Some dogs absolutely LOVE their backyard time and it makes you wonder if they might not enjoy a night out on their own. If you are wondering ‘Can I leave my dog outside overnight?” then we have some reasons why and why not that can help you to make that decision.
Basically, if the temperature is warm, you’ve got a doghouse, and the yard is safe and secure, it should be okay, although you don’t want to allow a small breed to stay outside alone overnight and if it’s cold and there’s no doghouse, then outside overnight stays are definitely a bad idea.
Today we’ll explain the ‘why and why nots’ in a little more detail, in order to help you to make a more informed choice when it comes to letting your dog have a night out. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Reasons your dog can stay outside overnight
There are certainly scenarios when letting your doggy stay outside overnight be perfectly fine, provided that they aren’t going to howl and the moon and make the neighbors hate you! Let’s take a look at where a ‘night out’ for your pooch might be perfectly permissible.
Temperatures are optimal for your breed
Ideally, if your dog is spending the night outside, it’s needs to be warm and cozy so that they don’t get a chill and get sick. With winter breed dogs, you have a lot more leeway where that is concerned, but for most dogs they are going to be okay if the temperature is not under 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
That said… this applies to most dogs, but with small breeds it needs to be warm and toasty and even then, leaving them out overnight is a risk.
Aside from the fact that they need a lot of socializing, smaller breeds are frequently targeted by predators and even curious raccoons visiting your little dog can be a recipe for disaster. That said, if you have a medium sized or large dog and it’s nice out (and not too cold for them), then a night out should be okay.
Your dog has a comfortable doghouse
Your dog’s doghouse is also an important factor. Doghouses need to be well-insulated and also ventilated, so that they will be a comfortable temperature inside whether it’s summer or winter and ‘rain or shine’.
The doghouse should also face east or north, since in the United States storms tend to blow in from the west and from the south. Facing east or north will help to keep the rain from going right through the open doorway and soaking up the insides. For extra protection from flooding, it should also be elevated slightly.
If the house is not insulated and doesn’t have some comfy bedding inside, then it won’t be much warmer than the outside, and a sudden temperature drop could be bad or even fatal for your dog, so make sure the doghouse will be proof against the weather for that night outside.
Your yard is safe and secure
Even is it’s warm and your dog has a good doghouse, your yard needs to have a strong fence that is in good repair or your dog could get themselves into trouble. Dogs bay a lot at night when they are outside, as during this time dogs in the neighborhood can hear each other and communicate.
If your yard isn’t very secure, then your dog might decide to go meet one of those other dogs, and then you have a problem.
Even if the fence is solid, you should check regularly if your dog is going to be overnighting outside a lot. Some dogs will dig patiently near the fence and if you aren’t careful, then they might escape!
Reasons your dog shouldn’t stay out overnight
Now that we’ve outlined the optimal scenarios that make overnighting-outside a viable option for your dog, let’s take a look at some reasons why it might not be a good idea to let them do so.
You have a small breed dog
We mentioned that small dog breeds are more vulnerable to predators and it’s worth repeating. Small dogs CANNOT be left on their own overnight. Hawks, raccoons, possums… even the occasion aggressive squirrel can easily harm your little one and this can lead to tragedy.
Sudden temperature drops are also going to be more likely to kill them. While a medium or larger breed of dog might be able to survive the night in their doghouse, a smaller dog will have a harder time doing this.
These little breeds need more attention and protection, so if they are outside, you need to be there with them to supervise it. It’s just not safe for them.
You don’t have a doghouse
If you don’t have a doghouse outside in your backyard, then where is your dog supposed to sleep? Sleeping on the ground will be uncomfortable at best and it’s also a good way for your dog to end up with parasites – fleas if your dog is lucky, worms or worse if you are not!
While you don’t need a doghouse for brief playtimes in the yard, for overnighting it’s going to be a must. If you absolutely need them to spend one night outside, you could always take their crate and put some warm bedding in it and put it on the porch – but only if it is very warm outside.
That crate won’t provide any protection from the cold, so that’s an option you should only use as an emergency ‘makeshift’ doghouse for a single overnight in the yard.
It’s cold outside
Most dogs are going to be uncomfortable in the cold, with the exception of the hardier winter breeds. For most dogs, any temperature under 45 degrees Fahrenheit is where things start to get dangerous. While a doghouse can help, unless it’s super insulated or has a heater installed, the odds are your dog will get cold.
The best thing to do is to simply never risk it – if it’s not warm outside, then your dog will have to wait for their overnight fun until it’s warmer and consequently, much safer.
As you can see, there are obviously times when a night out is perfectly fine. It needs to be warm enough for your breed of dog, they’ll need a doghouse to stay comfortable and to sleep in, and the yard needs to be secure, safe, and in good repair.
If your dog is small, however, then it’s unsafe for them to be unsupervised and alone outside, and if you don’t have a doghouse or the weather is simply too cold, then outside time for the whole night should definitely be off the table.
Just consider the facts in regards to your specific dog and use your best judgment – everything should be okay as long as you’ve considered the facts!
My name is Ken and I’m one of the staff writers at Petloverguy.com. I’ve cared for pets most of my life starting with hamsters, turtles, and snakes. Then moving up to parakeets, guinea pigs, and even ducks.
I currently live with two yorkies and a chihuahua mix.