SUBMITTED BY: OPEI AND TURFMUTT

When Cupid comes calling for Valentine’s Day, love is in the air.
But Lucky the TurfMutt, a former street dog who is now the spokesdog of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s (OPEI) environmental education program, wants to remind you not to forget about showering your furry family members with adoration, as well. Your pet’s favorite “room” is your outdoor living room, so why not complete a project or two in your family yard that will demonstrate to your pet just how much you love her?
Here are five of TurfMutt’s most-loved improvements you can try in your own yard.
Create a special area in the family yard just for Fido. Consider installing a small pool or pond for splashing and staying cool. Or, add a decorative pergola to create a shady spot for afternoon naps.
Select plants with your pet in mind. Some plants and shrubs are poisonous to pets. Cross-reference your plant picks with the ASPCA’s list of toxic plants.
Plant hardy grass. Skip the artificial turf – it gets too hot for your dog’s paws, and it requires hosing off to clean it (not very environmentally friendly!). Buffalo and Bermuda grasses are robust varieties that can withstand pet traffic.
Create a path for your pooch. Dogs love to run! They will often patrol your property, and it’s tough to redirect them once they have picked a route they like. Embrace the puppy pathway by denoting it with decorative stones, wooden planks or mulch – a material that won’t hurt your dog’s paws or create a maintenance headache for you.
Designate a hydration station. Playing outside is hard work, and you’ll want to make sure your pet always has access to clean, fresh water. You can get fancy by adding a fountain or connecting an accessory to your outdoor spigot, which creates an automatic pet drinking fountain. Or, keep it simple with a bowl that you replenish regularly.

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