They can’t and shouldn’t live their whole lives outside
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
I may not own a dog, but I do know the fundamentals of caring for one. Give it lots of walks, attention, food, water, love—and don’t force it to live outside. I think the main benefit of owning a dog is to have a companion and loyal friend by your side and to love it and care for it as if it were a member of your family. This benefit is lost when you make it exclusively an outdoor animal.
Let me clarify, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to have your animals sleep outside. Many guard, cattle, farm, and even family dogs do this and are happy campers. However, this is contingent on the pet receiving adequate sustenance, shelter, and socialization. It’s when they are left outside, sometimes even chained up, with no socialization or attention that I find cause for concern.
I know some people prefer keeping their dogs outside because they are afraid of the mess, the shedding, or dealing with their bad behaviour. However, I don’t see the point in having one at all if you neglect it and don’t let it into your house. In fact, I think it’s inhumane. People who do this are also doing themselves a great disservice by neglecting a relationship with a companion that was literally selectively bred to be a pet, a best friend, and an indoor member of your house. It also takes a huge emotional toll on the animal.
Any veterinarian will tell you that keeping your dog outdoors is not how you care for it. As previously mentioned, some people might keep dogs outside because they don’t know how to deal with their bad behaviour—but this actually gives the dogs worse habits. Constant barking, destructive chewing, and digging are all bad behaviours that they can develop if they are kept outside with no socialization. Dogs are social creatures and they are used to being in packs. Once one is welcomed into a new home, that family becomes its pack. Isolating a dog outside will only make it lonely and miserable.
It’s also dangerous to leave them totally exposed to the weather. No breed of dog is able to live outside for its whole life, as veterinarian Dr. Rob Proietto explained in an interview with The Dodo.
“Dogs can overheat very quickly in warm weather climates and can get hypothermia in cold, wet conditions,” he said.
Keeping your pets outside also causes them to never become socialized with humans or other animals. As a result, they become frustrated, aggressive, and hostile. You are actually making a dog’s behaviour worse by keeping it outside all the time. Socializing dogs by letting them in your house and walking them teaches them how to behave with people and other pets. As domesticated animals, it is imperative for them to learn these things as early as possible.
Letting your dog sleep or be outside as much as possible is okay as long as you spend a lot of time with it, it has other animals to play with, or at least you let it inside in harsh weather. Just please don’t just leave your dog outside, all the time, alone.