It’s a Ruff Life….How to keep your pet safe while doing yard work

Written by Gene Caballero on January 18, 2017

At the turn of every season, homeowners are expected to perform routine lawn maintenance duties to keep the lawn looking lush and healthy. Whether it’s fertilizing, blowing leaves, mulching, sodding, clipping the hedges, or even mowing lawns in Marietta, Georgia, one level of maintenance or another is always on the schedule. For a great many of you, 4-legged friends are always there to lend a helping paw, and most of you will go to great lengths to protect said fur babies.

Keeping pets inside the home is a must for certain tasks like fertilization or irrigation work, but there are certain precautions that homeowner’s can take to ensure that pets are safe for simple tasks and can still enjoy being outside with their masters. If a pet insists on helping out, below are a few helpful pointers to maintain the lawn while safeguarding any equipment that could cause possible injury to any loved ones.

Prepare the property—Before mowing the lawn, perform a quick assessment of the property. Remove pebbles, stones, sticks, and any other objects from the mowing area. This debris could become a deadly projectile and cause harm, or even death, if the object strikes a dog or cat. Also, make sure that all pet toys, bones, and leashes are cleared off the property so they are not even tempted to come near any passing equipment.

Turn Everything Off—Never leave any lawn equipment unattended in the “on” position while a pet is outside. Shutting down the engine, including lawn mowers and weed eaters, can prevent potential harm caused by these machines. If using electric lawn equipment, make sure those are unplugged as any curious paw could potentially turn them on. Also, never allow a 4-legged friend to ride with you while mowing. Hitting one small bump could propel any companion into harm’s way.

Pick Mulch Wisely—When spreading mulch, do not allow any animal to chew on the bark. Because of mulch’s strong odor, some pets are attracted to the fresh scent and love to put their noses in it. Also, avoid cocoa mulch as it contains caffeine and theobromine. These ingredients are the same additives that make chocolate dangerous for most animals. Use pet friendly mulch if at all possible (Read the label).

Do Not over Fertilize—Contrary to most fertilization companies’ advise, current thinking suggests that while taking care of any lawn, you should fertilize no more three times per year. This practice is best for the lawn, environment, and also animals. Since pets tend to eat fertilizer, especially the organic types, this will reduce the number of possible chances they have to ingest those toxic chemicals. When shopping for treatments, make sure the warning label reads “pet-safe.” Even though most fertilizers are low on the toxicity scale, many still pose a danger if enough is consumed.

Keep Hazardous Materials AwayWhen storing gas, paint, herbicides, pesticides, or any other chemicals after use, secure these items away from any and all pets. Animals are curious by nature so keeping these out of reach will ensure these toxins are not ingested. Also, covering these items with a blanket or cloth will reduce the odor and eliminate any added curiosity.

Having a four-legged companion is one of the greatest joys of life. Pets provide unconditional love, an unbreakable bond, and true friendship. Given that pets are such an important part of life, you as a homeowner must do everything to protect them and their environment. The only full-proof way to keep your pets safe, while cutting grass in Palm Harbor, Florida, or performing yard work anywhere, is to keep them inside, but having them stare out of the window while watching you work is gut-wrenching as well. Following these tips can help ensure that you and your pet will safely enjoy getting you paws dirty together.

Hi, I'm Gene Caballero and I'm the co-founder of GreenPal . At GreenPal, we're helping hundreds of thousands of Americans solve one of the trickiest problems: a reliable, fast, and affordable way to get lawncare taken care of. On behalf of GreenPal, I've been featured in the Indianapolis Star, the Sacramento Bee, Entrepreneur,, and dozens more. Please feel free to say hi on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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