If you have a dog, one of the questions you may ask yourself is whether or not you should leave them outside. If you have a secure, fenced yard, you might let your dog out occasionally to play or run on their own, but are there risks of even doing that?
For example, what if your dog is kept outside and escapes and bites someone in your neighborhood? Are you then responsible for that?
The following are things to know about keep in mind as far as keeping your dog outside.
Protecting Your Dog From the Elements
If you do keep your dog outside, even sometimes, it’s so important that you protect him from the elements.
The sun’s harsh rays can be damaging to a dog quickly, and if a dog can’t escape from warmth, he can overheat and he won’t be able to self-regulate his body temperature.
Dogs can also get sunburned. Make sure your dog has a place where he can go to escape the sun.
Pavement and sand can burn a dog’s feet too.
Even during the colder months, make sure you protect your dog from the elements with an insulated doghouse. If your dog has short hair, he will need a sweater or jacket when he’s outside.
If you live somewhere there’s lots of snow, you’ll need to make sure your dog always has a path to talk, and if the snow reaches his neck he could get lost.
Know how to spot warning signs of heatstroke in a dog such as vomiting or blue or red gums or tongues. Signs of hypothermia include a weak pulse, dilated pupils, and a decreased heart rate.
If your dog is going to be spending time outdoors alone, he needs a fence that will not only prevent him from getting out but also keep wild animals from getting in.
Your dog should not be able to access any part of your home or yard where there are toxic chemicals, and your dog should always have access to water and food.
What If Your Dog Bites Someone?
If you leave your dog outside and he escapes and goes on to bite someone, there are laws that could hold you responsible. There are around 4.5 million dog bites in the U.S. every year and based on the circumstances and where you live, you could face a civil suit.
Along with your dog’s safety and well-being, the risk of your dog hurting someone is one more reason you need to make sure your fence is secure, and access is restricted if your dog goes out on his own.
Do Dogs Do Better Indoors?
While letting your dog out to play every once in a while isn’t a problem as long as you do it safely, many animal experts don’t feel like keeping a dog outside fulltime is ideal.
Dogs are social animals, and that means that they aren’t going to be happy outdoors all alone. A dog that is always outside isn’t going to be running and playing either. They’ll likely just wait for you outside most of the time.
Outdoor dogs are less socialized, and this can make them more likely to bite humans or other animals and outdoor dogs are more often turned over to shelters.
If you keep your dog outside all the time, it can cause them to feel stressed and develop poor behavioral problems including being too aggressive, barking and digging.
Your dog is ideally going to want to be outside with you for their exercise.
What About Bringing an Outdoor Dog Inside?
It is possible to transition a primarily outdoor dog to indoor living, but it can take some time.
You may need to work on behavior modification with your dog so that he can prepare to live indoors.
On the other hand, doing the reverse and turning an indoor dog into an outdoor dog is a terrible idea.
Finally, while larger dog breeds with thick coats may be better spending more time outdoors, small dogs shouldn’t ever be outside dogs. It would be easier for a small or even medium dog to freeze to death, even with an insulated dog house.
While going outside isn’t bad for dogs, they are social, and they need to be able to be around humans and other dogs to be their happiest. You also have to take safety concerns into consideration when you’re deciding what’s best for your dog.