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Indoor Dog vs. Outdoor Dog
M Duffy Jones, DVM posted:
Many of us may remember that the family dog of our childhood always lived outside. But upon becoming a pet owner yourself, deciding whether to house your dog inside or outside can be difficult. If you're trying to make this decision, ask yourself these questions first:

1. What is my breed? Many breeds can live outside without much of a problem, while others should really only live inside. Labs, Retrievers, and most other sporting or hunting breeds can live outdoors without trouble. They can adjust to weather changes and are more active dogs. Their coats are usually easy to maintain and do not become matted. Other breeds won't adapt so well. Some good examples would be a Japanese Chin or a Bulldog. These dogs were really bred to live indoors, and not to spend much time outside. I understand that there are exceptional dogs within every breed. But as a pet owner, you really must consider the type of breed you own to determine if he can make it outdoors.

2. How much property do I have? If you have a very small backyard and cannot provide a safe environment for your dog, then she most likely should spend time indoors as well as outdoors. A safe outdoor space is a large fenced-in area that your dog cannot climb of out, and which no one can climb into, including other dogs or your neighbor's kids. Also, the area should:
- Have good drainage
- Be accessible to you for picking up the stools and cleaning
- Provide your pet with shade and cover from the elements

3. What effect could my decision have on my standing in the neighborhood? If you have a large pen and you keep your dog outside all the time, you may get kicked out of the neighborhood supper club. If you live in an urban area with lots of neighbors and your dog barks all night, it might not be the best idea to keep your dog outside all the time. Many dogs that sleep inside will usually settle down and won't hear as many noises at which they will bark.

4. Is my dog well-socialized? Socialization plays a big factor in deciding whether your dog should live inside or out. Many dogs that live totally outside are not as well socialized as inside dogs. Because pet owners usually spend less time with their outdoor dogs, they can be more aggressive and they might bite or exhibit other behavioral problems once they are in the company of people and other animals.

5. Am I prepared to protect my dog from parasites? If your dog lives outside all the time, her risk of heartworms, fleas, and ticks is higher. Proper control of these parasites is critically important for making sure your pet stays healthy.

Have you been faced with this decision for your own dogs? Aside from the ones above, what other factors did you consider?


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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