Have you have been worried about how your dog behaves while outside when you are away for the day. Do you wonder if inside dogs are safer and happier living inside?
Inside dogs may live longer than outside dogs as they are less exposed to physical dangers and stressful situations. Physical dangers include parasites, extreme weather, and traffic hazards. Stressful situations range from loud noises to separation anxiety and overall fearfulness.
In this article you will learn:
- how parasites and allergens may affect your dog’s health
- extreme weather is dangerous for dogs
- how stress may affect a dog’s lifespan
- noise can put dogs in dangerous situations
Inside Dogs Have Less Contact With Parasites and Allergens
Without a doubt, living indoors has many benefits for your dog. Dogs who live outdoors have a higher risk of developing allergies and skin conditions as a result of exposure to the environment.
They can have an allergic reaction to the following items :
- fleas and ticks
- pollen from trees, grasses, weeds
- garden pesticides and herbicides
Signs of allergies in dogs are as follows:
- itchy and flaky skin, they overly scratch themselves
- crusty, red patches of skin on their face and feet
- sore, itchy ears with a brown, waxy discharge
- eyes that water and itch, often with a pus-like discharge
Parasites found in soil like hookworms, roundworms, and tapeworms, can be transmitted to your dog as well and make them very sick.
Signs that your dog may have a parasite include:
- weight loss
It is important to worm your dog if they are inside all the time but especially if they are an outside dog that spends all of their time outside.
Inside Dogs Are More Protected From The Weather
Extreme weather like rain, high temperatures, and freezing temperatures can have a serious impact on your dog’s health. Outside dogs need to be adequately protected from the elements.
One of the most common ways dogs suffer from the effects of extreme weather is through being left outside in inclement conditions without adequate shelter or protection.
This includes being subjected to rain and severe storms if they are unable to find a dry place under a porch or other area that provides shelter.
An insulated kennel for your dog provides shelter for your dog but they might still be at risk of hypothermia unless given some form of protection such as a coat or blanket.
Dogs can develop hypothermia in temperatures below 45oF but this temperature increases if there are strong winds or your dog gets wet.
Their body temperature is usually around 101.5oF and when hypothermia is setting in their temperature drops down to 99oF.
Reduced Chance of Sunburn
Living indoors also reduces the chances of your dog getting sunburnt that can lead to skin cancers and malignant melanomas.
Dogs with light-colored coats are particularly vulnerable to sunburn because their skin is more sensitive to ultraviolet rays.
You may notice that your dog’s eyes, nose or ears become red after a lot of outdoor time. This is because they don’t have a lot of fur to cover the skin in those areas.
Consult your veterinarian if you notice this or any unusual lumps on your dog.
Inside Dogs Have Less Exposure To Stressors
Another study conducted on canine anxiety, from 3284 answers about 192 breeds, outlined three main stressors for dogs living outside:
- noise sensitivity
- general fearfulness
- separation anxiety
The chart below shows the percentage of dogs that showed the 3 stressors.
Noise Sensitivity in Dogs
Noise can be very scary for dogs. It’s not just loud noises that scare them, but also unexpected ones like the sound of a door slamming or someone dropping something.
Not only do they seem to hear these noises before we do, but they are extremely sensitive to them as well.
This is actually due to their heightened senses of hearing and smell compared with humans.
Their sense of hearing is about 10 times more sensitive than ours which means they can pick up on sounds at much lower frequencies.
So even if you don’t think it’s very loud there may still be enough noise for your dog to become anxious over especially if it comes out of nowhere!
Thunderstorms, fireworks, or gunshots are some very extreme examples of loud noises that can have a worrisome effect on dogs. Anything from a passing car to a child’s toy can sound like very loud noise to your dog, especially if they are in a stressed state.
Loud noises can cause a panicked reaction in dogs, and some may even show more serious symptoms such as running away, shaking, trembling, drooling excessively, or vocalizing.
I have experienced this with my dog, Victor. We used to put him outside when I went out and if a thunderstorm would develop he would dig under the fence to escape our yard. He was so panicked that he ate the bottom of the wooden fence to escape under and damaged some of his front teeth. We now leave him inside when we go out. He is still terribly afraid of thunderstorms but does not go into the blind panic that he used to.
General Fearfulness in Dogs
General fearfulness in dogs can manifest itself through behaviors like cowering, hiding, or escaping. Dogs may also show signs of aggression when they are feeling frightened.
Dogs can be afraid of a lot of things, from strangers to unknown dogs. If your dog is showing signs of fearfulness in general, it’s important to figure out what he is afraid of and make sure they are safe.
Separation Anxiety in Dogs
Separation anxiety in dogs is characterized by the dog’s response to any separation, including owner absence. It can cause numerous problems with their physical and mental health.
One of these problems is separation-induced vocalization, which is excessive barking and howling when they are alone at home or outside of the home.
A separation-induced vocalization has the potential to disturb neighbors.
Additionally, separation anxiety can cause house soiling, chewing and digging. These behaviors are all done by the dog in order to prevent separation from their owner or in response to a separation that already occurred.
A study conducted in 2010 looked at “The effects of fear and anxiety in the lifespan in pet dogs”.
Dog owners of 721 deceased dogs completed an online survey of 99 questions. The questions asked what kind of dog it was, how old they were when they died and what their cause of death was. The outcome of the study revealed that:
“There is evidence to suggest that the stress of living with a fear or anxiety disorder can have negative effects on health and lifespan in the domestic dog.”
Inside Dogs Are More Protected From Traffic
Dogs that escape from their yard place themselves in danger when they are in a stress-induced state. I am sure many of you have seen a terrified dog that has escaped their yard during a thunderstorm or on firecracker night. They have a high chance of getting hit by a car, especially in bad weather, when drivers have reduced visibility.
Inside dogs will still be afraid also but they will be confined in the home. They are able to find a place to hide, dogs like to hide under things when they are scared or stressed, it helps them to feel safe.
Outside dogs are exposed to more situations than dogs that spend all their time inside which may increase their life span.
Physical dangers like parasites, extreme weather and traffic hazards, dogs that live inside are not as exposed as often to these things as dogs that are permanently outside.
Psychological stressors noise sensitivity, general fearfulness, and separation anxiety may have an effect on the lifespan of pet dogs. Both inside and outside dogs may feel these things but outside dogs have a higher exposure rate.
Dogs that are exposed to stress and anxiety may have a shorter lifespan.