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Dog And Cat Living Outside The Home: Pros and Cons.

Whether it is a good idea to keep dogs and cats mainly living outside is a controversial topic. Consider many pros and cons; your best decision will depend on your circumstances.

Dog And Cat Living Outside The Home: Outdoor Lifestyle.

Dog And Cat Living Outside. The living habits of our four-legged friends can vary greatly, depending on the environment in which they live.

Some cats spend their days exclusively at home, dogs that only go out for a short walk, or dogs and cats that spend most of their time outside the home environment.

Different living habits influence many contemporary and physical aspects and determine different needs.

Life in the open air is more affluent in stimuli but can also conceal some health risks; some are present all year round, and others are typically seasonal. In general, outdoor pets need a little extra attention. So, let us look at some of them.

Cats and dogs living outdoors need regular pesticide treatments.

All animals, even those that live exclusively indoors, can encounter parasites, but this is even more true for pets that go out, even for short daily walks.

Numerous pesticides, such as pipettes, collars, tablets, and sprays, are on the market and have different properties and formulations.

Cats and dogs living outdoors are the problems of the hot season.
Whether or not dogs and cats should live mostly outside is a controversial topic. There are pros and cons to both indoor and outdoor living for these animals.

It isn’t easy to navigate the dozens of products available in pet shops or online, so we recommend that you consult your vet. Your vet can recommend the most suitable pesticide for your pet’s lifestyle, geographical area, and season.

In addition, some parasiticides can only be prescribed by a doctor, which is another reason to emphasize the critical role of the vet in this choice. But let us see what the main parasites of our four-legged friends are.

Fleas

The peak of infestations is observed in late spring and early autumn when climatic conditions favour the development of larvae into adult parasites.

However, the larvae can survive indoors even in the cold months and continue their life cycle.

For this reason, careful disinfection of the home environment, mainly where our pets usually lie down, is essential to fight infection. Therefore, we have written an article on how to clean a house where animals live.

Moreover, more and more frequently, the weather surprises us with unseasonably high spring/summer temperatures.

That is why it is essential to use pesticides all year round. Fleas, as well as being able to cause allergic dermatitis, are the protagonists in the tapeworm life cycle and can transmit certain diseases, such as bartonellosis.

Ticks

The peak of infestation is concentrated in the warm months, but ongoing climatic changes may vary their period of activity.

Ticks are usually found on the ends of plants, grasses, or bushes, where they wait for an animal to pass by, on which they can grapple and make their blood meal.

Ticks transmit Lyme borreliosis, ehrlichiosis, rickettsiae button fever and many others.

The longer a tick remains on the host, the more likely it is to transmit diseases. For this reason, if a tick is identified on the animal, it must be promptly removed.

Ticks on dog hair.
Two main species of ticks infest dogs and cats: the Rhipicephalus sanguineus, commonly known as the brown dog tick, and the Ixodes ricinus, the wood tick. The brown dog tick is the most widespread of all.

To do so, the insect must be grasped at the part closest to the pet’s skin, using tweezers and not crushing it. Then, with a gentle twisting motion, pull gently. Next, you can read our article on safely removing a tick.

It is highly inadvisable to stun the tick with alcohol or other substances, lest the induced suffering cause regurgitation of infected material and increase the risk of disease transmission.

To protect our pets from this threat, we should use antiparasitics all year round and hypo-sect the hair and skin after each walk, especially for long-haired dogs.

Head lice

Infestation occurs mainly in the cold season, in overcrowded and poor hygienic conditions, or severely debilitated. In addition, head lice often cause itching and dermatitis.

In this case, the regular use of a parasiticide is the primary weapon for self-defence, disinfecting the environment and the tools used for grooming.

Mosquitoes

Above all, mosquitoes are more widespread in humid areas in the warm months. They represent a danger to our pets and have a crucial role in spreading the parasite responsible for filariasis.

Dogs and cats sleeping outdoors are particularly at risk due to mosquitoes’ tendency to circulate mainly at dusk or in the early morning hours.

To prevent the disease, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian, who will adopt a prophylactic plan best suited to the animal.

Phlebotomy

Like mosquitoes, they feed mainly in the twilight hours and prefer the warm season. Through its blood meal, the phlebotomus carries the protozoan responsible for leishmaniasis, an infectious disease that can prove fatal in dogs.

Repellent antiparasitic agents, combined with targeted vaccinations, are the primary weapon against the spread of the disease.

The parasite is transmitted to dogs via an insect (sandfly) that is not present in the UK. However, it is present in many Southern and Eastern European countries, and dogs that travel or have lived in these areas risk becoming infected.

Endoparasites

Dogs and cats living outdoors or accessing outdoor areas frequented by other animals are at an increased risk of contracting parasitic infestations by ingesting eggs in the soil.

As the veterinary surgeon advises, regular faecal examinations and targeted antiparasitic treatments are recommended to protect pets from this threat.

Vaccinations

Leaving the house also increases the risk of contracting infectious diseases through direct or indirect contact with other animals. This is why dogs and cats must be appropriately vaccinated.

Sterilization

In addition to preventing sexually transmitted diseases, sterilization plays a crucial role in curbing aggressive and territorial behaviour, particularly among cats living outside, thus reducing the risk of disease transmission through scratching or biting.

Owned dogs should not be allowed to roam free, but sometimes escapes for mating purposes are not avoidable by their owners, resulting in unwanted pregnancies and puppies that risk being abandoned.

For all these reasons, sterilizing your pet is a choice that can protect not only its health but also that of the society in which it lives, contributing sensitively to the fight against straying and abandonment.

Cats and dogs living outdoors are the problems of the hot season.

Animals that live outside or spend many hours outside in the warm months face potentially hazardous situations. Let’s examine the main ones.

Processionary moth

Processionary moths are tiny caterpillars with highly stinging hairs. They are characterized by moving in a single file and represent a danger to our animals. They can cause severe irritation, up to necrosis, of the parts that come into contact with the caterpillar’s hairs.

The first symptoms are profuse salivation, vomiting and swelling of the muzzle and tongue. The animal must be taken to the vet promptly.

Bees and Wasps

A bee or wasp sting, not uncommon in hot weather, may cause swelling or pain in the affected part. However, if the animal is stung on the tongue or in the throat, it can be very dangerous. In addition, anaphylactic reactions may occur.

Sunburn

Animals with sparse, white fur, such as the Xolo or Mexican Dog, and those with glabrous areas, such as the tips of the ears or the tip of the nose, are at risk of burns if exposed to direct sunlight too long.

Applying specific sun cream to sunburn-prone areas is recommended for these dogs.

Burns can also occur from direct contact of the fingertips with asphalt, reaching dangerously high temperatures on hot days.

Heat stroke

Certain types of animals are particularly at risk of heatstroke due to the high outdoor temperatures in the summer months.

Heatstroke is an acute, potentially fatal emergency characterized by a rise in body temperature of more than 41° Celsius.

Those most at risk are dogs with cardiopulmonary diseases, overweight, brachycephalic and ancient dogs, mainly if left outside during the hottest hours with no possibility of cooling off.

It is essential to provide animals living outside with shady or ventilated areas where they can shelter from the heat and always leave fresh water available.

Myiasis

Another plague of the summer is myiasis. In this season, any small wound can be an ideal breeding ground for flies to lay their eggs, resulting in the development of larvae within the host tissues.

This situation occurs mainly in defecated individuals and can cause severe suffering if not treated promptly.

The benefits of outdoor living for dogs and cats

Having listed the main pitfalls of life in the open air, it is now promising to remember its innumerable and fundamental advantages.

Having the opportunity to get out of the house or to spend a few hours outside is very important for the psycho-physical well-being of both dogs and cats.

Much depends on the breed and temperament, but all our pets can benefit from spending time outside and getting some exercise.

In cats and dogs free to go outside, overweight and obesity problems are significantly reduced, stress is reduced, and metabolism is kept more active.

The benefits of outdoor living for dogs and cats.
Dogs and cats that live outdoors have more space to roam and exercise.

In addition, time outdoors provides valuable opportunities to socialize with other animals and spend quality time with human friends. With the necessary precautions, allowing your animal to connect with nature and rediscover its instincts is the best gift we can give it.

The benefits of physical activity to body and mind are well known, but perhaps not everyone knows that sport is even better when experienced with our four-legged friend. If you have any doubts about the disciplines that can be practised, don’t worry because the choice is extensive, and the one presented below is only a tiny part of all possible.

Each sport can be played at recreational or competitive levels; the important thing is that it is always a time of sharing, play, and carefree fun with our furry companions.

Treibball

This is a relatively recent game, developed in Germany in 2007, in which the dog, in synergy with its owner, tries to push a certain number of balls into a goal without damaging them and in the shortest possible time.

This fun discipline retraces the activity of sheepdogs, turning it into a dynamic sport that involves both body and mind.

We recommend this book for more information about Treibball, the rules and training tips.

Agility Dog

In Agility Dog, an obstacle course is the ideal challenge terrain for your dog. Guided by his human companion, our dog will attempt to complete the course without penalty or error.

As in other dog sports, basic obedience is a prerequisite here, and the speed of the course is also decisive.

Fly Ball

It is a very dynamic sport, born in the 1970s in California, in which dogs, divided into two teams, compete by running after a ball in a relay course.

The handlers are entrusted with inciting their four-legged companions to complete the race course quickly.

Playful Olfactory Skills

In this discipline, the sense of smell and play are the real protagonists. Organized in several difficulty levels, it involves tests of reliability and obedience, alternating with other practices in which the dog can practice recognizing scent traces, always in relation to and synergy with its owner.

Obedience

This sport originated in the 1950s and 1960s in the United States and Northern Europe. It started with the word ‘obedience’ and developed it in its broadest sense.

In this discipline, many different exercises are proposed in order of increasing difficulty, thanks to which the dog’s learning skills and the bond with its handler are enhanced and exalted, all under the banner of play and fun.

Dog Dance

Dog dance is a sport that originated in the 1980s, in which dogs and handlers perform a series of exercises derived from obedience, performed to music, and always in a playful and cooperative atmosphere.

The discipline is divided into two categories: Freestyle, which involves free and creative movements, and Heelwork to Music, which requires the execution of a specific choreography.

Disc Dog

The Disc Dog, which originated in America in the 1970s, can demonstrate its ability to catch a Frisbee on the fly in a series of exercises that highlight its sporting skills and degree of fellowship with its human companion.

In some cases, the test will involve a musical background and the creation of authentic choreography.

Sleddog

This sport, which has been popular in Italy roughly since the 1980s and 1990s, is an actual race on sledges pulled by dogs and driven by a handler called a musher.

Being a winter sport, it usually takes place on snow and mostly (but not necessarily) involves dogs belonging to Nordic breeds. If there is no snow, there are variants in which the sledges are replaced by carts that move on wheels.

Dog sledging is a winter sport usually practised on sledges pulled by dogs, mainly of Nordic breeds, and led by a Musher.
Dog sledging is a winter sport usually practised on sledges pulled by dogs, mainly of Nordic breeds, and led by a Musher. Photo: Italian Sleddog Club.

Dog Trekking

Nasce come allenamento alternativo per la pratica dello Sleddog, cioé la corsa con i cani da slitta, nei momenti in cui la neve non c’é.

Anche questo é uno sport nato in Italia alla fine degli anni ’80, con le prime manifestazioni in una citta chiamata Cuneo, per poi espandersi nella maggior parte del Nord Italia.

Il terreno privilegiato del Dog Trekking e la montagna, dove cani e conduttori percorrono insieme tragitti immersi nella natura, a livelli di difficoltá diverse.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why dogs and cats might live mostly outside. Some people believe it is healthier to be outdoors, while others do not have the space or resources to keep them indoors. Cultural and religious factors may influence whether to keep a pet indoors or outdoors.

Here are some of the pros and cons of keeping dogs and cats mostly outside:

Pros:

  • Dogs and cats may get more exercise when they are outdoors.
  • They may be less likely to become overweight or obese.
  • They may be less likely to develop specific health problems like allergies and respiratory infections.
  • They may have more opportunities to socialize with other animals and people.

Cons:

  • Dogs and cats may be exposed to harsh weather conditions, such as extreme heat or cold, rain, snow, and wind.
  • They may be exposed to predators, such as coyotes, foxes, and bears.
  • They may be exposed to toxins, such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.
  • They may be more likely to get into fights with other animals.
  • They may be more likely to get lost or stolen.

Ultimately, whether to keep a dog or cat mostly outside is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer, and the best decision for one person may not be the best decision for another. However, weighing the pros and cons carefully before deciding is essential.

If you do decide to keep your dog or cat mostly outside, there are a few things you can do to make sure they are safe and healthy:

  • Please provide them with a secure shelter that will protect them from the elements and predators.
  • Make sure they have access to clean, fresh water at all times.
  • Feed them a healthy diet that meets their nutritional needs.
  • Take them to the veterinarian for regular checkups and vaccinations.
  • Supervise them closely when they are outside.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your dog or cat has a happy and healthy life, whether they live mostly indoors or outdoors.

Thank you for reading the article to the end. Your reading contribution was significant to us.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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