Why Dogs Shouldn't Roam
By Arlo the Hound with help from Honor Tarpenning
A member of our Next Day Pets community was recently made aware that a puppy she bred and put into the care of a family member lost her life because she was allowed to roam free. In the spirit of this dearly departed dog, I decided to use today’s Daily Tips to talk about why companion dogs shouldn’t be allowed to roam free.
The following are just some of the reasons dog owners should keep their dogs in a secure, fenced-in yard, on a leash, or in the house at all times.
It is estimated that more than one million dogs are hit by cars each year. The majority of these dogs are those who have been allowed to roam.
There are many diseases that dogs can contract while roaming in the neighborhood and interacting with waste, wild animals, and other dogs. There are even some diseases against which dogs are vaccinated that they can still contract under some circumstances.
Roaming dogs can pick up fleas, ticks, mange, worms and other parasites while they are out roaming the neighborhood. Many of the parasites dogs can contract can be brought home to you and your family as well! Your dog may be on a worm-preventative medication, but are your children?
When dogs roam free regularly, they form packs with other roaming dogs. You dog may behave like a perfect gentleman at home, but just like a generally good kid who gets in with the wrong crowd; your dog can wreak havoc with the help of a pack of unruly dogs.
Stray and feral dogs are often malnourished, sick, injured, or generally aggressive. If your friendly dog approaches one of these dogs, he could be badly injured or even killed.
Wild Animal Attack
Domesticated dogs do not always understand how to interact (or rather, how to not interact) with dangerous wild animals. They can fall victim to snake bites, rat bites, porcupine quills, bear attacks, or even bites from groundhogs or squirrels.
Even though it is difficult for a friendly hound dog like me, or an animal lover like you to believe, there are lots of sick people out there who find joy in injuring animals. One of these evil people could snatch-up your dog and hurt him, or worse.
In many states, farmers have the right to protect their livestock from roaming animals by any means necessary. You dog could get caught in a trap that is meant for a coyote, or end up shot by a protective farmer.
The twisted individuals who participate in this blood sport steal dogs to add to their fighting rings. They also steal non-aggressive dogs of all breeds to use as practice dogs to warm up their fighters, and raise their confidence level and attack skill.
Your sweet and friendly family dog could also get stolen by an unscrupulous individual who is just looking for a nice dog to bring home as a loving companion. This is probably the best fate a roaming dog can hope for, but it certainly isn’t a happy ending for the owner who let the dog roam in the first place.
If animal control picks up your roaming dog, there are several unfortunate possibilities. If you live in an area where letting you dog roam is illegal, you could face steep fines. Even in areas where the practice is legal, many animal control facilities will require that you pay an administrative fee or an adoption fee to get your dog back. Also, if your dog roams into a different county or municipality’s jurisdiction, he might end up at an animal control facility that you wouldn’t think to call when you look for your dog. He could end up adopted to another family or even put down if you don’t find him in time.
Even if you have the friendliest dog in the world, a dog who has never laid a tooth or claw on anybody in all his life, he could still behave aggressively if he is injured or frightened. If your dog is out roaming and hurts someone, you could face legal and financial repercussions, or worse--a court could order that he be euthanized.
Trash by the curb is an irresistible treat to a wandering dog. Those trash cans can be full of all kinds of dangerous substances, from spoiled food, to chicken bones, to poisonous chemicals.
Your dog could fall down a storm drain or well, or end up in a river, lake or creek. Most dogs can swim, but only for so long before they grow exhausted and drown. If your dog can’t get out of the water immediately, he risks a terrible fate, especially in the wintertime.
Dogs who roam free do their business where they please, and there’s nobody around to pick it up. Besides the gross inconvenience, dog waste is also quite dangerous to neighborhood dogs, your community, and our ecosystem. Learn more about the Dangers of Dog Waste
Feral Dogs/Unwanted Puppies
If your dog is not fixed and runs across another not-fixed dog, there is always the possibility of an unwanted litter. There are so many homeless dogs in this world, just waiting for their chance to find a loving home; it is a terribly irresponsible thing to allow a feral or unwanted litter to spring up because you didn’t keep your dog confined.
Keep in mind. Even if you keep tags on your dog, they can always fall off, or the collar could break, so don’t trust that your roaming dog will automatically be returned. If he is micro-chipped, only those shelters with the specific technology to read that particular brand of chip will be able to figure out how to reach you. As this hound dog always says, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to the dog you love.