Dogs And Wood Fencing: Design, Maintenance And Repair Tips

27 March 2015
 Categories: , Blog

Dogs can be hard on a wooden fence, but that doesn't mean you need to give up the beauty of real cedar fencing. Proper installation and design, paired with regular maintenance and quick repairs, will keep the fence in good shape.

From the Ground Up

One of the hardest things on a cedar fence is damage to the bottom of the pickets. If your dog tries to squeeze beneath the boards or chews on them, the wood will quickly begin to split. A chewed or otherwise damaged wooden picket can also pose a splinter hazard to your pet.

When installing the fence, avoid placing it right over the lawn or a dirt bed. Dogs can easily dig through these materials and under the fence. Line the fence line with rock mulch, paving stones, or install concrete curbing, instead. Make sure the pickets are installed so they sit no more than 1 inch above the ground, too. This makes it difficult for your dog to get their jaws around the bottom of a fence board. Not only will this keep Fido from digging, it will also save the cedar from mechanical damage from weed trimmers and lawn mowers.

Sealing Is Important

Although cedar is insect and rot resistant, it's not resistant to weakening and damage from normal weathering. Keeping it sealed will help it weather any storm so the boards don't develop cracks, splintered areas, or weak points that your dog can damage further.

You may need to wait a few weeks for the fence boards to cure before you can seal them, depending on how old the boards were at installation. Your fencing contractor can advise you on whether you should wait or seal immediately. Choose a non-toxic sealer, just in case your dog does decide to try chewing on a fence board. Vegetable-based oil sealers or tung oil are non-toxic, and you only need to rub them into the wood every one to two years to keep the cedar protected. Use a clear option so the natural beauty of the cedar can show through.

Tackle the Trouble Spots

There are likely to be some trouble spots along your fence line, which will depend on your dog's personality and habits. One common trouble spot is at the bottom of the fence line, where dogs are more likely to claw and chew. You can prevent this on the interior of the fence by using landscaping plants that dissuade your dog from directly approaching the fence or by lining the bottom of the fence boards with wire mesh to prevent chewing.

The top of the fence is also a problem, especially with large, heavy dogs that try to jump. Your best options here are to make the fence taller, or to once again depend on landscaping to keep your dog back. If the issue is as simple as your dog wanting to see beyond the yard, consider installing a pet fence window lower down so your dog can see out without jumping.

Making Repairs

A small crack can quickly become a splintered mess once a dog claw gets inside. The best option is to maintain your cedar wood fence repair—remove and replace any damaged pickets as soon as you notice them. Allow the new pickets to weather slightly so they match the existing fence boards and then seal the entire fence again. Matching natural cedar isn't difficult if the fence has been consistently sealed. Otherwise you may need to paint the entire fence so it matches.

Although other fencing options may seem more resistant to dog damage compared to cedar, wood fences are a better option because they are often lower stress to your dog and your neighbors. Few dogs can break through a wood fence if you keep it in good shape, and people and events outside are less likely to bother your dog if they can't see them.