5 Backyard Dog Dangers That You Haven’t Thought About

A shaggy dog laying on a blanket in the backyard

You humans are so sweet, but oh so naïve. You think that by allowing us to play outside in the backyard that you’re giving us our very own version of butterfly kisses and orange sherbet at Granny’s house on a Saturday morning. Problem is, you’re missing the danger.

A number of backyard items and/or inhabitants can pose immediate danger to your dog while playing outdoors. By minimizing insect and rodent issues, safe guarding the yard with proper (inescapable) precautions, and ensuring all landscaping materials are put away can be a great start to pup-proofing your yard for safe playtime.

Listen up, people. If you’re not willing to play outside with your dog all day long, then they’re more than likely going to get stung by the boredom bug and start getting into things. It’s what they do. Now, keep reading so you can begin implementing your pup-proofed backyard initiatives immediately.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

1. Bugs

Gross. Bugs creep me out and can be one heck of a backyard danger. I don’t like them. I have hairy legs and those pesky little crawlers like to get in there and hide.

I’m here to tell you, I’ll freak out faster than a meth head at a chemistry convention when a bug starts wiggling around in my fur.

I’m not here for that.

What I am here for, though, is for my humans to be good dog parents and plan ahead using forecasting projections with granular metrics provided by bug charting analytics and migrating patterns.

Don’t scrunch your brows at me. This is absolutely not too much to ask.

I’ll say it again: I DO NOT LIKE BUGS.

Do what you have to do to minimize my encounters with them.

Let’s Break it Down a Bit – Backyard Danger 101

Fleas and ticks are among the most commonly discussed bugs in relation to dog issues. They are nasty little boogers. Make sure you take preventative measures so we don’t spend our time whacking away at our ear flaps like a 7 year old with a brand new drum set. Not a viable use of our time.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I have some pretty annoying skin allergies. Regular flea and tick medications always made me come down with a case of the lethargy blues.

I wrote a fairly comprehensive article on what natural remedies work best for me. If you feel so inclined, you can check it out here.

Want to know what else can crawl, slide, or fly straight into a pup’s nightmares?

Ants, spiders, slugs, and wasps.

Ants, spiders, and wasps can all do damage that generally goes without saying. The typical bites and stings that can occur are more than enough trouble for your dog.

Skin burning, irritation, and other adverse reactions are some of the most common annoyances that can come from leaving your dog to fend for himself in the Kingdom of Insectville.

What you guys probably don’t know though is that slugs can play host to the lungworm.

I’m sorry. What’s that now?


The danger then comes from your dog ingesting the slug, like some of your fur babies may enjoy doing from time to time.

Not me. Those things gross me out. Again, they get stuck in my leg hair.


Back to the lungworms.

According to petMD, “lungworms are a parasitic worm (nematode) that settles in the lungs and windpipe (trachea), causing severe respiratory problems.”

Once the slug is consumed, the lungworm then uses your dogs lungs as their new host.

I’m personally so grossed out right now. I can’t possibly continue down this descriptive “lungworm” path.

If you want to know more, click the petMD link thingy three paragraphs up.

And for the love of all that’s holy and magical in this world, keep your dogs away from slugs.

2. Keep the Good In. Keep the Bad Out.

Here’s the thing, humans. Fences aren’t just to keep your dog in place. They’re to simultaneously keep the bad from coming in and snatching us up. Or worse.

Enter backyard danger number two.

Depending on where you live, this could carry more weight. If you live out in the mountains of Colorado, then a fence would help keep out all sorts of wildlife that could potentially pose a threat to your sweet pup innocently frolicking through the backyard.

If you live in the boonies of Burke County, then a solid fence would help keep the mountain lions from prowling out of the woods and coming in your yard to force your dog to play with them.

You get my point.

A fence is for both privacy and protection. If you have any questions about fence height or fence regulations that would suit your escape artist of a dog, refer to the blog I wrote here, detailing all of the fence requirement guidelines you’ll ever need.

3. Landscaping Items as a Backyard Danger

I’m sure Gladys’ rose garden in the backyard seems harmless enough to the naked eye. The issue here is that dog’s don’t operate with naked eyes. We use super sonic hyper vision derived from the sun, like Superman.

More on your dog’s superpowers here.

Our eyes are also nosy and need to seek out, sniff, and lick most things in our spare time. Well, our eyes don’t sniff or lick, but you get what I’m saying. Regardless, landscaping items are no exception.

Take a closer look with us. See that weed killer? The grass seed, chocolate mulch (totally a thing), fertilizer, and pile of loose weeds you’ve nonchalantly strewn about the yard?

Poison, humans. Pure poison, and backyard danger number three.

As a matter of fact, did you know Fox Glove, Devil’s Weeds, Poison Oak, and Poison Hemlock can all do serious damage to your dog’s general well being?

Some of these can even be fatal.

And trust me, there’s more.

As a matter of fact, if you’re at all curious, scroll to the bottom of this article under “related questions”. I’ve listed the top 15 toxic yard plants for your dog.

The things you don’t know can seriously hurt you.

Not knowing about the pesticides, certain mulches, and harmful plants could potentially be the ultimate backyard danger to your dog.

You can truly never be too careful with this stuff around your dogs. Better safe than sorry – always.

I’m not telling you to not make your yard pretty. All I’m saying is to proceed with a heightened level of unprecedented caution and dive deep into research based queries and all of the information you can possibly find regarding dog safe greenery to plant.

Then, clean your mess. Leave nothing out that your dog can get into – because they undoubtedly will get into it.

4. Direct Exposure to Natural Elements Can Be a Massive Backyard Danger

Come on, humans.

Do you really need me to write an entire section on why you should be aware of the weather before leaving your dog in the backyard for long bouts of time?

You’re telling me that NOT leaving your dog outside in extreme heat and cold ISN’T common sense?

I apologize if I’m coming off a bit harsh – I mean no harm. I just get really angry when I have my head flopping out of the back window of my mom’s jeep and I see a fellow dog tied to a tree outside in the middle of summer.

This is abuse and completely unacceptable. If you’re going to do this to your dog, then you don’t have time for a dog and should rethink the entire situation.

Here’s a little tip for you. The next time you’re wondering mindlessly through your ugly field of self thought, thinking about your dog being forced to stay outside, go out there and sit with him. While you’re sitting with him, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I cold?
  2. Am I hot?
  3. Would I rather be inside?

If the answer to any of the aforementioned questions is yes, then get your oblivious butt up and bring your dog in with you.

Simple as that, human.

Direct exposure to the natural elements is a massive backyard danger that you’re not always thinking about.

5. Humans. Sorry, But Somebody Had to Say It.

This section could more than likely be combined with number 2 up there. Keeping the bad out would 100% include humans.

I have one hyphened word for you.


Terrifying in theory and even worse in reality.

The fact that people exist who’s singular motive is to steal precious puppy children from their very own yard is not only disgusting, but horrific. Not just psychotic, but heinous. Not simply dissonance, but criminal.

Unfortunately, these turds that go around smearing poop stains on all of humanity, do in fact exist.

They are very real, so it’s crucial to ensure that your fence keeps this particular backyard danger OUT and your dog’s safe and sound in your yard.

I may even go on record to state that these bugs are worse than the ones that crawl in my arm hair.

There. I said it.


Am I right?

Bonus Backyard Danger: Water

While most dog breeds have an affinity and even love for swimming and water, this isn’t always the case.

Backyard pools, ponds, lakes, or rivers could pose a grave threat to the life of your dog if they’re not confident swimmers.

If you have a pool, be sure to keep a child proof fence around the perimeter. As a matter of fact, you should be doing this with all types of water in your back yard – creating a wall of protection for your dog. Especially if they spend most of the day outside and you’re not out there to constantly supervise.

Dog’s are generally good about not tempting fate, especially if they’re afraid of water or have no real interest in playing.

However, all of this logic flies out of the window when a squirrel grabs their attention and they aimlessly follow them straight towards the pool / pond / lake / river.

My point is, you can never ever be too cautious when it comes to the safety of your dog’s back yard play time.

If it looks like it could maybe possibly be a potential threat, then it most likely is.

Take proper precautions.


Danger lurks around every corner. It’s crazy to think that you could shield us from all of the harmful monstrosities of the world. The truth is, you can only do your best. That’s all any of us can do.

Stay informed, people. Things are constantly changing.

Want to know the one thing that will never change?

Your conscious effort to continue to Live, Love, Laugh and Scratch our bellies often.

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

Related Questions

What Yard Plants Are Toxic to Dogs?

There are easily 25 toxic plants that can pose as a threat to your dog.

Let’s begin with the 15 most common ones:

Most Common Toxic Plants to Dogs
American Holly
Tomato Plant
Baby’s Breath
Castor Bean
Sago Palm
Lily of the Valley
Japanese Yew
Autumn Crocus

Pet Safe Mulch

Choosing the right mulch option for your dog’s play lot is critical to the overall safety of the project.

As long as your dog isn’t the type who enjoys chewing on the mulch, use cedar shavings in their lot.

This type is multifaceted.

For starters, it smells really good. It also repels insects.

Win / win in my opinion!

Tip: Definitely stay away from cocoa mulch. It is made from cocoa shells and is highly toxic to your dogs.

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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