Pets thrive in outdoor living environments just as we do. What better way to show we care – and also protect the investment we make in our landscaping – than by creating a pet-friendly outdoor living space.

A run will ensure that your backyard does not become a pet washroom and will allow you to give your pets the fresh air, exercise and safety they need, without having to fence in your backyard. Also, enclosing cats in a run is a good way to save neighbourhood birds from being hunted and killed by your expert feline huntresses.

Additionally, making this an ideal living space for a dog or cat is one way to ensure you don’t feel bad leaving Mr. Ruffles or Miss Meow alone in the house all day. You will know you have done your best to make her space as comfortable as possible.

Dog Run

While planning your dog run, assure the height is comfortable for your dog. Smaller dogs only need a four-foot high space, while larger dogs will need more room and thrive in a six-foot high space or more. Width is important as well. Your dog should be able to turn comfortably.

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Choose a proper ground cover  – sometimes the main reason pet owners choose to house their dog in a run is because they destroy the grass, so real grass is not a great option for ground cover in a dog run. Artificial turf is, however, a viable option the days. Easy on the paws and quick to clean up, artificial turf is great for those homeowners who love the look of green grass.

Pine Bark Nuggets is an option for those who don’t want to spend a lot and want lower maintenance. Pine Bark Nuggets are a great choice because they tend to absorb the odor of dog urine. Cleaning out the run and replacing with fresh pine nuggets every few months will keep the environment healthy for your pet, and will keep odors at bay.

Cement pads are another option, although they can be a bit pricier. A cement pad is a great option as it’s a solid foundation for the dog run, and super easy to clean with a quick spray from the hose.

The middle of the road option, not as expensive as the cement pad, is the pea gravel and stepping stone option. In addition to looking great and being easy to maintain, pea gravel is safe for your pets. The smooth, spherical nature of the pebbles make them comfortable to walk on. The stones remain relatively cool when subject to sunlight, but can also be hosed down for added cooling. Additionally, pea gravel is too large for a dog to swallow and too hard to make chewing on the pebbles attractive.

Also, make sure there are shady areas in the dog run, as well as a shelter. This way you’ve got all your bases covered and your furry pal won’t get too hot, or cold, depending on the elements.


Don’t forget your kitty either! Cats love outdoor spaces and relish a little sleeping area of their own. While we think of cats as roaming free in the great outdoors, if you live in an urban area, you may find that local bylaws restrict your cats’ movements. Additionally, if you live by a busy street, you might not want your cat having to dart past cars to come home. If you would prefer to keep your cat safe on your property, you should consider creating a catio.

Catios are designed to give cats all the exercise and stimulation they need to have a great day. Felines are natural hunters and like to stay off the ground. Multiple levels, challenging high, skinny walkways and scratching posts are generally the components of a catio that cats will adore.

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Creating an outdoor living space for your pet is a great project, but you might not have builder skills. Lucky for you, there are many amazing landscapers and outdoor builders that can help you design the ideal space. If you hire a pro, write a review and let them know how much your pets love their outdoor space!

Posted by Leslie Andrachuk