • Tulips
  • Azaleas
  • Lilies
  • Peonies
  • Sago Palm
  • Branching and California Ivy
  • Iris
  • Chinese Evergreen 

The ASPCA has a complete list of toxic and non-toxic plants. Consider hanging baskets of non-toxic flowers out of paws reach for a beautiful and safe spring look9

Add a latch to that gate

If you enjoy spending time on a front porch or deck, consider adding a latching gate to protect your dog from escaping.  You can find gates in various colors, sizes, and styles so that you can match one to your home’s style10.  Keep in mind; a latching gate won’t always confine your feline friend.

Now that you have checked your outdoor living space, you are officially ready to take everyone outdoors to enjoy the nice spring weather!

Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.


1Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”) is the insurance carrier for this product. IAIC, a Delaware insurance company, is headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC to offer and administer pet insurance policies. This entity was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an assumed name and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other assumed names or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions. 

2Provided all terms of the policy are met. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC contain certain exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

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