Leaving your dog outside while at work may seem like the most convenient option, but it’s not always the safest or most comfortable choice for your furry friend. While some dogs may be perfectly fine outside with an adequate setup, it’s important to consider the potential hazards and emergencies that can occur.
Choking and Poison Hazards
Leaving your dog outside without supervision can put them at risk of consuming items that could be hazardous to their health, such as acorns, pinecones, grass clumps, mulch, rocks, and toxic mushrooms or garden flowers.
Hot and Cold Temperatures
Extreme temperatures can also put your dog in danger. When temperatures exceed 80°–85°F, your dog will become more susceptible to heat stress, which could lead to heat stroke and a variety of other issues. On the other hand, cold weather that drops a dog’s body temperature below 99°F can cause lethargy, irregular breathing, and other signs of hypothermia.
Your dog may also encounter unwanted interactions while outside, such as a run-in with raccoons or snakes. Additionally, fence fighting can be a potentially dangerous situation that could put your dog in harm’s way.
Escape or Theft
If a dog is left outside unsupervised, there is also the potential risk of escape or theft. A bored dog may become agitated and destructive, leading to potential escape by digging behavior. Alternatively, purebred dogs may be targeted for theft, as they can command high-dollar prices in quick, one-off sales.
Is it Legal to Leave a Dog Outside When You’re Gone?
While it’s generally legal to leave your dog outside in a contained area, local laws often define reasonable limits and even prohibit certain practices, such as leaving your dog tethered in an open yard.
Keeping Your Dog Inside While at Work
Keeping your dog inside while you’re at work is a safer and more comfortable option. Crate training is the foundation of making your dog comfortable while you’re away, building positive associations with the crate as a safe space. Gradually increasing the time you’re away from your dog will build their tolerance to being alone, and eventually, they will be able to be inside for several hours.
How to Make Your Dog Comfortable Inside
When you’re leaving your dog at home, provide them with a pet-proofed, non-carpeted area, such as a laundry room, and all of the essentials like food and water dishes, toys, and their crate. Make sure to come home on lunch breaks to let your dog out, but if you can’t, arrange for a dog walker. Providing them with plenty of exercise before leaving for the day will help tire them out and reduce restlessness.
While keeping your dog outside may seem convenient, it’s not always the best choice for their safety and comfort. Always prioritize training and providing a safe and comfortable indoor environment, while still making accommodations for exercise and bathroom breaks. With these tips, you can make the best decision for both you and your furry friend.