The ASPCA reports that 15% of pet owners lost their pet in a five-year span. Of those pets, 85% of them were recovered. That’s just one reason that a dog fence is essential. The other reason is that the right fence keeps out wild animals like coyotes, mountain lions, and raccoons. All of those have killed pets who encountered them in yards.

As you plan and build the best dog fence for your dog or even dogs, what should you be considering to ensure your dog doesn’t try to escape and that wild animals can’t get in? Don’t ignore these five safety tips for backyard pet fences.

Build a Fence That Stands Up to Jumping and Digging

What size fence is right for your pet? You have to consider your dog’s size. When your dog is standing on his hind legs, how tall is he? A Great Dane is going to have more reach than a Yorkie. While a 5-foot fence may work well for a little dog or one that isn’t much of a jumper, a larger dog, especially one that jumps, may need a 6-foot or even 7-foot fence.

If you do have a jumper, you should make sure you avoid fences that are easy for your dog to climb. Wood and chain link fences are pretty easy for a dog to scale like a ladder and jump over. Flexible fencing is harder for a dog to climb. This is one reason you need to take a closer look at Pet Playgrounds fencing. A flexible fence makes it impossible for a pet to climb it.

Make sure you give your dog plenty of room to roam. If the fenced area is too small, your dog will want to find more room, and that can mean escaping. Think about it this way, if you were confined to only one room in your home, would you be happy? Give your dog more than enough room to play, and the dog is less interested in leaving.

Digging is another obstacle pet owners face. Do you have a digger? You need to make sure that your dog cannot dig under the fence. To do this, take a section of mesh fencing and lay it flat on the ground. Consider covering it with gravel to add more of a barrier that a dog won’t want to dig in. This is a good way to avoid digging, but there’s another technique that can help. It involves toys and games.

Create a Fun Environment Your Dog Doesn’t Want to Leave

Within your dog’s fenced-in area. Build a sandbox area where it’s okay for him to dig. You can make one easily with some cedar posts in a triangular frame that’s filled with play sand. This provides your dog with an acceptable area for his passion for digging.

To acclimate him to digging in this area only, bury items he loves. His favorite tennis ball, a chew toy, etc. gets buried in the sand. Teach your dog to “find” those toys by digging. When your dog goes in for the day, make sure more items are buried in the sand for him to find another day.

Load the rest of the backyard with things for your dog to do. A wading pool filled with water is great for hot days. If you have an active dog, an obstacle course with a toy tunnel, hurdles, and ramps give the dog plenty to do while running around.

Supervision and Training Are Crucial, Even With a Fence

One of the biggest mistakes pet owners make is letting their dog out and then ignoring that dog for hours. Even in a fenced yard, a pet needs supervision. Leaving your pet outside for a few minutes is okay when you have a fenced area, but the dog shouldn’t be outside unsupervised all day. That can lead to problems.

Think about why you’re fencing in your yard. If your goal is to leave your dog outside while you’re at work, it’s going to cause problems. There’s a risk of a stranger coming into your yard and stealing your pet. Your dog could tip over his water dish and overheat. Your dog could get stung by a bee and need care. Never leave a dog alone, even in a fenced yard.

Instead, let your dog out while you work from your back deck, patio, or gazebo. Let the dog out and sit in the dining room near the sliding doors where you can watch your dog playing. Just make sure you’re close by. If you have something you need to do for more than a few minutes, bring your dog inside for a while.

You also need to train your dog in basic obedience. When you say “no” or “leave it,” your dog needs to respond. If the dog is digging at a fence or trying to chew it, “no” should stop that behavior. Offer a replacement activity that is appropriate instead. If he stops digging and returns to you, praise, attention, and a session of fetch is a reward the dog won’t forget.

If your dog runs away from you, make sure the dog knows to return. Work on having your dog come when you call, even if there are distractions. You can work on the distractions by having a friend come by when you’re working on “heel” and “come” commands. The friend can do things to get your dog’s attention, and you want to reinforce that what you say is the only thing the dog should be paying attention to.

Take Precautions and Make Sure Your Dog Is Microchipped

When a dog goes missing, microchips prove helpful in getting the dog returned. An estimated 15% of dogs were recovered specifically because of their microchips.

Microchipping is a quick, easy procedure that takes no more time than annual vaccinations. If your dog hasn’t been microchipped, take care of it. Your vet can do it, or you can attend a walk-in microchipping clinic at stores like Petco, PetSmart, and Tractor Supply.

Once your dog is microchipped, make sure you fill out the online form with your contact information. The information sheet the veterinarian or vet tech gives you will have the link for signing up. Keep this information updated with your latest contact information. This is especially important if you move or change phone numbers.

Design a Fence For a Chewer

Some dogs love to chew. If you have a chewer, you need to make sure your fence is chew-proof. Steel mesh layers in mesh fencing eliminate problems with dogs chewing holes through fence types like wood or vinyl.

Pet Playgrounds has the 6- or 7-Foot MAX fence that’s designed to prevent dogs from chewing through. If you worry about your aggressive chewer getting through a fence, the MAX strength fence is ideal.

Scatter chew toys like Kong-brand toys around the yard. If your dog has toys to chew, it can be a great distraction to keep the dog from trying to chew through fencing.

Are you not sure what the best option is? Talk to us for guidance by scheduling a call with a Dog Fence Expert. We can go over your options. We’ll help you decide the right height and if a two-layer or three-layer mesh fence is best for your dog. We’re happy to help you figure out the right solution to keep your dog safe when he’s outside.