Can My Dog Live Outside? (5 Reasons When Its OK)

If you’re considering a ‘guard dog’ or just want to give your pet a big, fun place to live and play in, then you’re probably wondering ‘Can my dog live outside?’ and you’re in luck. We’ve got 5 reasons when it’s OK that you can use as a sort of checklist.

Basically, if your dog is big enough to handle it, they have a good dog house and ‘regular family’ time, as well as comfortable weather and a safe, secure yard, then it should be fine. Just keep in mind that some requirements will be a little different based on the breed of dog that you have.

Today we’ll take a closer look at 5 Reasons when it’s OK for your dog to be outside and go into a little more detail about each reason. This should give you a good idea if your dog ‘qualifies’ as an outside dog, so let’s get started with our reasons and the things that you’ll need to know first!

Your dog is medium-sized or larger

If you have a small breed dog, then we really don’t recommend that they spend time alone in the backyard when you can’t easily check in on them. Small breeds are vulnerable to animals like raccoons and possums, while the smallest breeds might even get scooped up by a predator bird such as an owl or a hawk.

That said, if your dog is medium or large sized, then they meet one of the first criteria required for an outside dog. Medium and larger sized dogs can not only defend themselves against backyard baddies, but they are also large enough to regulate their body heat more efficiently and their immune systems are strong.

Your dog has a proper doghouse

The next requirement for an outside dog is going to be a doghouse and there are a few things about it that you need to know. First, your doghouse needs to be ventilated in a way that won’t let rain inside and it also needs to have insulation.

While this may be done with Styrofoam and a thin wooden layer to keep your dog from chewing it, it’s much better if you go with a higher-end insulation. Good insulation can make it as much as 20 degrees warmer inside and this is a must when it starts to get chilly out.

You also want to place it properly if your dog will be living outside. It needs to be close to the house, so that your dog feels less alienated, and you want the door to face north or east – as storms come in to the United States from the south and west, most commonly.

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Finally, if you really want to upgrade that doghouse, there are even AC and heating units that are specifically made for this purpose. This can help to give a little added insurance that your dog is comfortable if the weather starts to get a little on the bad side. These are optional, of course, but nice to have!

You are socializing with your dog regularly

Dogs are pack animals and different breeds are going to require more or less of your time than others. Due to this, you need to make sure that even if your dog is living outside, that you are interacting with them each and every day.

This means playtime, regular walks, and some indoor time should be allowed too. Your dog is a part of the family, after all, and you don’t want them to feel like they aren’t part of their pack! Dogs need regular interaction with us and it’s vital – even for outside dogs.

Without it, your dog can become antisocial, aggressive, or even depressed enough to stop eating. Too much time alone also puts them at risk for a condition known as ‘separation anxiety’, which make them stressed, anxious, and fairly unpredictable when you or someone else are attached to are not there.

So, if your dog will be living outside, just make sure that they get plenty of love and attention. Yes, they act all tough, but your pet needs love just like everyone else does, so don’t let them start feeling alone out there and everything should be fine.

The outdoor weather is not too hot or too cold

If your dog is going to be outside all of the time, then the weather in your area needs to be fairly mild if you aren’t planning to bring them indoors when it gets hotter or colder. Dogs run a little warmer than we do, with body temperatures averaging between 101 and 102.5 degrees.

 As such, they can easily overheat, but they don’t start getting dangerously cold until the temperature gets under 45 degrees. Some breeds will have more or less resistance to heat and cold than others, as well, and you need to factor this into the equation.

For instance, Siberian Huskies can withstand temperatures at -60 degrees, but if it’s hot outside then they’re going to suffer more than short-haired breeds that are built for warmer climes. So, consider the breed and consider the local weather.

If the weather is mild in your area or you intend to let your dog stay inside for the winter or during the day in the summer, then everything should be fine with your dog spending most of their time outside.

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Your yard is properly ‘dog-proofed’

 Dogs are smarter than you think they are and they can be downright sneaky at times. They’re quite adept diggers, for one thing, so while they are living in the yard you need to check from time to time to make sure that they aren’t digging an ‘escape tunnel’.

Some breeds dig more than others, too, with Beagles and Border Collies both being good examples of potential tunnel-makers that you’ll want to keep an eye on.

If you find that your dog is digging, you can bury some wire around the fence edges to help to make it more secure and more toys can actually help as well – as digging is sometimes done just to alleviate boredom.

Provided that you keep an eye on them and secure the yard a bit if you see signs of digging, then everything should work out – just be vigilant in checking and keep the fence in good repair!

In closing: Sometimes it’s okay to be an outside dog!

As long as your dog is big enough to have a healthy immune system and regulate their body temperatures, then you’re off to a good start. They’ll also need a comfy doghouse with some soft bedding inside, as well as toys and lots of time with you and the rest of the family.

With their social needs met, you’ll still want to bring them inside when temperatures get extreme, and you’ll need to inspect the yard from time to time – some canines are quite the escape artists.

That said, if your dog fits the profile, you’ve got the proscribed gear, and you’ll be keeping a sharp eye on them to make sure that they’re safe and healthy, then they might just be perfectly happy living as an outside dog!