If you are the proud parent of a fur ball that loves to be outdoors and you have a deck, you can pet-proof your deck to give your pet a safe place to enjoy being outside. Here are a few safety features to consider.
Choose a Deck Railing Safety Feature
The deck railing may have slats large enough for your pet to get through—or get stuck in if it tries to climb through them. Depending on the size of your pet, you may want to consider replacing the existing deck railing with a system that has balusters that are closer together than what you currently have. This will create narrower openings.
Alternatively, attach plexiglass to the railing to prevent your curious pet from escaping through the railing or getting stuck. A plexiglass panel running the full length of the deck railing may be the best option for small pets. If your pet is tiny, be sure to install the plexiglass close to the deck to keep your fur ball from getting underneath the railing.
Install a Latching Gate
Transform your deck into a play pen by installing a latching gate. Fortunately there are pet-proof latches available on the market for parents of pets that may have been Houdini in a previous life. If you cannot find a pet-proof latch you like, install a latch on top of the gate or on the outside of the gate and railing system to prevent your pet from accidentally or intentionally opening the latch mechanism to open the gate.
If you plan on keeping your pet outside on the deck for long periods of time, especially throughout the day when the sun and heat could become unbearable, it's important to provide your pet with a supply of water. The problem with this, however, is that water could damage the deck if the deck is not protected with a sealant.
Also, the type of water bowl you use should be carefully considered. Avoid using steel or glass. A steel dish could cause the water to get too hot for your pet to drink. A glass dish could cause your deck to scorch if sunlight passes through the glass. Plastic dishes are the best choice for outdoor use.
Install a Potty Area
While your pet is out on the deck, it may need to pee and poo at some point. Provide a potty area on the deck. This can be accomplished by installing a short box filled with either soil or planted grass. Be sure to allow for drainage of the soil by placing small holes underneath the box, which should be placed directly over the gaps in between the decking.
Alternatively, sand can be used instead to create an area similar to that of a kitty litter box. However, be careful when considering this option if you have a dog that loves to dig. Whichever method you choose, you can hide the area behind planters if you'd like the potty area to be hidden.
Eliminate Weeds & Plants Underneath the Deck
If your deck is close to the ground, you'll want to get rid of any weeds and greenery underneath the deck. The reason for doing this is to prevent ticks from being able to get from underneath the deck to your pet when it lays on the deck to bask in the sun.
Remove weeds and greenery by pulling them out by the roots or by using chemicals. Cover the soil with a landscaping barrier to prevent future growth. However, if you do this, remember to hose down the landscaping barrier every so often to wash away urine and dirt.
For more information and help with making your deck pet-proof, contact professional contractors, such as those at Rainier Fencing & Decking.