5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Safe Outdoors

Inside is always safer. But, cats and dogs alike can benefit from spending time outdoors. It provides them space to exercise and explore, minimizing their boredom and allowing them to keep a watchful eye on the neighborhood.

But many pet owners still feel nervous letting their pets alone outside for extended periods of time. These fears are not irrational – there are many health risks associated with outdoor pets.

The good news is that there are steps you can take to minimize these risks. If your pet loves being outside, follow these tips to keep them safe.

Have a Pet-Friendly Yard

The most important step to creating a pet-friendly yard is to invest in a fence. 

Not only do fences stop your pet from running away and getting lost, they can also help keep pests and predators away.

Be cautious about any chemicals you use in your yard, including pesticides and weed killers. If your dog or cat has access to the garage, be sure to keep all chemicals and sharp tools out of their reach. 

You should also consider what areas your pet has access to when you’re not looking. Garbage bins, for example, should be kept outside of the fenced area. Pools must also be closed off to the unsupervised pet.

A doggy door or magnetic screen can be helpful for pets who come in and out throughout the day. Be sure to close these exits at night or when you leave the home. Some pet doors will unlock only with electronic ID carried in your pet’s collar, reducing access by other pets and wildlife.

Protect Them from Pests

Even if your pet is only going to be in your own backyard, they’re still at risk of being exposed to pests that could make them sick.

Before leaving your pet outdoors for long periods of time, make sure they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations, and that you routinely use flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Stray animals can wander into your yard regardless of the barriers you put into place, and it’s much better to be safe than sorry when protecting your pet.

Keep Them Warm in the Winter

The cold winter months can be dangerous, or even deadly, for pets left outside for too long. 

Always monitor your pet periodically and bring them inside if they show signs of being too cold. Shivering, pale or blue mucus membranes, and sluggish movements are signs of hypothermia to look out for. 

Your pet can enjoy the outdoors all year long so long as you take the proper precautions.

This includes shoveling snow in a path to the yard, which is especially important for short breeds of dog. 

Providing a covered, insulated kennel is also a necessity. Heat lamps and doggy sweaters are also available to keep the kennel warm against the snow, wind, and ice. Unfrozen water must always be available.

Keep Them Cool in the Summer

Overheating is another serious condition that pet owners must be aware of. If it feels too hot outside for you, chances are it’s too hot for your furry friend. 

Water and shade must be provided at all times. Flimsy bowls are easy to knock over, so we recommend burying a small bucket in the yard for water. The ground will keep the water cooler for longer. Adding ice to the water every couple hours is another good idea.

Another thing to be aware of is the amount of pavement or concrete in the pet’s area. These materials retain heat better and can even burn their paws on particularly hot days.

Protect Them from Thieves

Leaving your pet unattended, even in your backyard, can be a stressful prospect for some owners. 

If you’re worried that your pet may fall victim to an uninvited guest in your backyard, make sure to take steps that could protect them from harm.

Install a camera system that points directly to the area where your pet will be spending their day, and set the cameras to alert you if they detect unwanted presences. If need be, adding an audible alarm could dissuade people from coming into your yard.

For an extra layer of security, consider creating a smaller, fully-enclosed area in your yard where your pet spends their day, and keeping it locked.

Pet Care Services in Frederick, MD

Here at Old Farm Veterinary Hospital, we understand that pets are like family. That’s why we offer comprehensive pet care services, including grooming, diagnostic testing, dental care, and wellness exams. Keep your pet safe and healthy all year long! Call now to set up an appointment.