By Bryn Souza
Just like mythical "always fits everyone" jeans (come on, really -- do YOU believe those claims??), there’s truly no one size fits all for backyards and pets. From condos & apartments that share outdoor spaces to living on the road in an RV to houses in the 'burbs with big fenced backyards, PetHub Team fur kids live in all sorts of situations. We wanted to pull together some of the products and tools members of the PetHub Team rely on to help their pet with enrichment, fun, comfort and being safe. Here’s our roundup of ideas and products for you and your furry friend!
Condo Living - No fence & shared outdoor spaces for residents
The PetHub Director of Marketing lives in a condominium in New England. There isn’t a fenced-in backyard, but rather, a lot of different shared landscape with grass, trees, plants and trails. Fortunately, she has some clever ideas for tools to help ensure her pooch gets exercise, is safe with her, and has ways to be mentally challenged.
Pups can go out onto a deck and check out the view and sounds without being able to sneak their way out with the help of a safety gate. This steel pet gate is easier to open and close instead of climbing over a baby gate but it’s also more secure in the event a dog tries to push their way through it in pursuit of wildlife. It was easy to install, too!
This magnetic screen door is strong enough to keep pests out of the house but easy enough for a dog to push their way through to enjoy the view. It's great for dog owners to allow plenty of natural light into the home and air to flow without relying on air conditioning in the heat of warmer weather.
Poop happens. Ew. Leaving used poop bags near the front steps or on the grass may be an option for people living in homes but HOA requirements can stipulate that pet waste needs to not be visible. The non-neighbor-annoying and su-paw affordable solution? A small waste basket that can be placed near the front steps for easy access and quick emptying. It also prevents other animals from accessing pet waste before it can be properly discarded and doesn't interfere with the landscaping.
What do you do if you want to teach your dog to come when they’re called, but can’t rely on a gated area to keep them contained in a yard? A super long dog leash can be used in shared grassy areas for training. By securing the leash around a pet parent’s waist, hands are free to hold treats and work on things like recall, staying focused, down commands, leave it, and even trick training!
Be aware of the length of the leash and any possible areas that may be harmful, like a water feature, landscaping or spots that aren’t fully cleared and could have ticks. Be sure to adjust the length of the leash to ensure your pup stays safe or doesn't get stuck while also staying tethered.
House in a suburban neighborhood - backyard pet products
A member of the PetHub sales & marketing team has two very smart, very large dogs who love to run along with a fenced-in backyard (check out our infographic that ranks different types of fencing options). Between the breeds she owns, the lack of natural ground cover and shade, and a curious neighbor dog, she’s got plenty of essential products that helped her dogs love their lawn as much as possible.
Many dog breeds LOVE the water, Great Pyrenees enjoy swimming and being in the water. So, what do you do if you don’t have a body of water nearby, or a pool in your backyard? A pet pool that can be easily set up and taken down is a great option. There are different sizes available based on the size of your backyard space and the pet(s) that may be enjoying the water. They don't take up much room when broken down and they don't destroy your landscaping. Bonus - on really hot days, your pup might let you use it, too.
Image by Bryn Souza
Some dogs don’t love swimming but do like being able to cool off with the help of water mist. Cool mist can help to maintain your pet’s temperature, especially if it’s warm outside. As a bonus, a mister can also help to water your grass or garden! Of course, it's important to monitor your furry friend and the conditions of your backyard on a regular basis to ensure they stay comfortable and protected.
Got a pupper that LOVES to dig? Instead of trying to discourage your pet from doing something that may come naturally to them and their breed, try to find a way to encourage the behavior in a designated spot, like a sandbox! It prevents a furry friend from making holes that could allow it to escape (check out our article on how to Houdini Proof your backyard for more things to consider for keeping your lawn secure). This particular sandbox option has a cover that’s built in, allowing your dog to play and the ease of covering it up quickly, which will prevent neighborhood cats from inviting themselves over to use it as a very large poop box.
It's common for a backyard to have chain link fencing. The openings in this type of fence can be a bit of an issue for a few reasons. It can be climbed up, dug under to create tunnels and the holes can be used to view someone else’s backyard or even to sneak a paw or snout through.
If there’s a reactive dog in a neighboring yard (or maybe in your yard, ahem), being able to see each other can cause some anxiety and reactivity issues like barking. A privacy screen helps to prevent neighbor pets from seeing each other through the fence while they're on patrol, making it a calmer and safer setup for everyone involved.
House in a busy neighborhood - large fenced backyard for a furry friend
A yard that’s nearly an acre in size with three different gates, means lots of possible places for a pet to hide and lots of possible exits. This is especially true when there’s a wicked smaaat (said in our best Boston accent) Boston Terrier involved. The PetHub co-founders have their hands full keeping tabs on their pets and a toddler, so they use these key products to keep everyone entertained, contained and out of trouble!
Just because there’s a fence, doesn’t mean a tether can’t be used. This can be especially helpful when a dog is first learning the rules of where they can and cannot roam on their property (so it avoids certain plants or the garden and stays on the grass, as an example). Or to ensure a dog will stay near available ground cover and protection from the sun.
It can also be helpful when there are risks from the outside world, like coyotes in the neighborhood. This tie out cable and stake allow a dog to be in the backyard, but more easily located and kept away from perimeters that are more difficult to view from the home's windows. Bonus -- the set is also so portable, it can be used on campouts and other travels away from home.
Cats love to explore and having a way for them to safely venture outdoors with the help of a well-fitting harness & leash is key! With a recovering mega chonk cat to a now slightly skinner straight up chonk cat, different options were tested, but now that a well-fitting harness is in the mix, this kitty LOVES going outside and gets mega excited when he sees the harness and leash come out of the closet so he can explore the plants, grass, and garden while out on a walk.
Sometimes yards don’t have a ton of natural shade to shield a dog from the sun or pet parents are on camping adventures and want a space for their pet to chill out in safety. A pop-up tent is a great option for dogs. They can provide shelter, a space to tuck away, access to a comfy bed, and something familiar for a pet if they are traveling in a new place.
All the toys from the Chuck-It brands offer durable options for puppers to stretch out their paws and play indoors and outdoors. For folks with a larger lawn, their ball flinger items help to provide options for tossing things farther away so their dog can run without tiring out a person’s arm.
There are options for indoors, too which allow for playtime and enrichment on days when it’s too hot outside or the weather is icky. Our PetHub team pets have had a blast with their Kick Fetch, indoor and outdoor launchers. Kick Fetch and the Flying Squirrel toy for are awesome for indoor playtime. Some PetHub kitties have been known to play with their Indoor Roller Dog toys, too!
Indoor Only Cats
Cats are able to live enriching and healthy lives while staying indoors. This is true in part to helpful brands and tools that provide enrichment and also appeal to a cat’s natural instincts to hunt, climb and play. One of the PetHub team members has three amazing rescue kitties that have PAW-some lives because of the useful tools their humans have used regularly to appeal to their different instincts all while staying on a budget.
Cats love flowing water for drinking options and to bat at with their paws, so this adorable fountain is able to provide access to running water 24/7 without needing to try to find a stream outside. Besides being super cute, because it really is, it will change colors to indicate when it needs to be refilled and the water reservoir can still be accessed even if the power goes out and the fountain isn’t able to flow.
Cats love being up high to view the world below them. It’s a part of their natural instincts and helps them to feel comfortable. And if we are being really honest, it lets them pretend they are the overlords of manner, looking down on all us human servants (or maybe it's not pretend). Providing outlets for cats to easily access a way to climb is important for their happiness and well-being (and sense of world domination).
Image by Bryn Souza
Cat trees and condos allow cats to climb and tuck away so they are less likely to climb on your precious potted plants. They also create valuable perches to view what’s going on inside and outside the home. Got a birdfeeder in the backyard? Consider adding a cat tree near an area where kitties can get their nature watching fill met by watching birds from the safety of the home. Our PetHub team with kitties purr-fer cat trees that also provide ways for cats to scratch and products that are made from natural and sustainable materials.
Prowling, pouncing, and playing with food are all things that come naturally to cats. Appealing to a cat’s natural instinct to hunt for their food is an important way to keep them engaged as indoor cats. That’s why feeder toys like what is available through Doc & Phoebe’s is such a great option for kitties at mealtime. They allow cats to act like the little hunters that they are throughout the day. Regular food or special treats can be used and alternated for extra rewards.
For cats that love to view the birds outside, help to bring the outdoors inside by introducing an interactive bird toy with feathers that’s strong enough to handle playtime with multiple cats. It also provides replacement feather options instead of needing to replace the entire toy. This interactive toy appeals to the hunting nature that’s part of a cat’s DNA and can help mental stimulation during playtime.
House on four wheels - RV life for dog owners and cat owners
A member of our PetHub team spends much of her time on the open road. It’s a benefit of working remotely. She brings her cats and dogs with her in her RV as she traverses the west coast, visiting with friends, and checking out fun landmarks along the way. RV life is amazing, but it can be challenging to ensure pets are comfortable, safe, and able to get the exercise and mental stimulation they need. Before heading out on a new adventure, our team member makes sure to have the following items with her to ensure the trip is as fun as it can be for her and her pets.
Some dogs run hot, even in cooler weather. Having a cooling bed on the ready allows for air flow underneath a pet’s body which help with temperature regulation. These beds are compact enough to be stored between trips and can also be used as training stations as the “home base” for things like practicing commands like “stay” and going to a designated spot to wait for the next command. They can be used inside an RV while traveling or set up outside. They can help to cool a dog even when they are out on a warmer surface like concrete or asphalt.
Sometimes pets and collars don’t work out. In this case, there was a near choking incident with a collar, leading to the decision to use harnesses from that point onward. This particular harness is secure and allows identification, like a PetHub tag to be placed on it should a pet go missing, which is especially important when traveling away from home. It has padding to allow for long adventures without discomfort and reflective stitching for nighttime treks. It’s incredibly easy to put on and take off and is affordable for multi-pet household on a budget.
When you want your dog to be outside on the grass with you but don’t want to worry about leashes or them being tethered in some other way. A heavy-duty playpen that can easily be set up and doesn’t take up much space when broken down is key for RV travel with pets. This pen allows dogs to be safely contained for relaxing outside in the shade at campgrounds. As with any outdoor option for pets, supervision is important to ensure pets stay in their designated spot and they don’t have any exposure to wildlife that could be dangerous for them.
There's something for everyone and their pets!
Everyone's has a unique living situation for them and their pets. The possibilities are endless for products that help to provide solutions for the specific needs of their home, outdoor living space, and the pets that are part of the family. We hope this roundup of our PetHub team's picks have inspired you with creative solutions for your own home and yard.