The Hidden Knife in Your Backyard, A Serious Danger to Your Dog

This poses more of a problem than you might realize

This poses more of a problem than you might realize

I can’t believe it is April!!!  This winter was much colder and harsher than last winter.  Here I was thinking that Virginia winters were not bad at all, and compared to Wyoming and Wisconsin they really aren’t.

Last year I have planted my garden by now, but considering we had our biggest snow about 2 weeks ago, I think I am going to opt out of in ground planting for a bit.

I love having a garden, I hated it as a kid because my parents made us do all the weeding but as an adult I have learned some tricks of the trade and if you do it right you don’t have to weed as much!

I also like planting some exotic things.  It is difficult if not impossible to get much of anything to grow in Wyoming so it is kind of exciting to live in a warmer, wetter climate where I can have things like a fig tree and other fruit trees.

So as I was perusing the new lawn and garden stuff of the year the other day at my local farm store I noticed one of my arch enemies when it comes to dog health.

Metal Lawn Edging!!!

This is so dangerous!

This is so dangerous!

I can’t believe they even make the stuff anymore because it is so dangerous!

It is kind of like putting a huge knife outside sharp side up and hoping no one steps on it.

Sure metal lawn edging looks all innocent at first when you buy it, it may have rounded metal edges or you may even purchase some plastic or rubber to cover the sharp edge thinking that will keep anyone from harm.

But metal lawn edging wears like metal, over time it gets sharper and begins cutting through the cover or the rolled edge breaks and is even sharper.

Some varieties even rust, making a wound worse.

I have seen lawn edging nearly cut dog toes off; causing irreparable tendon damage.

Not only is it dangerous and the damage usually severe, it is also expensive and totally avoidable, they make plastic lawn edging too.

When it is Worst

Eventually metal Lawn Edging Usually Cuts Through Even the Best Covers

Eventually metal Lawn Edging Usually Cuts Through Even the Best Covers

I think we saw more incidences of lawn edging cutting feet during the winter when snow covered it.  I think dogs can naturally avoid stepping on things when they can see it, not that they do when they are playing but on average I think they aren’t as likely to step on it when they can see it.

But when you cover a large metal knife wound around the yard with snow and send your dog outside he is more likely to step on it.

I have hated metal lawn edging ever since I saw the first paw cut, so I knew I would never have a dog that suffered a cut because I knew I would never put it in… but I use to pet sit.

One day, while pet sitting, I let my dog out to play with my friend’s dog in the snow.  When I let them inside blood was literally spraying all over the carpet.  Thank goodness I was a vet tech when it happened and it was just my day off!  I used a tourniquet, wrapped his foot and rushed to my work.

I could actually see his tendon, but thankfully he had not cut it.

We were lucky, he just had to have a quick emergency surgery.

Severe Damage can be Done to a Paw in a Quick Amount of Time

Severe Damage can be Done to a Paw in a Quick Amount of Time

Why I worry

I worry about dogs that have doggy doors who could lose a severe amount of blood before their owners get home.

I also feel bad for the dogs who’s toes become immobile and drag because of the tendon damage.

Not only is it expensive, it is traumatic to everyone involved.

I Have Heard…

I have heard that dogs are not the only ones to suffer.  I have a friend in the ER world and she tells me kids come in occasionally with lawn edging cuts as well.

Kids are better at avoiding it, but when they play games and aren’t paying attention they too can inadvertently step on it.

What Can You Do?

This is a better alternative and beautiful!

This is a better alternative and beautiful!

If you have it remove it!  Even the best covers can eventually be cut through by the aging metal!

Don't let your dog play in a yard that you can't check!  If it is snowy and you don't know the yard, take your dog out on a leash until you can inspect the yard.

There are plastic varieties of lawn edging that will just break or bend if stepped on and this is safer, it might not last as long but it is much safer.

Or, you can use things like big rocks or bricks to build a barrier between things.

If you need more help or advice I am sure your local lawn and garden store would love to help!

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  1. joann murnane says:

    thanks for the very important info.


  2. Lori says:

    Thanks! I don’t have any, thank goodness and I certainly won’t get any after your warning.


  3. OMG – Thank you!!!! I am putting a link to this on the Forum.. a MUST read for everyone.


  4. Liz Miller says:

    Thanks. I was always having problems with the dog cutting her feet but apparently the Egyptians have been packing wounds with sugar for 4 centuries which would have saved me a lot of bother as the dog was always walking on the wound in her paw and opening it up again. iy heals in no time apparently.


  5. Deidra kellerman says:

    Thanks for tellin me that , I love gardening too! Never thought that could be dangerous , could thing I don’t use it!


  6. Debby says:

    I know exactly what you are talking about. When I was working at a veterinary clinic a St. Bernard came in with his rear Paw literally cut in half. Of course they waited so long to get it repaired that we had to remove half of his rear foot. He does well but it would’ve been nice if they would Have brought him in sooner. However they did remove the edging and replaced it with bricks. At least they did that much.


  7. Ty says:

    Thanks for the wonderful “heads up!” I was just about to purchase some kind of edging to protect my perennials from the encroaching lawn — and had just about settled on metal edging. SO glad I read this post. My 18 month-old Standard Poodle is extremely active, very smart about not going into the garden, but of course he will make mistakes sometimes. Thanks for the help. Ty


  8. Betty Kozanecki says:

    I have never seen this product, thank goodness it is not available in Australia!!!!


    Irene Reply:

    Yes, we do.


  9. Susanne says:

    We had that stuff in the backyard when we first moved into our current home. Took it out immediately because it doesn’t really work. Luckily, we didn’t have any injuries, but we could have considering how Buddy and Macy play and chase. Thank you for the warning!


  10. amala says:

    my gosh – my husband organised for our friend who does gardening to put this around our edges in the back yard ….. i just said a flat out NO – but for no other reason than i didn’t think we needed it ….. am so glad i didn’t let them go ahead with it.
    this info is so vital to know about as i think quite a lot of people are using this these days as a cheap and quick way to get a good edge between garden and lawn …….

    thanks for giving out this info
    will spread the word.


  11. June Pound says:

    Hi Chet

    No we don’t have anything quite like that here in Australia, thank goodness. It looks lethal, especially when covered in snow which we only have in the mountains here!

    But at least it makes you aware of the dangers of things around in unexpected places. I had a kelpie once who sliced his tendon on a piece of broken glass in the park after messy football supporters had left their rubbish on the ground. The operation to repair the damage slowed him down for a while but the vet did a good job of repairing it. He never had a limp. (I think kelpies are unique to Aussie. I cannot see how I would normally attach a photo in this comment).



  12. Jean says:

    Thanks for the info on knives in he back yard.
    I don’t have any and be sure I will never have any.


  13. Klaus Peters says:

    I am fully aware of this. Have owned several dogs and my backyard is designed to make it safe for my canine friends. Our Rotti is appreciating the flat concrete and brick borders. Also any bulb plants are out of reach.


  14. JanineJulian says:

    thank you so much our neighbors have had this for years and I have been pleading with them to remove it I think your article did the trick they have for dogs !
    keep the great information coming all the best


  15. Bev says:

    This is good to know. I don’t have this kind of edging & doubt If I would ever think about getting it. Thanks for the info.


  16. Gene Wagner says:

    I have a 19 month German Shepard I lost her companion a 9yr Aussie to cancer 28th of Feb. Lizzie seemed very lonely so we adopted a 14 month German Shepard from a rescue she is a wonderful dog. I’m having trouble getting them to accept each other, what should I do?


  17. Dj says:

    I didn’t realize this still existed. I fell on some when I was very young (about 60 years ago) and I still have the scar on my right hand to prove it. Its bad stuff, get rid of it!


  18. Brenda says:

    Gene, We have a 4yr old and 5yr old German Shepherd. The 4 yr old Olivia was a rescue 2 years ago. Although Gabby was queen of the roost and we were told that we should have been warned that two females was not a great idea, they are doing great. Olivia had a fear aggression with other dogs but we gave lots of love and workout time and training class for Livie and now they are both Princesses with an occasional sibling argument as to who is the first in line for the throne. Just my unprofessional feedback.


  19. rheva says:

    We moved into a new house and didn’t know that they had edged the gardens with this. One of my dogs as well as a neighbor dog were injured the same day. My dog actually hit an artery in his foot, we couldn’t stop the bleeding and barely made it to the vet. The other dog just had a minor laceration, thank goodness. It wasn’t even an old house, but the builder just hadn’t been thinking. It’s a serious risk. If you aren’t sure you should check it out, if I had been at work rather than home my dog would have died.


    Minette Reply:

    Thank you for sharing your story, I am sorry for you and your dog but I am glad you were there!


  20. Marsha O says:

    Do not forget that many of the bark mulch is deadly to dogs


  21. Louise Brodnitz says:

    Saw this as I was researching metal edging for our yard. Thanks! I’m going to link to this from the Border Terrier forum I’m on. But does anyone have any suggestions other than bricks or plastic?


  22. Thank you soo much for the heads up! I never thought of this and it’s interesting how we think of kids in this but what about our pets. Really great post. Thank you!


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