A World Out of Reach

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If we tried to invent the cruelest punishment for dogs, we probably couldn’t come up with anything worse than “solitary confinement.” Dogs are pack animals, so it’s important for them to be with others. Most people who chain dogs don’t realize how much scratches behind the ears, games of fetch, and time spent inside with their families mean to dogs. If you have an “outside dog,” here are 10 ways that you can improve your dog’s life.

1. Let your dog inside! Don’t kid yourself that dogs “get used tp” living outside. Unless you or other dogs are out there to share it with them, the back yard quickly loses its charm. Constant barking is really a cry for attention. If it has stopped, it’s not because your dog is content but because he or she has given up of hope of rescue. :(

2. Build a Fence. A 6-foot privacy fence is safest – it’s harder for dogs to escape and harder for hooligans to do bad things to your pup. if a fence is out of your budget, set up a running line so your dog can exercise without being tangled. use a harness instead of a collar so dogs can’t strangle or hang themselves.

3. Provide lots of Exercise. Dogs need to run and sniff and explore. Go for long walks daily (it’s good for you too!). A “nopull” harness will painlessly save your dog’s neck — and your arm sockets! Bonus: Tired dogs are less likely to “misbehave”!

4. Bring joy with Toys.  Imagine being stuck outside, alone, with nothing to do but watch the mud dry. Even a knotted towel or a tennis ball can provide hours of entertainment. Dogs love to chew, so be sure they have plenty of safe things to gnaw on.

5. Take your dog “school”. If your dog has been put outside because of behaviour problems, confinement and isolation can only make them worse. A good dog-training class will teach you how to communicate with your dog, who just doesn’t understand what you expect. Plus, “teenage” dogs often settle down as they get older.

6. Protect your dog from “Old Man Winter”. In nature, dogs dig deep, cozy dens. Their fur, like your own winter coat, offers some protection, but they can still feel miserable in the cold. Puppies, elderly dogs, and small and short-haired breeds like pointers and Dobermans should never be left outside during cold snaps.

7. Help your dog beat the “dog days” of summer. Dogs are more susceptible to heat than humans. They can only cool themselves by panting and sweating through their paws. Short-nosed breeds like pugs and bulldogs are especially prone to heat stress. The same goes for Norhtern breeds like huskies, whose thick fur is designed for Alaskan winters, not Alabama summers. Let dogs inside during heat waves. At all other times, make sure they have access to shade. Plant trees: They can lower the ambient temperature by as much as 10 degrees!

In summer, when chained and penned dogs have no choice but to urinate and defecate right where they live (something they never do in the wild), the waste draws flies, which drive dogs crazy — flies will actually eat off the tips of dog’s ears! So clean up the area often — at least once a day.

8. Provide plenty of food and water. In winter, dogs need to eat almost double their summer rations to keep a layer of body fat for warmth. Water must be available at all times, especially during the summer when panting causes dehydration. Put bowls in the pen or at the end of the chain and inside a rubber tire to prevent tipping.

9. Visit the vet for regular checkups. Parvovirus, distemper, and other diseases can be prevented through vaccinations. Dogs must be wormed regularly — a dog with worms can lose vital body fat during winter. Heartworms are deadly — all dogs should be put on preventive medication, especially during mosquito season.

10. Spay or neuter your dog. An unneutered dog is like a frustrated lover and is more likely to be aggressive to your children. Neutering and spaying also prevent cancer of the reproductive organs, common in older dogs.

(Source: PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals)

Ciao! :)

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