The Dangers of Leaving Your Dog in the Back Yard

Things were different when I was growing up in the small town of Columbus, GA. We had a wonderful dog named Max. Max lived outside. He had a dog house and was allowed to run free. We never leashed him, fenced him or neutered him. He rode in the back of a pick-up truck and walked us all to school. He walked himself back home. Because he was an “outside” dog, whenever we tried to bring him into the house, he fought us on coming inside. So, he slept on a bed in the garage or in his dog house.

Times are definitely different. Most of you reading this blog would never raise your dogs the way we did it in the 70’s. Our dogs are like our children. They live in our homes, sleep in our beds, eat premium organic foods and lounge on our furniture when we aren’t home. However, there are many people who leave their “inside” dogs in the fenced in back yard when they aren’t home. Whenever I’ve asked dog owners why they do this, I get various, but similar responses. “He loves being outside.” “She really likes to chase squirrels in the back yard.” “My dog prefers to be outside rather than inside. I know this because she just won’t go inside when we try to get her inside.”

But times are different. There are many dangers of leaving your dog outside unattended. We think that nothing can happen to our dogs because they are in a fence and living in a nice, safe neighborhood. Well, that’s not so. Many things can happen to your dogs while you aren’t home.

Things such as:
– Coyote attack. Yes, there are coyotes in Atlanta. They can jump a 6-foot fence.
– Getting bitten by a snake. Copperheads are venomous and common in Atlanta
– Anaphylactic shock from a bee sting
– Digging out of the yard or jumping a fence
– Being taken by a hawk or an owl if the dog is small

And there is one more thing that can happen. The thing that worries me the most. Our dogs can be stolen, right out of our yard! What? You think that it’s not possible, but it’s becoming increasingly common. Why would anyone steal a dog?

Dogs of all sizes and breeds are being stolen for a myriad of reasons. Maybe the criminal who steals your dog simply did it so they could give your dog as a gift? Take a look at the dogs for sale on Craigslist. Many stolen dogs are being sold. If your dog is lucky, he will end up in a loving home. But not every dog is lucky. Some end up in abusive homes or worse, re-sold to dog fighters.

The worst fate a dog could suffer, in my opinion, is to end up in the hands of people who fight dogs. Many dogs are stolen to become bait to train the fighting dogs. Not only do these dogs suffer brutality in the fighting ring, but they also live in deplorable conditions. They are starved and deprived of water. They live on heavy chains with no shelter. None of them receive proper medical treatment for their wounds or other ailments. Some of these dogs die and rot outside. Life for these dogs is horrific. Death would be a welcomed escape from this existence.

Earlier this week, a dog fighting ring in South Fulton county was busted. Over 35 dogs were seized. They were starved, dehydrated and injured. Many dogs were dead on the property. It’s very possible that some of these dogs were stolen pets. Last year, a multistate dog fighting operation existing in Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi was busted. Over 370 dogs were taken into custody! One of the largest dog fighting operations in the nation. Would you want your dog to end up in the hands of these criminals?

Our job as a pet parent is to reduce risk. We leash our dogs so the risk of them being hit by cars is lowered. Collars with ID Tags or Microchips reduce the risk that our dog will not make it back home should he go missing. We give our dogs heartworm prevention so that they don’t get ill with this deadly disease.

Keeping our dogs inside when we leave home reduces the risk that the above-mentioned dangers will happen to our dogs.

Do not leave your dog outside without supervision! After all, times are different.


  1. Well, I have a house on a dead end road and I leave my dogs out all day when I am at work and they love it. I think it is nice to them to be able to run and dig for ground squirrels as they like. I have them chipped and do not really worry about them leaving. I am really the only home one a square mile.

    OneDayTop has recently posted for PET : Four Winter Weather Dangers That Would Kill Your Dog

    • Karen Levy says

      My fear in that scenario is that they pick up something that is very dead, toxic, etc. A chip won’t prevent them from being hit by a car, going missing, getting killed by a coyote, stolen, etc. The assumption that they won’t “leave” is just that, an assumption. You never know what they might chase.

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