Strictly outdoor dogs are becoming a thing of history. Not that long ago, it was common for the family pet to live solely outside. But these days we’ve learned that can be risky to a dog’s health.
Dog Dangers in the Great Outdoors
Possible dangers to your canine friend include: pesticides, toxic plants, wildlife, and most importantly, weather. Dogs can absolutely freeze to death or succumb to heat stroke.
Cold temperatures are dangerous for any dog, but short-haired dogs, young pups, older dogs, and sick dogs are more vulnerable to hypothermia. Signs of hypothermia include: weakness, shivering, lack of mental alertness, fatigue, and shallow breathing. If the temperature outside falls to 40 degrees F or below, it’s recommended to bring your pet indoors. Healthy, longer haired breeds can take colder temps, but they should be brought in when it dips to zero on the thermostat.
Hot temperatures come with equal challenges. The most susceptible breed are the short-nosed dogs, as they can get heat stroke easier from their lack of ability to cleanse their bodies of heat through panting.
The signs of heat stroke include: drooling, excessive panting, and deep red gums. Heat stroke can be fatal if not treated. Most dogs are okay in the heat as long as there is shade. In some parts of the country, humidity adds to unbearable hot weather conditions. Dogs, like people, have individual susceptibilities, and some may be more sensitive to hot and cold weather than other dogs.
How To Safely Keep Your Dog Outdoors
Even though experts agree keeping your dog indoors is best, there are times when your pet might have to stay outside. If you have to leave your pet outside for a lengthy time period, take precautions to protect them.
In the cold seasons, invest in a doghouse with insulation and a waterproof roof. Try an outdoor pet heating blanket to put inside the doghouse. Some stores even offer heating pads that cool in the summer months. A smaller house is better, as it retains heat faster and more effectively. The house should be large enough for your dog to stand up in and to turn around. If you have more than one pet, they should each have their own house. Dogs also need access to drinkable water during winter. Make sure to check and fill as needed. And if you really want to keep things cosy, try a heated water bowl for your pet.
In the warmer months, dogs need access to someplace that has shade all day (even when the sun isn’t directly on them) and lots of drinkable water. To keep a lightweight bowl from toppling over, it’s recommended to dig a hole in the dirt and secure the bowl in it. Putting a bit of ice in the water is a smart thing to do and can help keep the water cool throughout the day. When it’s baking hot out, have somewhere for your pet to sleep that is raised off the hot ground.
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