Outside Dogs

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

Reasons Your Dog Belongs Indoors with You

It might often seem as though you and your dog are at odds about whether being in the house or outside is the best place for them at the moment. You know what it’s like to have your dog demand to go out, then want right back in again, sometimes regardless of the weather. However, is a dog wanting to be in and out of the house so many times during the day reason to make him or her live outside?

Unless your yard features lawn care by Lawn Doctor, there will always be enough hazards possible in your yard that could be harmful for your dog. Making a dog live outside all the time is also hurtful to his or her emotional well-being, which can have a bad effect on behavior. There are several good reasons a dog’s home should be indoors with the rest of the family.

It’s Harder to Dog-Proof a Yard

Dog-proofing your house is a lot easier than trying to dog-proof your yard and doesn’t need to be ongoing. It’s hard to tell what might attract a dog’s attention when he or she is bored, and sometimes their chosen chew toy makes no sense. Anything from a tree limb to rocks small enough to swallow is fair game.

You also need to consider what types of plants you may have in the yard that are possibly within your dog’s reach. Some popular shrubs have flowers or berries that are toxic if ingested. You also need to consider the fact that some dogs ingest waste from birds or other animals, which can make them sick and require an unplanned vet trip.

Outdoor Dogs Are Vulnerable to Animal and Human Dangers

Dogs that live outside are more likely to have encounters with other animals that result in injury or disease, both of which can be very serious. Outside dogs are more likely to roam or end up having to defend their territory against other neighborhood dogs. In areas with predatory wildlife like coyotes, dogs are at risk from them as well as other wild animals that are common rabies, distemper or parvo carriers.

Humans can also pose a serious safety threat to outside dogs, especially dogs left unsupervised for extended periods. A bored outdoor dog that barks excessively or frequently escapes from a yard might become a target for a vindictive neighbor who chooses not to address you first. There are also teenagers and adults who harm unattended animals, and they are difficult to keep away from dogs that are unattended much of the time

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Living Outside is Psychologically Harmful for a Dog

Although some breeds do well and thrive in mostly outdoor working environments, life outdoors does not suit most pet dogs without a specific job to do. Over the years, dogs have evolved to spend a lot of time with the people in their lives. When a dog spends most of his or her time outside without family contact, their lives are unfulfilled.

Keeping a dog outside increases isolation, which also contributes to anti-social behavior that can cause trouble for owners. Dogs that aren’t around people very much are more likely to exhibit fear or territorial aggression toward unfamiliar people, including children. Dogs that do not have as much of a sense of belonging within their family are also less well-behaved because there is less incentive for good behavior.

Choosing to have your dog live indoors and be a part of your family helps keep your dog healthier and happier. You’ll spend less time worrying about your dog’s safety and your neighbors’ happiness with your dog as well.

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