Is it cruel to keep a dog locked up inside a small apartment all day long, without any human interaction or potty breaks?
Some people maintain that the dog originated in the wilderness, and his natural habitat is the outdoors. If we follow this line of reasoning, we must admit that man’s natural habitat is also outdoors, right? Yet nobody can deny the contribution made by modern heat and air conditioning, pure water, and uncontaminated food toward lengthening man’s lifespan.
Newsflash: Comfort & Sanitation Benefits Our Pets Too!
Leaving a pet in an air-conditioned apartment is not harmful, provided that the animal has sufficient opportunity to relieve himself outside. Of course, restricting your pet to a patio or balcony is not in itself an act of cruelty. There can be valid reasons for leaving your dog outdoors, however, your concern for the human residence should not be without good sense regarding your pet’s quarters, even if they are only temporary.
Whether your dog spends his day relaxing on the cushion of the best chair in the living room, or in a corner of the balcony, the same standards of health apply. If you must put him outdoors, pamper him with shelter from the weather. Indulge him with an over-sized water dish. Baby him with a soft, clean pad where he can rest, and walk him often enough so he will never be forced to soil his own floor. (And don’t forget that a small balcony may not provide enough room for the exercise that your pet needs in order to stay healthy.)
A Word About Bugs & Worms…
The mites that cause mange will bounce happily from one dog’s back to another’s, but your pampered pet won’t have to worry about them. As far as worms are concerned, if you live in the South, and your dog has not had worms, it’s because no other dogs have tracked eggs across your yard.
In northern climates, worms are controlled by cold winters. In warm areas, worms are all too common. A pet isolated in a fenced in yard may be protected, but where many dogs use the same general area for defecation, worms are readily passed to any pet tracing the same path.
Hookworms and roundworms are two outstanding examples of transmission through infected feces. Larvae are most easily passed in contaminated food and water, and you must be careful that your dog eats only what is provided in his own dish.
Apartment living totally minimizes these dangers. However, other dog infections can be spread by insects. Flea infestation must also be tended to, regardless if you live in a small apartment complex.