Protecting Your Pets Outdoors

There are so many things out there that can be harmful to our pets! From pests to poisons to predators, we have to do our best to be sure that they remain safe while in the great outdoors! In this post, I will give you some ideas on how to do that.

First, you need a harness or a leash —  a good one, not one of those retractable things that can break. If you have a yard, then you’re going to need a good fence for a dog. It’s hard to say what to get – if your dog is a chewer, a metal fence might be better than wood, but if you have a climber, chain link is a bad idea. Some dogs will just dig under fences, so you have to think of ways to avoid that too. I have a friend with a husky who has managed to escape no matter what she does. Now she takes him out on a leash even when they are in their own fenced-in backyard! With cats, they make little outdoor houses and tents, but it is safest for your kitties (and small dogs) to be indoor animals for the most part!

Second, be careful with what’s growing in your yard! Most people know not to plant things that are poisonous in their own yards, but don’t think about how they grow their prized flowers or vegetables. Chemical fertilizers are really appealing to dogs and are incredibly dangerous, especially commercial rose fertilizers. And cats will use all kinds of things as a litter box, get that stuff on their paws and then lick it off! Try using natural fertilizer instead, like coffee grounds or egg shells. Or you can block out your garden somehow to keep animals away from it.

Third, invest in a good flea, tick, and mosquito repellant for your pet. Talk to your vet to find out what he or she recommends. The cheap ones you get at the grocery store can be too harsh for some pets and will poison them. Some essential oils work well as a bug repellant, but others are extremely toxic, especially on cats. Again, talk to a professional before applying anything to your pet’s skin!

Next, be conscious of the temperature. Don’t leave pets outside in extreme weather – they can get heatstroke or hypothermia just as we can. Provide them with shade in the summer, and always have a shelter and fresh water accessible to then if they will be outside for any length of time. Watch little paws on things like ice melt or hot pavement, too. Paws are very sensitive and can be damaged easily. Lots of people think shaving their pets is a good, natural way to keep their pets cool in the summer, but if you cut the fur too close to the skin, your pet can actually get sunburned!

Lastly, know your area. Any type of fox, coyotes, or even predatory birds (especially if you have a smaller animal) in your neighborhood can be a threat. I’ve also known several people whose dog or cat was attacked by a neighbor’s pet who had gotten loose. In other words, there are creatures out there that pose a risk to your animal’s safety!

My best advice is to not leave your pets outdoors unattended. I know that’s not always possible, so I hope this post has provided some tips on how to make your pets a little safer while exploring the great outdoors!