Fences and outdoor containment systems can provide your dog with access to fresh air and exercise while keeping him safe from traffic, from other animals and from being distracted and wandering away. While having or not having a fence isn't necessarily a reflection of your commitment to your pets, nor does it define whether or not you’re a “good” pet owner, it is one way of demonstrating responsible pet ownership.
A fence keeps your dog protected from stray dogs, local wildlife and hazards outside your home. For example, a dog who is fenced is less likely to get hit by a car, be accosted by a precocious child or run away and get lost. You can also be a good pet owner and maintain your dog’s safety by keeping your pup inside and only allowing him outside when he is leashed or under strict observation.
A dog who is allowed to run free outside can get into your trash as well as your neighbor's, destroy flower beds and gardens and get into fights with other dogs. This can lead to bad relationships with your neighbors, who may eventually call animal control and file a complaint or have your pet removed. If there are leash laws where you live, you could be fined for allowing your dog to run free. If your dog does property damage or bites someone while roaming free, you could also be held liable.
An unfenced dog, particularly an unaltered dog of breeding age, has the potential to mate indiscriminately. Unaltered male dogs will often roam great distances looking for females to mate with, which puts them at a number of environmental risks. If your unaltered female dog runs free, you could end up with a litter of unplanned puppies on your hands, as well as unanticipated vet bills related to their care.
Dogs who are free to run around inside a fenced area are able to enjoy the health benefits of being uncontained and outside, getting exercise and air. These dogs often are able to maintain a healthier weight because they may get more exercise than dogs who are indoor-only. However, you can still be a good dog owner by ensuring your dog gets plenty of exercise when you're around through playing, walking or hiking.
Training and socializing your dog and making sure he gets adequate attention, food and care are hallmarks of good pet ownership. Getting your dog to the vet on a regular basis, providing him with stimulation and interaction, and looking after his welfare are the characteristics that make you a good pet owner.
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