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Keeping An Outdoor Dog Warm In Winter

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So my parents have agreed to let me get a dog except my mom doesn't want the dog to be inside, even in the winter. We plan to put the dog in the garage except it's not insulated or connected to the house. We are going to give an enclosed space in the garage to the dog, and provide blankets, a heated bed and a dog house, of course, but is that enough? We aren't sure how to keep the dog warm in the winter.

Ashley from Utah, Salt Lake City

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Recent Answers

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11/23/2012

I think that keeping an outdoor dog warm in the winter is very easy to do! My parents won't let me keep our female black lab inside, but we have done a wonderful job of keeping her happy outside in the winter. She was born in a barn, and we made our own dog house for her! It is very well insulated on every side, has a tilted roof, and lots of hay inside to keep her warm!

Then she has an area that is fenced in for her to poop in or just walk around. We clean up her poop every day, provide her with food and water that's fresh and unfrozen, and in the harsh winter nights that are freezing we put her in a kennel in the garage.

Keep in mind that to keep a dog warm in the winter, they will need exercise! Get your snow gear on and run around with your dog and provide an adequate amount of love for your dog. Honestly, it isn't cruel, it is a way of life for dogs, they used to live outside before they were made pets, and now keeping them happy and warm outside is very possible! Good luck :)

By Julie03/19/2010

I have 4 spinone's and a westie. The westie comes indoors at night but sleeps with the spinone's during the day. The spinone's sleep in converted stables but have elevated beds with a dog heater over each bed. They also have a gas fire when the temps are cold. They have a radio and tv with aerial. The TV is really for me as I sit with them in the evening until their last let out time. They have a large paddock to run in which is securely fenced and I have a seperate garden which is completely open to a river. Ducks etc live on the river bank and the dogs sit and watch them. The third stable has been converted into a wash/grooming room just for the dogs which is also heated. They have air conditioning for the summer. We only have a 2 bedroom cottage but lots of land. We moved to this property purely for the dogs. If you decide to keep dogs it must be for the full duration of their lives and their lives should be lived to the full!

RE: Keeping An Outdoor Dog Warm In Winter

By susan [3]10/14/2008

you can also use straw to keep a dog warm in the winter time. we have a german shepherd and she doesn't like to be in the house so we got her a dog house and put straw in it for the winter time and she does great
good luck

RE: Keeping An Outdoor Dog Warm In Winter

By Allen (Guest Post)08/02/2007

I think it is a lot of bunk to say a dog has to live inside. I agree during harsh weather conditions it is necessary to make sure your dog is taken care of. A dog is a pet not a member of the family. It is not a human. Applying human ethics to animals does not make sense.

By Mary [12]07/25/2007

Ashley, some of this advice about not owning a dog unless you can keep it indoors seems awfully harsh to me. You can have a happy dog that lives outside - I know because I have two large labs that live outside 99% of the time because of my allergies that have worsened over the years and they are well behaved and as happy as can be!! I have made it a ritual to go out every morning and visit with them first thing. I am also in and out of the backyard all day doing yardwork and gardening and several times at night and always make a point to make it a big deal out of visiting with them. Just make sure that you are giving your dog plenty of attention and interaction throughout the day. We do, and I don't feel bad at all that they "live" outdoors. Other than human interaction and attention, they need shelter, shade, and fresh water and it sounds like you have some good ideas about keeping them warm. Mine do come indoors - either in the mudroom or in a lighted garage with circulated air or heat - at times that there is stormy weather, or when the heat index is extremely high or when temperatures drop close to around freezing. Otherwise, they are perfectly fine outdoors. As far as winter goes, if you live in an area where there are harsh winters (I live in the south, so not so much here) there are also outdoor heaters that you can purchase - like the ones that they use at football games to keep the players warm at the bench. You may want to look into one of those.

By Jennifer Nelson [1]07/25/2007

Kimberly, please contact your local humane society. How unfair to the poor dog to be forced to live in those conditions.

Animal enforcement officers will take care of this. Please let us know.

Jennifer
Northern Virginia

By Kimberly (Guest Post)07/24/2007

My neighbor and his family have a 1yr old dog, looks like a mix, about 45pounds. They do not have a fenced in yard, and I recently learned that the dog has been living in their attached garage. I can see fresh food and water, and the garage is immaculately clean. However, the door is kept down most of the time, and they are rarely home, plus they keep her tied in the corner. Does anyone know if this is legal, it seems like poor ventilation and overheating/frigid temperatures could put the dog at risk. Plus, she is very overweight, I have never seen them take her for a walk, and I know a dog is its happiest and healthiest when it has room to romp and play. She has about a 5 foot circle radius to live in, and must be terribly lonely. Ironically she is the sweetest thing, not bitter at all. Can anyone offer suggestions on if I should approach my neighbor regarding my concerns?

By Laura (Guest Post)07/10/2007

It wouldn't be fair to keep a dog in an environment where he will be isolated from people. Instead of getting a dog, why don't you consider helping out in an animal shelter or a local organization that helps animals. My sister could not afford to keep a pet for her teenagers, so they found an organization that needed volunteers to walk, groom and love their animals until they were adopted. Ask a local vet for help finding one in your area. Good luck.

By Maddy07/09/2007

Hi Ashley, I'm originally from Connecticut and when i was up there my dog was not allowed in the house either, i had a collie and she had the run of the yard (big yard) and had her dog house, she didn't like the cedar chips in her bed but she did love leaves (rake leaves into a spot where you can cover them for the winter as they will need changing) that fell off the trees covered with a nice comfy flannel type blanket in the winter make sure the dog house has a rubber flap over the doorway of the dog house, if it got really cold close to zero she stayed in our basement on those nights, course your winters are probably colder than mine were so i think it's best for you to get a Husky.. Basically they will be conditioned for the outside temps if you keep them outside starting from puppies... Think about the stray dogs they roam around in all kinds of weather..

Dogs in the summer will automatically dig a whole in the yard so they can keep cool they need lots of fresh water in the summer... What they do need is though is a lot of love and effection and made not to feel like no one cares.. Keep in mind that a dog is a big responsibility and needs lots of love and effection, grooming and walking them is very important for their health and paws.. Puppies are very cute but they don't stay puppies forever they get to be big dogs, Make sure you spay or neuter your dog unless you are going to breed him or her. and they can be your very best friend and they are always there for you with their unconditional love just like all the other animals, you just got to make the time for them and don't spend too much time with your friends and ignore your dog, if you are ready for all that responsibility then get your dog other wise don't do it, it wouldn't be fair to the dog.....

Good Luck and Best Wishes!!

By Annie Rios Hill [12]07/09/2007

Actually you will be miserable as well. I cannot
imagine having my yorkie, Jack Russell and shi-poo
out in winter it would break my heart. You need to
research the breed and know if it can be alone for
such long periods and will some be able to visit the
dog outside? You might consider a small dog and
talk to your mom and research training the doggie.
Mine are my little baby-s .
I give you points for researching so far in advance
good luck and let us know what you decide.

By Jennifer Nelson [1]07/09/2007

BRAVO, mncl.

Her mother does not have a CLUE. Please do not put a poor dog in that environment.

Jennifer
Northern Virginia

By Nicole [8]07/09/2007

To do such a thing is cruel. Please be concerned with the dog's well being. Your mother would do you a better service saying no to a dog, than subjecting the dog to this type of care. Dogs are wonderful, but they deserve proper care. Why not wait till you are on your own and able to provide proper care for the dog. It may be a beautiful dream to own a dog, but that dog is the one that will suffer with those conditions. Be realistic and consider the animal.

By Nancy from Florida (Guest Post)07/09/2007

Please don't get a dog until/unless your mother lets you keep him/her inside -- would your mother be interested in helping you choose the dog for the family (since that's what the dog will be)? Have you checked out www.Petfinders.com? All the animals for adoption on that site are in shelters because of being abandonned or picked up as strays. (I have adopted several, I have 2 now that we've adopted from a rescue shelter.) You can choose by breed, by size, etc, either locally or regionally. You can look at the pictures and find one that you like the looks of, and there is contact information for each animal so you can call or email the shelter for more information.

I know you are probably absolutely longing for a dog, but now that you know how unhappy a dog will be in the garage, I hope you'll rethink this! Please don't get a dog until it will be a member of your family!

Warmly,
Nancy in Florida

By Jennifer Nelson [1]07/09/2007

Do not subject a poor dog to isolation, freezing and hot temperatures. It is not fair. It's obvious your Mom does not want a dog, so wait until you have your own place and then you will be able to properly care for an innocent pet.

The joy of having dogs is to share the sofa, the bed and have them around you all of the time.

Where I live, Humane Societies and Rescue Leagues will not adopt to anyone who would force a pet to live outdoors.

Jennifer
Northern Virginia

By Malinda [3]07/09/2007

I have had dogs all my life and we have never never had a dog that lived outside. The other posts are right, they are social animals and it would not be fair to get a dog that you can not enjoy as a loving pet indoors. Please think this over and maybe someday when you have your own home, you can have an indoor pet. Why get a dog if you can not truly enjoy his company.

By Dana [1]07/09/2007

Ashley, I agree with a lot of the previous posts. Dogs are social creatures and it would be cruel to keep one isolated in a garage.
Think of it this way: How would you feel if you were put in a lonely garage with nothing to do? Sitting in the dark, day after day, waiting for a scrap of attention.
You don't say why your mother won't allow a dog inside. If she's concerned about the shedding, then I hate to tell you this, but everyone will probably track in dog hairs every time they visit the garage.
Personally, I think you should wait until you're on your own and can treat a dog the way it needs to be treated. There is no way to safely keep a dog outside in freezing weather, and even if it's physically safe, it could be very emotionally damaging to the dog to live in such isolation.
Good luck and I hope your mother has a change of heart and allows you to get a dog to keep indoors.

By Kim Churchman [3]07/09/2007

My experience with the flat electric warmers was a bust, they DO NOT FEEL WARM TO THE TOUCH, they promise only 44 degrees on the label, so why buy it? And the post above is true, the dog needs to be with its pack, and that's you, so bring him in the house and be good to him! Otherwise he is out there miserable physically with being froze to death (it happens regularly, and even if he survives it's wrong) and also brokenhearted, wondering what he did to be banished from the pack. Dogs' ideal temp is 63' F, and warmer is fine (they like laying on the paved driveway in spring) but winter temps are not okay. Sometimes being a very caring and loving owner and doing the very best for your dog means rehoming him. Good luck.

By Shera [4]07/09/2007

I agree that it might be a better idea to wait awhile before getting a dog. A dog is a living breathing member of the family and to just keep it in a garage to play with it when you feel like it isnt doing the dog any favors.

I know youre not responsible for that idea, I just want you to think long and hard about what sort of life you would be creating for your pet. Is that the sort of life you would want for yourself?

I have known dogs who did quite well outdoors year round but were given ample warm bedding and lots of room to run, like in the country.

If your dog has only you for entertainment your mother might be changing her mind about letting you use the garage after the doggie has wrecked something out of loneliness, boredom and frustration while youre away at school.

Yes, please wait, do lots of research, enjoy your friend's dogs and learn all you can so that you can be a suitable companion for a dog when you do get one. A dog is a huge committment and since you are the one who wants one you want to be sure that you are ready to take that on.

Your mother might even soften up in the meantime and I think it's best that a dog is brought into a home where it is welcome. Far too many dogs have been wrecked and ended up in shelters because their human companions didnt care enough about them to learn what their needs are.

Best of luck hon.

By Nan Corpe [6]07/05/2007

No, it's not good enough unless you plan to get a dog that likes cold weather, perhaps a husky. No dog should be left along anywhere. They should be part of the family.
You don't say your age, and you don't mention who will be paying for regular veterinarian visits, etc.
If they aren't willing to treat the dog like a member of the family and take loving care of it, wait until you are older and have your own place. Your mom doesn't sound very dog friendly.

By Sabrina Barr [19]07/04/2007

You can use cedar chips, for bedding, or an insulated padding for your pet to sleep on. Then you can run a light over his sleeping area, for extra heat.

By Cassie [6]07/03/2007

If a dog is going to be kept outdoors only, a person should not have a dog. Dogs need compainionship. It's cruel to treat an animal this way.

07/03/2007

Hi Ashley,

You didn't say how large or furry your dog is, but all dogs should be indoors in below freezing weather. Small dogs (under 20 lbs.) should be kept inside during the winter months.

Maybe you could ask your mom to keep him in your room or utility/laundry room. He also could be confined in a large crate or inside a dog fence.

To keep him warm in the garage, put down several layers of thick cardboard (you can cut up or fold down a large box) to insulate a dog house or crate from the cold floor.

Inside the dog house or crate, put a plug-in flat warmer that covers the bottom. You can buy these are farm supply stores such as IFA. Or a dog bed covered with towels or blankets.

If you house in a crate in the garage, leave the crate door open so he can get in and out. And cover the crate with warm blankets.

Dogs are animals that like to "den" so making him a warm home to snuggle into will keep him warm and happy.

Good luck, Ashley!

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