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Topic of the Month

A Monthly Pomeranian Blog -
 The Topic of the Month

A helpful monthly Pomeranian blog, bringing you new topics of interest 

This Month: Pomeranian Outside Questions

Over the course of time, quite a few questions regarding the outdoors have reached us. These range from puppies venturing out to issues regarding weather and much more.

We’ve decided to gather up all of the questions regarding Pomeranians outside and answer them in one place for easy reference.

Can I let my Pomeranian outside by himself for bathroom needs? With a doggie dog and enclosed fence?

At first, these fenced-in areas may seem very safe to let a Pomeranian out into. In addition, if there is a doggie door that the Pom can use to go out as he pleases, this may appear to be a perfect solution in regard to house training. However, there are many concerns with doing this. 

1) One important element for successful training is that one certain outside area is chosen. If an entire yard is available, this can impede learning. There are many distractions (and dangers) and it will be extremely difficult for a dog to make a connection of either signaling to go out or being let out to the time that he actually urinates or has a bowel movement. 

So, in other words, without any structure, being let out will simply mean that and going to the bathroom will be a secondary event that the Pomeranian does not automatically connect to the first event. 

2) Not being there to supervise your Pom leads to huge missed opportunities to praise and/or reward the action. With this element missing, it’s easy for a dog to go astray and eventually forget his training. The best method to teach a dog anything is to mark the exact moment that an action is taken and you can’t do that if your Pomeranian is outside by himself. 

3) There is a huge list of potential dangers involved with this, which we will dive into next. 
What are the dangers of a Pomeranian being outside by himself alone?
There will always be owners who say that they’ve continuously let their toy dog outside alone and nothing bad ever happened. They are the lucky ones. If continually allowed out alone, over the course of a dog’s life, remaining free from all possible dangers with nothing at all ever occurring would be an exception and not the rule. 

These are all of the real dangers that exist: 

1) Other dogs and animals – Having a fenced-in yard limits the number of aggressive dogs and other animals that can get into your yard. It does not guarantee they will not find their way in.

Some examples: In Casselberry, Florida, a 13-year-old Chihuahua named Nela was mauled to death in her own fenced in yard. Two dogs running lose got into the yard by climbing over the chain link fence.

In Albany, Illinois, two dogs escaped and killed a Lab in his own yard a block away. The next year, they escaped again, traveled 1 and 1/2 miles away and killed another dog that was, again, outside in his own yard. 

In Modesto, CA, a Dachshund was violently killed when outside in a fenced yard. He was found partially pulled through the fence by a Pitbull that decapitated him.

And coyotes, which are found in every single state in the U.S. aside from Hawaii should be taken as a serious danger when allowing a Pomeranian outside.
Pomeranian bath outside
Finnley, at 12 weeks old
Photo courtesy of Stacy V.
These animals have learned that small dogs and cats are easy prey. In Milton, Mass, an 11-year-old Shih Tzu named Cally was snatched by a coyote from her own yard; Cally’s owner took off chasing after the coyote that was holding Cally in its mouth. He jumped on the animal, causing it to release its grip. She was taken to the hospital and is recovering. 

Other attacks and snatchings that have occurred just recently have been in Whitefish Bay, WI, New Castle, NY York and Westmister, CO. In all cases, the dogs were toy or small breeds, outside in their yards and with a history of being outside without incident. 

A fence needs to be at least 6 feet high and NOT made of chain link to prevent coyotes. 
Romeo, at 18 months
Photo courtesy of Rechelle Cervantes 
2) Hawks – It is NOT a myth that hawks fly away with Pomeranians. It does happen to Poms and other small dogs. Just a few years ago, in Beech Island, South Carolina, a 10-pound Pomeranian named Tee was snatched and killed by a hawk. The Pom’s owner reported that he was resting inside while his Pomeranian was outside in the yard when he heard the dog “screaming and hollering”. He ran out, but the hawk had already flew away with the Pom. 

In Green Tree, Pennsylvania, a 4-pound Yorkie was outside going to the bathroom when a red-tailed hawk dove down and dug his talons into the dog. It then flew up about 15 feet into the air, then dropped the tiny dog onto the rear deck of the home. The puncture wounds from the talons on the stomach, chest and leg required emergency treatment.  

In Lunenburg, Massachusetts, a 6-pound, 22-month-old Pomeranian named Molly was attacked by a hawk when she was left outside alone on a dog run. After being picked up by the hawk, the Pomeranian was dropped into a neighbor’s yard and not found until 2 days later.
The Pom survived; however, received 54 stitches for puncture wounds in her back, and suffered a dislocated hip and blood loss that required a transfusion.

As a side note, hawks attacking and trying to fly off with Pomeranians can happen in places other than in a person’s yard. In Berkshire, England, the owner of a 4-pound Pomeranian that was being carried in a tote bag for a walk through a park had to fight off a hawk with a 2-foot wing span that kept diving in to try and snatch her Pom. 

And shockingly, at SeaWorld in San Diego, a 2-year-old Pomeranian-Poodle mix named Yogi was attacked by a hawk that had been trained to scare away seagulls. The dog’s owner, who was visiting from Oregon, fought off the hawk that had a hold on Yogi. The owner was eventually successful, however Yogi suffered puncture wounds and developed Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis), which is a fungal disease, though to have been transmitted by the talons.  
In Hanover, Pennsylvania, a 12-year-old, 5-pound Pomeranian named Bambi was found unconscious outside, in a pool of blood, with hawks still attacking and trying to fly off with her. The birds actually lifted her about 2 feet off the ground, but dropped her when her owner yelled and threw plums at them. The Pom was rushed to an emergency clinic; she suffered about a quarter loss of blood from at least 4 puncture wounds and a had lost a tooth. Luckily, she survived by as you can imagine, is extremely skittish now. 

Please note that hawks are a danger to Pomeranians and other small breeds year-round. Not all of them fly south for the winter. Older hawks and those with established territories often choose to remain in place all year.
One of the best leave-in spritzes for Poms; keeps the coat tangle free, protected and healthy
3) Leptospirosis – This is a disease that is spread via urine of wild animals (skunk, deer, raccoon, etc.) and can be found in soil and in water. And when a dog is outside by himself, he is more prone to be sniffing around different areas and investigating spots that he normally would not if with his owner. 

Not all dogs are vaccinated for this because many vets only include this if owners live in an area in which leptospirosis is a concern (your property abuts a forested area, etc.). This disease can be fatal if not caught early.  

Even if you always supervise your Pomeranian when outside, if you think that your home is in an area in which there are wildlife animals, do please speak to your vet about the leptospirosis vaccine. 

4) Insect stings Bees and other stinging insects are always a concern for dogs when outside. Not only can bee stings cause pain and possibly dangerous allergic reactions, but can be fatal as well. Just one example happened in Tomball, Texas. A woman had her two Pomeranians, Mandy and Snowball, outside in her yard. When the dogs became silent, she got concerned and went to check on them. Her Poms were being attacked by a large swarm of bees. Mandy did not survive. 
If you are supervising your Pom, you can pick him up and run inside. If your Pom is outside alone, he is defenseless. 

5) Running away – Dogs do not need to be able to jump fences to escape. Small dogs like the Pomeranian, if left outside unsupervised, can dig under a fence or wiggle through a weak spot. And while you may not even be able to fathom that your Pom would want to run off, do remember that even the most cared for dogs may escape due to canine instinct.

Un-neutered males can have overwhelming urges to chase after the scent of a female (and can smell the urine of a female in heat for up to 3 miles away), un-fixed females may have strong instinct to run off to make themselves available to males and even Pomeranians that are fixed may run due to boredom, curiosity or even due to sensing something that either scares them to run or triggers a chase instinct. 
6) Plants & mushrooms  – Many plants and flowers found in yards are toxic to dogs. The Humane Society lists 96 possible toxic plants and weeds .

Mushrooms are also an outdoor concern. No one even knows exactly how many different types of mushrooms there are; however, in North America, it is estimated to be over 10,000. About 95% of them are edible. And while just 3- 5% are not, they can be quite deadly. In North America, there are over 250 poisonous mushrooms. 

Unless you have extensively studied on this subject, it is near impossible to distinguish a toxic mushroom from a safe one, as they can look extremely similar. The following is a sample of mushrooms that are found through the U.S. and are toxic to both dogs and humans: 

Death Cap (light grey/green without spots) • Destroying Angel (solid white) • Deadly Galerina (innocent looking brown) • L. helveola (cup shaped with branching ribs that look similar to cabbage leaves) • Chestnut Dapperling (white with brown dots) • Green-spored Lepiota (is white with brown scales – Is not often fatal, but causes gastro distress and is the most commonly consumed poisonous mushroom in the United States) • Fly Agaric (red with white dots) • Jeweled Death Cap (pale yellow/gold with white bumps) • Elf’s Saddle (misshapen grey with white stem) • Autumn Galerina (short, flattish rust/brown without spots)

Important facts to know:
  • The tricky thing about a dog ingesting a mushroom is that the toxin can cause a dog to be sick for a bit and then seemingly get better, only to relapse with fatal liver and kidney failure.
  • In some cases, there can be a 6 to 12-hour delay from the time that a dog ingests the mushroom to when symptoms start appearing.
  • Symptoms of mushroom poisoning vary wildly. It can include one, some or all of the following: Vomiting, drooling, weakness, diarrhea, jaundice and/or trouble with coordination. It can lead to coma and death. 
  • Amanita muscaria and Amanita pantherina ingestion often causes a dog to enter into a coma-like state for 6 to 72 hours. It is not uncommon for vets to euthanize a dog at this stage; however, many dogs recover if allowed to eventually wake up. 
  • If you think that your Pomeranian ate a wild mushroom, do not take a chance. If you can carefully and safely do so, place a sample of the mushroom into a sealed zipped plastic bag for testing, take a photo for identification and bring your Pom to the vet ASAP. 
Pomeranian for blog
"Woof, rufff, rrrr...grrr... UMPHF!"

Translation: "Tweets for treats...? ... or share for... ahh... a pear??? 
Well, you get the gist! Show me some love & share this page before you read on."
How long would it take for a Pomeranian to develop hypothermia?

How long a Pomeranian can be outside in cold weather before developing hypothermia depends on the temperature and if the Pom has any sort of protection. 

If a Pom’s coat were wet, this would develop much faster, as well. It is interesting to note, that any long period of time spent outside in any temperature that is lower than body temperature can eventually cause a dog (or human) to develop hypothermia. 

For dogs, hypothermia is a body temp of 98 F (38 C) as normal body temp is 101 to 102.5 F). 
  • In the winter, if a Pom were to get wet from stepping into a puddle or for some reason got outside after a bath when the coat was wet, he could develop hypothermia in as little as 15 minutes. 
  • If a Pom were playing in the snow and the coat became wet from that, depending on the temperature, he could be in trouble after 20 to 30 minutes.
  • With a dry coat, and temps above freezing (32 F) but below 40 F, a Pomeranian can be outside for about 1 hour. If he is active and hydrated, he may be okay for up to 2 hours.
  • With a dry coat and temps below freezing (below 32 F), if actively moving, a Pomeranian can only safely be outside for 30 to 45 minutes. Protection via a winter coat or other warm clothing may extend this to 60 minutes. 
  • With extreme cold temperatures (10 F or less), time outside should remain under 10 minutes.
Can a Pomeranian get frostbite from being outside?

This can and does happen to dogs; however, it mostly occurs to dogs that are left outside for long periods of time in very cold weather. Areas most affected are the tail, paws, nose and tips of the ears. 

The amount of time that it would take for a dog to get frostbite varies depending on the air temperature and wind chill factor. Most dogs will not develop frostbite from normal outdoor exposure such as being walked or being taken outside to go to the bathroom. 

If it were 0 F with 15 mph winds, frostbite could occur in 30 minutes. If it were just 5 F out with 30 mph winds, it could also occur within 30 minutes. 
How long would a Pomeranian have to be outside to develop heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a major concern in the summertime. The risks of this depend on outdoor temperature, humidity factor and the activity level of the dog. 

And while some believe that thick coated breeds like the Pomeranians are more at risk, the coat actually can help a dog cool off, and for this reason shaving a Pom does not necessarily reduce his risk as the coat protects the Pom from direct sun exposure. 

It actually begins with heat exhaustion (panting, weakness, confusion and/or vomiting) and can then develop into heat stroke (continued heavy panting, increased heart rate, red or pale gums, disorientation and/ or diarrhea) which can lead to coma or death if not treated. 

During hot weather, and again depending on many factors, a Pomeranian could get heat exhaustion in as little as 30 minutes. 
Pomeranian outside in grass
Photo courtesy of Laura Montanez
Is it okay if my Pomeranian always stays inside and never goes outside?

While some dogs do indeed live their lives without ever going outside, it is highly unhealthy. And while a Pom can be very active inside, unless you live in a mansion, most likely there just isn’t enough room for the dog to receive proper exercise. Purposeful exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace for 30 minutes allows a dog to release pent-up energy that otherwise can manifest as barking, destructive chewing and other behavioral issues.

Having schedule walks gives a dog something to look forward to, socializes him to outdoor elements, allows him to ‘be a dog’ by seeing new things, hearing new noises and smelling new scents, is healthy for the heart, helps ward off diseases and aids in maintaining proper muscle tone. 

What can I do if my Pomeranian is scared of going outside?

It is normal for dogs to be wary of things that are new to them. They may also react badly to new elements by barking or not listening. The very best thing that you can do is to continually yet gradually expose your Pom to outside elements. And remember, that it is never a good idea to go from 0 to 100. 

Since the outdoors can cause a sensory overload to dogs that are not yet used to it, start slow with some time in a quiet section of the yard. Go for short walks that bypass triggers and heavy traffic and slowly build to busier routes. The worse thing that you can do is to stay inside to avoid things; once a dog sees/hears/experiences elements over the course of time, he is far less likely to react. 
An awesome rain coat for Poms; is 100% waterproof, self-adjusting, has a leash attachment & comes in both XS and S.
What can I do to help my Pomeranian that won't go outside when it’s raining?

Some dogs don’t even seem to notice the rain while others may want to scamper away at the first sign of drizzle. While you’ll want to limit exposure to the rain if there’s a torrential downpour or if it’s cold and rainy, it’s a good idea to help a dog learn that rain won’t hurt him.

If a Pomeranian is scared of rain, you can keep him close to you under a large umbrella and placing a raincoat on him is also an effective choice. On warm days with light sprinkles, encourage your Pom to check things out. Usually, this fear will lessen as a dog becomes accustomed to the rain.  

At what age can you bring a Pomeranian puppy outside?

There are 3 parts to this: going outside into the yard, going outside to public places while carrying your Pom and placing your puppy down in public places. 

Outside in your own yard – When you hear that puppies cannot go outside until they have had all of their puppy shots, this refers to areas in which there can be or has been other dogs. 
If other dogs do not have access to your yard, you can bring your Pom puppy to that protected area starting at 8 weeks old.

This said, also consider the safety and cleanliness of the yard. You’ll want to assess if the lawn has been treated for fleas, weeds, etc. with chemicals and how long those agents may be present at toxic levels. If you are not sure, you may opt to place your puppy in a canine playpen in order to be safe off of the ground. 

Outside in public, carrying – Until your puppy has had all of his shots, plus 2 weeks’ time, you may bring him with you to places starting at 8 weeks old, but do not place him down. This includes any area outside of your home: sidewalks, neighbor’s yards, stores, parks, etc. 

Outside in public, on the ground – Once all puppy shots are received, and it is suggested to wait 2 weeks past that point to cover any windows of susceptibility, it is safe to bring a pup out in public and allow him to be on the ground. While vaccination schedules do slightly vary depending on the vet, in most cases a Pomeranian puppy will be ready to freely walk and explore (on leash of course!) public places by the 12 to 16-week mark. Do check with your vet to confirm that all puppy immunizations are complete. 
Can a Pomeranian get fleas just from being outside?

Yes. While dogs can definitely catch fleas from other dogs (fleas can jump up to 6 feet), they can also catch fleas simply from being outside. Fleas can survive outdoors for long periods of time; they do not need to be on animals. They may be present in many areas, brought there by other dogs or from wildlife. They can be on the ground or in the grass at parks, in yards, at kennels, inside dog houses, under porches and even inside homes on furniture and in carpeting. 

A dog can catch diseases from fleas, bites are very itchy, bites (actually the flea saliva) can cause allergic reactions and once a dog has fleas it takes a lot of effort to rid him and the house of these nasty pests. So, you will want to protect your Pomeranian from fleas. If you are like thousands of other owners who want to stay away from harsh chemicals, there are some natural choices.
No chemicals, no deet, no pesticides, all natural herbal balm
Is it bad for a Pomeranian to drink from outside puddles?

Yes. Puddles in the spring can contain toxic ice melt chemicals or road salt. And a dog can catch any number of water-borne parasites from puddles (even clean looking ones), including giardia (the vaccine for this does not prevent this, it just prevents shedding of the disease to help stop the spread), coccidia (all ages are at risk), leptospirosis (not all dogs are vaccinated for this), campylobacter (pups under 6 months are most at risk) and cryptosporidia (pups under 6 months are most at risk).

A final word –There is a vast array of dangers to toy breed dogs when allowed to be outside on their own. It’s really best to think of your Pom as your child. If you would not allow a toddler in your care to be outside alone, please do not do this to your Pomeranian. Our dogs trust us to keep them safe. 
Have you checked out the Pom polls?

Have fun seeing how your Pom & your thoughts about your Pom compare to others in the Pomeranian Owner Poll.
Did you catch last few blog topics?
Choosing Snacks for a Pomeranian - Covers your best options for homemade treats, store-bought and specialty treats.
Things Poms Love - The top 10 things that every Pomeranian loves to have.
Pomeranian Care Tips - The top 10 tips for taking excellent care of a Pom of any age.
Pomeranian Nose Colors - A fun and informative look at all the possible nose colors of the Pom. Lots of photos.
Pomeranian Humping Issues - From puppies to older dogs, both males and females, read why dogs hump and what you can do to stop out-of-control humping behavior. 
Pomeranian Eye Color - A detailed & fun look (with lots of cute photos) regarding all possible eye colors found with the Pomeranian breed. Those accepted by the AKC and those that are not. 
Things to Do Now:

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