Protecting Your Deck and Dog From Each Other

When you build a beautiful deck you want it to be an outdoor space the whole family can enjoy – including four-legged family members. But sometimes our furry friends can spell trouble for our decks and vice versa.

Puppy on Deck

Here are a few tips we’ve picked up along the way for creating harmony between decks and dogs.

Protect Your Deck From Your Dog

Scratches to the Decking

Wood decking and dog’s nails aren’t a good mix. Wear and tear can happen from them running across the deck or scratching at the backdoor to let you know they want back in. The best way to ward off dog scratches on your deck is to either make your dog where booties whenever they’re outside, or use hardwood for the decking.

Hardwoods, like Ipe decking, are super dense and resilient to wear and tear. Another great benefit to using Ipe is that it doesn’t require chemical pressure treatment, so your pooch can lay on pure, natural wood.

Another way to avoid nicks and scratches is to train your dog to not run and play on the deck, which encourages them to dig in with their claws. Teach them that the yard is for play, and the deck is for relaxing.

Digging Up Planters

Many of today’s outdoor spaces bring the flora and fauna right up on the deck. While this can make for a beautiful backdrop it can also look like a perfect spot for digging to your dog. Discourage them from digging by putting planters where they can’t easily get inside them – away from seating, up a few feet so they aren’t flush with the decking, etc.

You can also try laying wire fencing within the top of the planter over the dirt to deter them from digging. Another option is to sprinkle pepper in the dirt or treat it with a spray like Liquid Fence to keep all sorts of animals out of your plants.

Chewing on the Wood

If you’ve ever seen your dog go to town on a stick during a game of fetch then you know that worrying the same might happen to your deck is warranted. To discourage your dog from chewing on your deck spray corners, edges and anywhere they may gnaw with no chew spray. The spray can be picked up at any pet store.

Another way to keep your dog from gnawing on the deck is by keeping a few toys outside for them to chew on instead.

Protect Your Dog From Your Deck

Hot Surfaces

During the summertime high temperatures and the blazing sun can turn decking into a hot plate. This will not only hurt your bare feet it will also scorch the pads of your dog’s tootsies as well. One of the best things you can do is use a sealer with UV inhibitors to help block some of the sun’s rays.

During the summer you may also want to put down a rug or two in the high traffic areas that don’t have shade.

Loose Nails

Every now and then nails can wiggle free and pop up above the board. This creates a serious hazard that can cut dogs’ pads or snag and break their own nails. Do regular maintenance checks to look for nails that may have popped up. During transitional seasons when warm and cold weather intermingle deck boards are more likely to expand and contract, which makes loose nails more likely.

Inadequate Railing

When we build railing people’s safety is the first thing that we have in mind. But if the deck is built up off the ground you may want to take extra precautions to ensure that your pets are also safe. The space between each vertical railing should be no more than four inches apart to keep pets (and small kids) from falling through.

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