Should dogs be indoor or outdoor pets? – Part 7

Dangers of Keeping your Dogs Outdoors

If you make the decision to become a dog owner, you should first carefully consider the depth of care in which you are willing to provide. These days, more and more pet owners consider their pets to be a “part of the family” and as such, should be cared for with the most loving consideration. Before deciding whether you want your new “family member” to be an inside or outside dog, you must first understand the risks and dangers of exposing them to an outside inhabitance.

Skin Cancer in Dogs

As with humans, the harsh rays of the sun can cause deadly skin cancers. “”Squamous Cell Carcinoma” is a common type of skin cancer recognized on many domestic animals that have been under prolonged exposure to the sun. Light-haired or thinly haired dogs are even more susceptible to these types of cancers. Tumors caused by this type of cancer can grow and spread quickly and eventually lead to death.

Diseases Caused by Fleas, Ticks and Mosquitoes

Fleas and ticks are almost unavoidable in an outside environment. Even well-maintained lawns cannot completely avoid the ambush of these pesky blood-feeding parasites. Fleas latch on and breed quickly causing not only misery and discomfort to your dog(s), but can also cause other deadly parasites like tapeworms. Ticks embed themselves in the warm, sweaty areas of a dog’s body like the armpits, behind the neck and around the ears and engorge themselves on blood. They can transmit diseases like Lyme Disease, which can cause anemia, joint swelling or even kidney failure. Mosquitoes breed in standing or stagnant water and can carry and transfer deadly heartworm larvae to your dog. When bitten by an infected mosquito, the larvae travels through the bloodstream to your dog’s heart, eventually clogging the heart and arteries in the lungs. Heartworms are one of the leading killer of dogs and can remain undetected for several months.

Poisonous Plants

Your lavish garden may contain many hidden dangers to your dog. Ivies, nightshade plants and a number of other flowering plants can be deadly if ingested. More common toxic plants are Azaleas, Elephant Ears, Caladium, Philodendrons and Poinsettia. An extensive list of these plants and the dangers that they pose can be found on ASPCA.org. The ASPCA website contains an extensive list of plants that have been reported as being harmful to dogs. When ingested, these dangerous plants can cause failures to the cardiovascular system, respiratory system and other vital organs and can be fatal.

Dogs are as helpless and unaware of certain dangers as children. They do not know how to tell if a plant is toxic or just another yummy treat. They cannot tell if they have had enough sun for the day. Fenced-in enclosures and well-constructed doghouses can make a dog’s life a bit more comfortable and safe, but these accommodations can only protect them from a small number of dangers that lurk outside. Owning a dog is a huge responsibility. If properly groomed and trained, having a dog indoors can be quite manageable. Dogs need love, care, attention and a safe environment. Keeping a dog outdoors can not only lead to expensive veterinary costs, but could also lead to the undeserved misery of a loyal companion.

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