What You Need to Know to Keep Your Dog Outside
Is it Okay to Leave Your Dog Outside All of the Time?
This issue has been hotly debated as of late and the people who have tried to give honest answers have been accused of animal cruelty and neglect.
Leave a comment if you disagree.
I have even read a quiz given by breeders, in which those potential adopters who think it is okay to leave some breeds outside are eliminated from their waiting lists. What breeders need to do is find out which potential owners are going to lock their dogs into a crate for their convenience.
Dogs enjoy being outside, and many dogs can live in in the yard all of the time. Or do you think that being shut in a crate for a crime you did not commit better than being outside?
Does Your Dog Think it is Okay to Be Outside?
If you are wearing a fur coat, being locked in a car sitting in the sun or trapped in a house with the furnace blasting are both uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous.
And, despite what certain people claim, you can generalize at times. A Chihuahua would not do well living outside in North Dakota. A Siberian Husky does not do well living outside in the hot and humid summer of South Carolina.
Those are generalizations, based on breeds and prevailing weather conditions.
If a Siberian Husky is used to being indoors, but is put outside, that is not the same thing as living outside all of the time. This breed does not need to be brought inside during cold spells. It is cruel to take a dog that is adapted and built for the cold, and able to handle the cold, and then to make her come inside just enough so that she will start to become accustomed to the heat, then thrust her back out the next time someone comes over to visit.
That is the type of neurotic human behavior that a dog cannot handle. Unless one of my dogs was sick, I would never have forced him or her to come into my house.
Some breeds of dog prefer to live outside in the cold.
Which Dog Breeds Can Be Kept Outside?
All of the livestock guard dogs that are working will do better if kept outside. If you ask a Great Pyrenees, Komodor, Kuvasz, Anatolian Shepherd, Caucasian Ovcharka, or any of the other guard dogs to come inside at times, and then go out at other times to guard the flock, it is hard on the dog´s health. A dry area of the barn can be available so that the dog can get out of the rain but, other than during a storm, he will probably not even use it.
The sled dogs with thick fur coats can be kept outside. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Alaskan Huskies, and other sled dogs will all do okay. Thousands of sled dog drivers across the Arctic keep these dogs outside. Amazingly enough, they are still able to perform and run races like the 1100 mile long Iditarod. You can logically infer that they are also not being abused.
Many sheep herding dogs are going to do well outside. The German Shepherd Dog and others like him have a coat that is meant to stand bad weather. As long as they have shelter, they can do fine.
Some other breeds like Tibetan Mastiffs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Newfoundlands, and Saint Bernards all do okay outside.
If you decide to keep one of these dogs inside, do so consistently, not whenever you feel in the mood or you think the night might be too cold.
That sort of behavior is not good for the health of the dog.
Which Dog Breeds Should Not Be Left Outside?
Any of the small dog breeds, or even the medium sized dogs with short coats, should not be left outside. Little dogs like Chihuahuas, Maltese, and Yorkshire Terriers can freeze to death, no matter how good the dog house.
Does Your Outside Dog Need a Kennel With Food and Water?
Shelter should always be provided. A big kennel is a great alternative for times when you cannot be there, and a dog should always have a place he can retreat to in inclement weather. At times the shelter your provide will not be accepted. During the harshest cold spell, with the wind blowing and snow falling, my Siberian Huskies would prefer to be outside in a snow drift, their bodies curled up under a drift and their noses protected by their bushy tails.
During rain or thunder, the dogs would take advantage of the shelter.
Food should be provided in adequate amounts to keep the dog in good shape. A dog that is kept outside in the cold will have extra caloric requirements and should be fed extra, and given a diet high in fat. (Many sled dog drivers give salmon; I used chicken necks which are naturally wrapped in fat.) Does that mean he needs to be fed free choice, with his food available 24/7? No, the food can still be given in regular meals.
Water should be provided throughout the day. If the dog´s water freezes during the night he is not going to die of dehydration. Anyone who tells you that this is going to happen is trying to scare you by making inflammatory statements.
It is not cruel for a dog to go without water during the middle of the night when he is sleeping. If this were cruel, all of those writers who suggest puppies be housetrained by taking away their water in the evening should also be prosecuted for cruelty.
If you are not going to go out and provide your dog with water throughout the day there are electric water heaters available. A water heater does not excuse you from taking your dog out and exercising her.
Can Dogs Be Left Outside Without Toys or Other Dogs?
No. Dogs are social animals and it is not right to leave them outside without livestock to watch, other dogs to play with, toys to chew on, or humans to interact with.
Leaving a dog locked up alone in a garage, no matter what the weather conditions, is a horrible thing to do and will lead to excessive barking, chewing, and other abnormalities.
If you want to leave your dog locked up outside just so that you do not have to interact with her, you should not have a dog.
I prefer not to leave any dog alone at night. My dogs sleep in my bedroom, on the floor, but if I had five or six to take care of, I would probably leave them outside in one of my kennels.
Dogs are not humans. If you are really interested in doing what your dog prefers, do not force all dogs to live inside all of the time, and do not force a dog with a thin coat to spend his life at the end of a chain or rope. Both things are just as cruel as locking them in a crate at your convenience.
It is okay to leave dogs outside. Yes, I am writing this for you.
Can You Leave Your Dog Outside?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
I am a nurse working 12 hour night shifts. I don’t have a dog yet, but really want to get one. I’m wanting to know if I put a doggy door in my back garage door leading into the back yard, and keep the garage well ventilated, if I can leave the dog there to wander freely between garage and fenced backyard while I’m at work or sleeping during my 3 days per week?
That sounds great, but be aware that dogs have been stolen from the back yard many times, so if your dog is small you need to search for an alternative. If you are in the US, is the region you are in very hot or cold? Consider this when getting a dog.Helpful 28
I have a 4 month old Pomeranian- Siberian husky. We just got her and there are major issues of her going potty in her crate and then rolling around in it. I was told by the trainer to leave her in crate at night. Each morning I find her covered with feces inside that small crate. We have a fenced in lawn but I’ve fenced off a smaller area and place a dog house in it. We live in DC. Would it be ok to only leave her out for the night until she is completely house trained? Only for the night.
I think it is a bad idea to keep a four month old dog in a crate all night. Dogs are social animals and are not shunned to a cave to sleep alone.
A Pomsky will be fine outside all night but she is never going to be housetrained if you revert to this now. She is probably going to be outside, feel alone, and start barking and howling. Are you ready to listen to your neighbors complaining about your dog barking all night?
If this were my dog the first thing I would do is housetrain her properly. You will have to wake up and let her out in the middle of the night for about a week.
After she is housetrained, if you want to leave her out when during the day there should be no problem. (You might need to worry about someone stealing her, of course. I do not know what kind of area you live in.)Helpful 23
We have a six-month-old Shepherd/Terrier mix who loves her crate; she sleeps in it no problem from day one. We live in San Diego and during the day for the five hours we are gone and are trying to decide if leaving her in the crate or outside in a covered 5x5 kennel would be better? She is a rescue and wasn't adopted until she was six months.
I would much rather be outside than locked up in a tiny room in which I could not even turn around. Your dog may be okay with being locked up for a while but it is not a good thing for her.
As long as she has water and shade, being outside for those hours is a much better choice.Helpful 3
I have 3 month old shepherd/retrievers. We would like for them to be outside all the time. So far they have been fine. We have a 50x50 chain link fence in a shaded wooded area. I have gotten concern from others about leaving them outside at night due to possible coyotes or bears. We live in a mountain/rural area. Are they safe?
I cannot promise you that your dogs will be safe from wildlife. I live in the Atlantic Rain Forest and have a jaguar that comes into my back yard. My dogs go crazy when they hear him, and if they were loose they would end up attacking him and be killed.
The best thing you can do for your outside dogs is get them used to coming in to the house at night. Your dogs are going to be big. Wouldnt you rather have them defending you than the dog pen?Helpful 9
Could I leave a Siberian husky outside all day in Arizona? Yesterday, the temperature was 113.
Leaving your dog outside in those conditions is a bad idea.
It is not a good idea to have a sled dog in a hot area. I do know of people that have Siberians here in the tropics, but they are inside all day, in air conditioning.Helpful 18