If you and your pet are city-dwellers, you are familiar with all of the rules. Walks are on a schedule, you always collar and leash your pet, and before too long, you and your dog know just about every dog on the block. There is a system for living in the city with a dog. Moving to the country means this whole system will change. This can cause a pet a little bit of anxiety and of course, making a move anywhere can be stressful for all of us. Here's how this might affect your pet.

Once you and your dog move to the country, you'll notice the pace starts to slow down. You'll probably have a yard and this means you can let your dog outside whenever he or she needs it. This is a nice upgrade over bundling up, walking down a flight of stairs and walking your pet around the block until they find that "perfect spot". However, this brings challenges as well. You will want to fence in your yard if at all possible. This not only keeps your dog safely confined to your property, it also keeps other dogs, critters and coyotes (yes, coyotes) on the outside. 

Another benefit of living in the country is the expanded space that you have to play with your pet. Take advantage of this. Stock up on some dog toys and try to spend as much time as you can playing with your pet. It is great for them and even better for you. Recharging your batteries is good for the soul, and playing with your dog is a great way to do just that. On the flip side, you'll want to make sure that your pet doesn't spend too much time outdoors. In the fall and winter, dog jackets and/or dog sweaters are a good idea to keep your pet as comfortable and warm as possible.

In the country, you will encounter a new set of potential pests. That's right - ticks, fleas, skunks and the previously mentioned coyotes. Take a quick assessment of your yard. Keeping it freshly mowed will help keep the insect population down, but checking your dog regularly for ticks and insect bites is now a priority. Fencing your property will cut down on skunks, snakes and other varmints, but don't be surprised if your pet gets into a tangle once in a blue moon. Keep your pet's vet number on speed dial and if possible, keep a first aid kit in the closet, at the ready.

Finally, living in the country you will encounter dog owners with all types of ideas on dog ownership, many of which are different from "city folk". Be prepared for this. Again, keeping your pet fenced in and away from roaming dogs is wise. Additionally to keep your pet safe, we recommend ensuring that all of your dogs have durable dog collars and up to date dog tags, just in case they ever get loose in the wild. Additionally, listing "reward" on your dog's collar and/or tag is always a good idea, just to ensure that if your pet is found, there is extra incentive for the party to call you, instead of keeping your dog as their own.

Moving from the city to the country has it's challenges, but if you pay extra attention to your dog's needs, it can be a fantastic choice. Just take it slow, make sure to keep your pet safe and secure and you and your dog will love the joys of country living. As Eddie Albert once sang, "Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside!"

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