Securing Your Yard
Dogs are usually happier being indoors and truly a 'part' ofthe family but of course they also enjoy and benefit from being in a secure backyard. But remember, some dogs will escape whatever security measures you put into place so make sure your dog always wears an ID tag with two current phone numbers (tags can be purchased at Petsmart and other large pet supply retailers).
Suggested security measures:
- 6 feet high fence that the dog cannot climb
- Locked gate
- 12" x 12" (2" thick) cement stepping stones around the entire inside perimeter of the yard
- Electric underground fence (if the dog chews fences)
A Note on Electric Fences
We do not recommend using underground electric fence as the sole means of containing a dog. Electric fences keep animals from leaving - these fences do not prevent entry of the property. So someone could steal your dog, or another animal could attack him. Also, if highly motivated, your dog may find a way to escape the electric fence. A physical barrier in combination with an electric fence will be much more effective in securing your yard.
Keeping Cool in the Heat
Because we humans tend to go from our air conditioned house to our air conditioned car to our air conditioned office, Houston's heat and humidity may not seem so bad. If we stayed outside during the intense heat of the day for several hours straight, we would be miserable. In the summer months, even with shade trees, it is unpleasant and, on really hot days, miserable for many pets to remain outside during the heat of the day for consecutive hours.
In 'moderately' warm weather an outdoor ceiling fan may help if the area is also shaded. However in very hot weather an outdoor ceiling fan is not really helpful. After the temperature reaches a certain high, a ceiling fan is only blowing hot air and cannot cool an animal.
When humans are outside we can cool down with 'cold' drinks, wetting ourselves with water and most importantly, being able to go inside to an air conditioned area. Dogs kept outside cannot help themselves in this manner to cool down. A doggie door will allow your dog to go inside to cool themselves, take refuge from severe weather, and allow egress for emergencies and bathroom breaks.
If you must keep your dog outside with no doggy door, make sure to:
- Provide a continuously shaded area - a dog house sitting in the sun at any time during the day is not sufficient
- Provide plenty of water in a shady area - put out an extra bowl of water in case one bowl is accidentally spilled
- Place a children's sturdy plastic wading pool with water in a shaded area (if the dog is small, ensure he can get out of the pool)
- Never leave a dog alone in a yard with a human swimming pool.
- Have a water proof covered shelter that a dog may retreat to in the event of a rain storm. The shelter should be large enough for the dog to stand in without their head touching the top and should be long enough to allow the dog to lie down comfortably. It also should be raised an inch or two off the ground so it does not sit in water
When deciding where to leave your dog, consider the weather, your own individual circumstances and most importantly, ask yourself where you would want to be placed to spend hours and hours, day after day.
Staying Warm in the Cold
Anytime temperatures are near, at or below freezing, bring your dog inside. A dog house cannot protect your animal in this kind of weather. Consider placing him in the bathroom, laundry room or make a bed for them beside your bed. When temperatures are very cold, an animal can get sick or even die. But even if your dog does not become ill, she will be miserable being outside in very cold temperatures for periods of more than an hour.
In cold weather, animals need more food since their body uses up energy trying to stay warm. Make certain to give animals 'extra' food during the cold months.