Give Your Pets Some Yard Time


This article was written for Pet Guardian Angels of America by Mikkie Mills

Why You Should Give Your Pet Some Time in the Backyard

Photo by Pexels

During the coronavirus pandemic, you have probably been spending most of your time inside.  Yet this is not healthy for you or your pet. Both of you need to experience a bit of the outdoors.  While you may not be able to go to the beach or park yet, you can still enjoy your backyard.  Even if your yard is dirty or full of weeds, an Indianapolis lawn care company can help clean it up so it is safe for your pet. Below are some reasons to give your pet some outdoor time.

Weight Control

Dogs and cats can easily become overweight if they lay around the house all day. As with humans, weight gain can cause serious health problems in pets. Bringing your pet outside allows him to get some much-needed exercise.

Mental Stimulation

Outdoor activity doesn’t just improve a pet’s physical well-being. It can also be good for his mental state . When he goes outside, he can enjoy new sounds, smells and sights that stimulate his senses.

Even just hanging out in the yard gives him a break from the monotony of his daily life inside the house. If he stays inside all day, he could get bored and restless. This could lead to aggressive tendencies or behavioral problems.

Vitamin D

Animals need vitamin D just as people do. It promotes heart health and bone development.  While pets such as dogs can get vitamin D from their diet, sunlight helps in this regard, as well.  Laying near a sunny window can help. However, for more direct exposure to vitamin D, your pet should go outside.

Even rabbits can benefit from some extra vitamin D. That is because many pet rabbits develop metabolic bone disease, a condition that negatively affects their development. A lack of vitamin D can prevent them from absorbing the calcium they need for their bones and teeth. This can cause their bones to form improperly. It can also lead to dental issues, including teeth infection
and malformation.

Sunlight can decrease the chances of a rabbit developing this condition. When you do take him outside, just be sure to watch him closely so he doesn’t get snatched by a hungry hawk or fox.  Keep in mind, however, that some pets can develop skin cancer if they spend too much time in the sun. This is particularly true for dogs with light coats or pink noses. Rabbits also should not be in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. They are unable to sweat and thus can quickly overheat when temperatures are above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Excess vitamin D can also be damaging for dogs. In particular, large quantities of the vitamin can be toxic for the liver. You should thus avoid giving your dog vitamin D supplements.

Fresh Air

Indoor air can be full of toxins, from cleaning solutions to gases that emanate from carpets or plastic. Fresh air is generally healthier for animals, unless you live in a humid area that is prone to smog.

Even small rodents such as hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs can appreciate some sunlight and fresh air. However, these animals are also prey for birds or other larger wild animals. They thus might be easily stressed in outdoor environments. Rodents can also easily suffer frostbite in the cold or get overheated in the sun. They thus should not be brought outside for more than
10 or 15 minutes a day.

When you do take your pet outside, there are some basic rules you should follow. Avoid leaving him alone for an extended period of time. Otherwise, he may get bored and start digging up your garden. You should also put a name tag on your pet, even in the backyard. The tag should contain both his name and your contact information. That way, if your pet does escape, whoever
finds him can return him to you.

Pets of all sizes enjoy roaming free outdoors. You should thus be sure to give your furry friend some time outdoors this summer.

Mikkie Mills, is a freelance writer who often writes about family, home improvements and the occasional DIY project.