If you want to have a happy and healthy dog, letting them enjoy the outdoors is essential. Letting your dog outside ensures that they get exercise and full sensory stimulation. Whether you are going on a hike, heading to the park, or just hanging out in your backyard, being outside with your dog is a fantastic way to bond.
However, while there are many reasons to take your dog outdoors, it’s important to note that a few dangers may be lurking. Whether your dog is spending a few minutes in your yard or you are taking them on a days-long hike, understanding the dangers that the outdoors may bring is vital. Here are five things you should do when keeping your dog outside for any amount of time.
1. Know what conditions your dog can tolerate
As much as dogs love to explore, sending your pup out in extreme temperatures can do more harm than good.
Just like humans, dogs can get really sick when left out in extreme weather. Hypothermia and heat stroke are both possible if you leave your dog outside for too long in inclement conditions.
While the exact temperature limits will depend on your dog’s breed, a good rule of thumb is that dogs are at risk of heat illness in outdoor temperatures above 80 degrees. This may not seem too bad for humans, but remember that dogs have heavy coats and higher body temperatures to begin with. As for cold, most dog breeds experience chills below 40 degrees.
On days of extreme heat or cold, keep your dog outside for no more than 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Make sure they have plenty of water, and if they look tired or are showing signs of health problems, bring them inside for care. Don’t assume your dog is panting on a 90-degree day just because he’s having so much fun. He may be overheating and need a break indoors.
2. Watch for other animals
When you let your dog outdoors, they won’t be the only animals out there. Your neighbor’s pets can be aggressive, and even a simple visit to the dog park or a walk around the neighborhood can lead to a skirmish that ends in a bite wound. Watch your dog closely when they meet new four-legged friends.
Domesticated animals aren’t the only potential threat. Wild animals can be harmful when you let your dog outside. Raccoons, foxes, and coyotes are just a few wild animals that can attack your dog if provoked.
If you keep your dog chained to a stake or on a run, make sure they are a safe distance away from property lines and heavily wooded areas to avoid sudden encounters with other animals. It’s also best to bring your dog indoors at night.
Even wild animals that aren’t aggressive may be carrying dangerous diseases that your dog could contract. Rabies is deadly, so make sure your dog is up-to-date on their vaccines. The best thing you can do is to take steps to limit the amount of contact your dog has with wild animals.
3. Protect them from parasites
While some threats are large, others are quite small. Parasites are another danger to keep in mind when you let your dog outside. Dogs can contract parasites from pests like mosquitoes and ticks or by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Sometimes these parasites are life-threatening.
Common parasites that affect dogs include heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. Avoiding stagnant water where mosquitoes proliferate is essential. Also, make sure your dog doesn’t eat or drink anything outdoors that may be contaminated.
Before you let your dog outdoors, make sure they are up-to-date on their heartworm prevention treatments. Run your fingers through your dog’s fur or use a tick comb to check for fleas and ticks after they have been outside—you’ll feel little bumps if your dog has been bitten. Also, keep up with those yearly flea and tick prevention treatments.
4. Make sure they have identification
Even the best-behaved dogs can run away on occasion. Whether your dog hops the fence or runs off after a squirrel, proper identification can help you get them back safe and sound. You have a few options to consider when it comes to identification.
A sturdy collar with an ID tag is a necessity when you let your dog outside. Include your dog’s name and your phone number.
While a collar and an ID tag are great, they aren’t foolproof and can fall off. This is why getting your dog microchipped is a good idea if he’ll be spending time outdoors. A microchip is a tiny chip that’s inserted between your dog’s shoulders. Should they become lost, the chip is scanned, and your contact information pops up. If your dog already has a microchip, make sure the information is up-to-date.
5. Invest in your outdoor space
If you want to keep your dog outside often, investing in your outdoor space is the best way to prevent unwanted wild animals and keep your dog from escaping.
First, if you don’t have a fence, consider adding a dog fence to the area where you want your dog to roam safely. If you already have a barrier, you can modify your fence to prevent your dog from digging under it or jumping over it. Dog Proofer’s Dig Proofer System and Vertical Height Extension can keep your dog’s escape attempts at bay.
If your dog spends a lot of time outside, making sure they are safe and secure is vital. Investing in your outdoor space with Dog Proofer’s fencing solutions is a fantastic way to allow them to enjoy fresh air and sunshine without having to worry about them. Our experts are here to help you create a fence system that works for your dog. Call us today!