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Is it wrong to keep a dog outside? Why or why not?

Bone Broth For Dogs

Many people have pets. Some find them cute and cuddly while others consider their furry friends to be little helpers who can lend a hand around the house. Whatever your thoughts on animals may be, one thing most owners want to know about is how long they should expect these critters to stick around once they’ve moved into the family home.

It’s no surprise that this question comes up often when talking about dogs since many breeders will sell puppies as young as 8 weeks old — even those under 4 pounds! (And there are some breeds like pit bulls that are well known to bite.) But what happens when we bring our new puppy home after its first birthday but still leave him/her inside all day? Is he/she safe from predators? Can he/she get sick? What would happen if someone tried to break in? And what are the consequences of letting him go back out?

Asking yourself questions like these is important so you can make sure you’re making decisions based off facts rather than fear. Keep reading to learn more about whether it’s OK to let your canine pal roam free in the yard.

The benefits of keeping your pet outdoors

One reason people choose to own pets is because they help us feel better when things aren’t going right at work or school. For example, imagine having a friend in need during tough times. We’ll talk to coworkers, classmates, bosses and loved ones alike without feeling guilty or ashamed. Pets also provide unconditional love, which is something humans simply cannot give. They don’t care what kind of mood you’re in or how stressed you might be by your circumstances.

Soaking up affection from a loving pup means everything. Animals also offer companionship and entertainment through playtime. If you’ve ever watched a cat meowing incessantly to try to communicate to you, then you understand how pets enjoy communicating with us. Dogs in particular use vocalization to show us where they’d like us to walk next. This helps relieve boredom, anxiety, stress and depression. Finally, pets lower blood pressure and improve heart health, both physical and mental. In fact, owning a pet has been shown to reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease. All of this makes sense considering that studies suggest humans emit over 80% fewer endorphins compared to other mammals such as bears. Now that’s just plain good news.

But before you decide to take the leap and add another animal member to your household, remember that certain breeds require special attention. Read on to see what precautions to take when choosing your next best friend.

Pets aren’t always welcome everywhere, though. Many cities now ban pets altogether due to hygiene issues, especially regarding flea control. Be sure to check local regulations before bringing yours indoors.

Dangers that come with an outdoor life

Keep your dog close by whenever you venture out. This way, you won’t miss a sudden attack or accident that could harm either party involved. You should carry extra food, water, medications, leashes and collars in case you become separated. A collar with identification tags is crucial. Other items include a cell phone, blanket, flashlight, plastic bags for poop removal and paper towels for cleaning wounds.

If your pooch isn’t used to being left alone, he/she may develop separation anxiety, which causes excessive barking, whining and pacing. These behaviors are normal, although severe cases usually occur only if the pet was neglected and abused previously. The worst-case scenario involves aggression toward strangers or other animals. It’s essential to seek professional assistance immediately if you suspect any type of abuse. Also, never allow anyone else to handle your pet without your supervision unless you fully trust them. Signs of abuse include scars, burns, welts, torn ears and missing fur. Your vet will likely perform a full examination, including x-rays, to determine the extent of injuries sustained.

A few common diseases transmitted between animals and humans are rabies, distemper, parvo virus and Lyme disease [sources: ASPCA]. Fleas, ticks and worms can cause serious illness, particularly in older dogs. To avoid exposure, wash clothes, blankets and bedding regularly. Clean up feces promptly to prevent flies laying eggs. Use insect repellent containing DEET or Picaridin on exposed areas. Proper sanitation and vaccination ensure disease prevention.

Even if you follow proper safety measures, accidents can happen. Read on to discover ways to protect your beloved pet and yourself from injury.

While the idea of leaving your pet unattended sounds scary, it does pose less danger than allowing children to crawl underneath cars, jump onto moving trains or ride horses bareback.

What are the pros and cons of keeping a dog in your backyard?

Keeping Fido near you doesn’t mean you have to confine him/her completely. There are plenty of opportunities to exercise him/her within the four walls of your home. However, before doing so, think carefully about the situation. Here are two scenarios involving different types of dogs. First, let’s say you live in a quiet neighborhood with low crime rates. While walking down the street, you spot a stray dog roaming freely. Would you approach it? Most people wouldn’t. Instead, they’d probably call the authorities or wait until it leaves. On the flip side, suppose you’re living in a high-crime area and notice three men lurking in front of your garage door. Should you confront them? Probably not. Again, waiting for the criminals to move along is the safer option.

So how do you balance indoor time with outdoor excursions? Make sure to set boundaries for your pet. Set a schedule that allows your dog enough freedom to run around safely yet gives you ample warning if he/she decides to bolt away unexpectedly. When setting rules, establish clear commands for situations like “stay” and “come.” Try using verbal cues instead of physical force to train him/her. Once you’ve mastered basic obedience techniques, you can teach advanced skills like sit, stay and heel. Afterward, reward progress with praise and treats. Always supervise your pet closely when training. Never punish him/her for behavior problems. Remember to brush his/her teeth every night. Don’t forget to feed and clean up messes. With practice, you’ll soon gain confidence and control over your pet.

You’ll need patience and willpower when dealing with aggressive dogs. Before taking your pet outside, ask yourself if you have experience handling dangerous situations. Consider asking neighbors or other trusted individuals to assist you. Ideally, you’ll pick up a buddy willing to spend regular hours with your pet. Ask potential partners beforehand if they plan to spay and neuter their dogs or cats, as well as their cats’ history of biting small children.

Lastly, take note of your surroundings. Are there signs prohibiting pets anywhere nearby? Do streets have uneven sidewalks or sharp corners that could injure your pet? Does your property lack adequate fencing or lighting? Take these elements into consideration when deciding whether to keep your pet outside.

Your decision depends largely upon several variables, depending on the nature of your relationship with your pet. You must weigh the risks and rewards of each option thoroughly before committing to anything. Think twice before adopting a shelter pet. Shelters place animals whose needs outweigh human interests above those requiring immediate placement. Adoption agencies strive to match homeless pets with families who will treat them humanely and responsibly.

How do you know if your dog is too much for you?

Some experts recommend avoiding large-scale, active games like frisbee chasing, tugging matches and similar activities. Such sports put both parties at risk of injury. Even playing fetch requires extreme caution since the ball can roll far beyond reach. Large objects lying around the yard present additional hazards. Tossing tennis balls, footballs or Frisbees poses less threat than running around naked, blindfolded or holding sticks. In general, smaller toys are preferable. Avoid putting furniture, plants or trash cans near the perimeter of your lawn. If you must use larger pieces of equipment, secure them properly. Otherwise, debris could fly up and hit your pet.

Since dogs breathe through their mouths, inhaling dirt particles increases chances of infection. Wash faces and hands frequently, preferably with soap and warm water. Dispose of dirty diapers promptly. Have your pet checked by a veterinarian annually. Veterinarians typically conduct routine exams followed by annual vaccinations.

Wear sturdy shoes, gloves and protective eyewear while gardening, mowing grass and performing other strenuous tasks. Wearing loose clothing can expose your skin to harmful chemicals found in pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides. Wear goggles and cover your face with a mask to shield against dust and pollen.

Remember that you are responsible for your pet’s survival. That said, it’s natural to worry about your dog getting injured or sick. Talk to your veterinarian about possible symptoms related to specific illnesses and conditions. He/she can advise you further about treatment options. Just like humans, pets sometimes suffer adverse reactions to medication. Know your dog’s medical history, temperament and diet preferences before treating him/her. Vet visits cost money, but they save lives. Discuss financial arrangements with your partner and prepare yourselves emotionally. You’ll be spending quality time together, interacting daily.

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