Staying indoors will keep your dog safe from cars, harsh weather, wild animals and more, but leaving your dog cooped up all day can make them bored and lethargic. As a result, your fur baby can develop health problems and negative behaviors that can be difficult to deal with.
It’s important that your dog also spends some time outdoors. Your dog not only craves the enrichment that an outdoor environment provides, but being outside also provides your dog with a lot of benefits. Read on to know what these benefits are.
Exposes Your Dog to Direct Sunlight
Sun exposure is incredibly important to your dog. While they might be able to get sunlight through a window, being able to bask under the sun is preferable. Walking on a hiking trail and playing in the yard exposes your dog to direct sunlight. This enables their bodies to produce vitamin D, which is essential in aiding your dog’s bone formation and helping them with their muscle and nerve control. The sun also gives your dog warmth and helps them regulate their temperature, which is especially beneficial for older dogs. In addition, exposure to unfiltered sunlight gives your dog a serotonin boost, improving their overall mood.
Use caution when in the sun
While sun exposure is good, too much can lead to dehydration or cause skin cancer. Therefore, monitor your pooch's time outdoors and bring them in once it starts to get too hot. The ideal length of time your dog can stay outdoors will depend on their age, size, breed and health. You can consult your vet to determine the best time for your dog.
Aside from limiting their sun exposure, you can also remember to bring water and customizable collapsible dog travel cups to help your dog stay hydrated. If your dog has light fur, consider making them wear a bandana to provide them with some protective covering. Moreover, you can spray the bandana with water to help your dog cool down when it becomes too hot.
Space to Exercise
Your dog may not be getting enough exercise if all they do is play indoors. Your house may have limited space so they don’t get to run around, chase after toys or balls and do other activities that allow them to stretch their legs and move their bodies. Lack of adequate activity can cause your fur baby to gain weight. Left unchecked, obesity can lead to more health problems, such as joint and muscle pain, heart disease, cancer and other illnesses.
Walk, play fetch or run outdoors to give your dog enough space to move and exercise. Physical activity keeps their weight within healthy levels. It also helps keep their joints active and strengthens the muscles surrounding their bones, which can delay the onset of mobility problems when they get older.
To keep your dog safe while playing in your yard or a public park, make sure they’re wearing proper gear. Your dog should have their ID tag attached to their collar or harness at all times, so if they run off, people who find them can contact you as soon as possible. Prevent them from wandering on their own by keeping them on a leash during your walks.
Provides Your Dog with Sensory Stimulation
The outdoor environment provides your dog with a wide variety of stimulation. Your dog can smell various plants and trees, listen to the sounds of nature, and see other dogs, humans, and animals. All these things stimulate your dog’s senses, giving them a multitude of experiences that they can’t get from inside your home.
Sensory enrichment is also important for alleviating their boredom. Boredom in dogs can lead to behavioral problems, such as digging and scratching at your furniture, frantically jumping up and down, and excessive barking. And because your dog lacks stimulation, boredom can also cause your dog to develop anxiety or depression.
Apart from allowing your dog to explore the surroundings on their own, you can incorporate outdoor activities that encourage them to use their senses. By doing this, you’re giving your dog a richer sensory experience that helps them exercise their brain.
Hide your dog’s favorite toys or treats in your backyard to encourage them to track scents. Play fetch or use a dog frisbee to get their eyes to focus and follow a specific object. In addition, consider taking them to a dog park so they can meet other dogs and humans. This activity teaches your dog to socialize and helps reduce their aggression.
The reasons above show how important it is for your dog to spend time outdoors. Aside from providing them with lots of playtime and exercise, outdoor enrichment gives a lot of health benefits that can keep your dog happy and well. Most importantly, the time you spend together outdoors can strengthen the bond between you and your pooch.
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