As the old saying goes, home is where we hang our hat, but it’s also where we place our pets. Whether we’re in a rural setting or living in a teeming city setting, there’s important differences these opposing residents should aware of to ensure their animals are healthy, safe and happy.
For example, country folk may believe city dogs are at a greater risk from cars, trucks, traffic and other moving obstacles. But in reality, country canines, which are commonly off leash, are just as likely to be struck by vehicles as city dwelling dogs. Also, when it comes to traumatic injuries, more dogs are seen in rural veterinarian emergency rooms as a result of attacks by other animals.
ACCESS & AWARENESS
Pet owners living in city settings can be more aware of their dog’s daily activities and are therefore likely to spot problems faster, like vomiting or other imminent threats that may require immediate medical attention. Dogs that spend a majority of the time outdoors could have gastric issues, urine or stool difficulties that may go unnoticed. As a matter of fact, city critters are 44% more likely to visit a vet for stomach trouble compared to their rural counterparts.
Depending upon their location, urbanites could live a considerable distance from their nearest veterinarian’s office or animal clinic. An emergency situation could go south quickly and given the additional distance involved in getting a dog to medical attention, this time could make a big difference. At the same time, many country vets will come out to rural homes and are on call when other city veterinarians are unavailable for care.
ALLERGIES & PARASITES
Pampered pooches in the city are more prone to allergens that are primarily found indoors, compared to their outdoor counterparts. In many cases, canines who live the majority of time outside will build up a better immune system and are less susceptible to allergies in general.
On the other hand, indoor critters have a much lower exposure to parasites like fleas, ticks that carry lyme disease and mosquitoes that spread the deadly heartworm virus. While there are preventative treatments available for all these canine threats, they aren’t 100% effective and it’s obvious that outdoor animals are exposed to these parasites at a much higher level.
TOXINS & POISONS
These doggie dangers can be found in both environments, but on farms and other rural settings, dangerous liquids can puddle up under equipment and go unnoticed. Lapping up a small amount of something like antifreeze for example, can be deadly to a dog who is easily enticed and attracted by its sweet aroma and flavor.
On the contrary, indoor poisonous harm can come from a dropped prescription drug, an over-the-counter pain reliever or other discarded pill can be quickly gobbled up by a doting dog and these can be equally as dangerous. Other things that may not seem to be a big threat to pets, household detergents, certain indoor plants, chocolate and a number of other seemingly innocent items can be deadly in some circumstances.
ACTIVITY & EXERCISE
Not to end on a sour note for city dwellers, but one of the biggest threats facing today’s pet population is obesity, and not just for dogs, cats are in danger too. This condition is obviously far more prevalent in less active animals that are homebound. If you do have an indoor dog, be sure it gets plenty of exercise, is taken on regular walks, trips to the dog park, whatever it takes to get them more active.
As always, you should see your dog’s veterinarian regularly, regardless of your living situation.
Check out this infographic for more information on recognizing possible dangerous diseases in your dog.
Written by Amber Kingsley, a freelance journalist and writer. She also created the accompanied infographic titled "Most Dangerous Diseases for Dogs."