Putting a Dog Outside Into Cold Weather

We live in Illinois and the winters are cold. We have a Chesapeake Bay retriever mix. He is a little over a year old. He has a very nice dog pen outside. We had him fixed and was told by the vet to keep him in a couple of days. I would like to keep him out during the day and bring him in at night. I can't find any real answer to the question: If I bring him in at night is the cold harder on him when we goes out?

K.R. from Lewistown, Illinois

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Put on a fur coat and try it for yourself. Why can't he be in a crate during the day?

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I would think it would be hard on him after surgery to go from one extreme. It is up to you. I have never left a dog outside for long periods of time, just not me. All of my animals have always been crate trained in the house and have done well. My one dog Buddy was 130 pound Irish Wolf Hound. Large dog. Ask the vet what they think.

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A dog is a domestic animal. They want to be your companion. They want to be near you. You need to build a bond. Yes they are messy and hairy but they are like children. You would not leave your child outside for hours at a time in the cold. Please bring him in!

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My cat who is now an indoor cat used to be an outdoor cat with a cat door that went into his own room that was not heated (I live in Seattle where the weather is much milder) Anyway I did a bit of research on this: As far as cats go if you keep them indoors in a warm room then they won't grow the extra fur they'll need to be "outdoor cats". From what I've read, if they are indoor cats (& I'm sure it's the same with dogs) then they won't be able to stay outside for very long because each fall they grow extra fur for the winter.

Also, from what I've read if your animal is going to be an outside animal then you should feed him extra oils starting when the weather gets colder (like salmon oil) which you can buy at any pet store so they will grow lots of quality downy fur & have the extra fats that are needed in cold weather.

Every bread of dog is different, look at Sled dogs like Siberian Huskies, they often live outside for long periods when pulling sleds. They have be bred for the cold over countless generations. I bet their owners don't bring them inside where it's warm for very long because then they would start shedding that underneath downy fur they need to survive in the extreme cold, but poodles for example don't have the same kind of hair or the downy undercoat that a Husky or Malamute does.

Each bred of dog is different & each climate is different. I would recommend your dog not stay outside in the extreme winters of Illinois unless he has a heated bed in a nice insulated dog house. If he's inside for long periods in a warm house I would think the cold would be a shock to his system unless he has a warm dog house with a heated bed to go out to.

Also as I stated earlier, if he's inside for long periods he won't grow his winter fur. We noticed that our cat is much more sensitive to the cold & rain now that we keep him indoors most of the time.

If it were me, I'd stick with one or the other, indoor or outdoor, unless you decide to heat his sleeping area. Think about buying him a heated bed or a heated kennel mat. For a large dog it will cost you around $84, for a small dog only $53.

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I'm sorry but I would never leave my dog outside in the cold all day.

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My sister in law keeps her farm dogs outside; they have dog houses and they add straw to them in the winter for extra warmth.

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Short-haired dogs should not be left outside for any long period of time. Their coat is not long enough to keep them warm in Illinois.

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"We live in Illinois and the winters are cold." Keep him indoors...except for when nature calls and then after he's better he should be let out for some exercise, but certainly not for all day.

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Yes, the cold is harder on him. He needs to be an indoor dog or an outdoor dog, and I don't think he is the type of dog who will do okay outside.

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Hey here's what you can do. During the winter, have him inside unless he has to go potty. I live in Colorado (pretty cold like 10oF at night), so I know what it is like cause I have a Yorkshire Terrier and we have him wear cloths and he LOVES them! It depends on how cold it is there in the morning for it to hurt him but otherwise keep up with what you are doing. :)


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I have never understood why people get a dog for a pet and then leave it outside all the time!

Why have a dog you never see?

I guess you can tell what my thoughts are.

Keep your dog inside.

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Your Veterinarian wants him in the house so you can keep an eye on his suture area from his neuter! If one of the sutures broke it can cause substantial bleeding. Also, The Dr. does not want him to start kicking that area. If he does, it can cause a suture to break and even cause more pain.

Please keep your fur-baby in the house. It is COLD outside. Let him out to go potty & etc. I worked for a Veterinarian for 27 years. Good luck.

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Wow, some really strong feelings here. I have to disagree. There is nothing wrong with your dog being outside during the day, unless the weather is really harsh. My Golden loves being in the backyard - he is fenced in and enjoys the weather. He has a sheltered dog house if he wants or needs to go in. He would be bored to death in the house alone all day. When you dog heals from his surgery, he should be fine outside.

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I live in Missouri and I wouldn't leave a dog outside UNLESS it was huge working outside farm dog.

The vet said INSIDE so he told you during this time to keep the dog inside no question there. I really feel bad for dogs outside alone in the weather even if he has a pen is it

protected well? Poor dog is all I can say.

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What did dogs do before people came along and domesticated them? Dogs didn't have central air and pet beds. Trust me, they'll be fine in the cold. UNLESS - you pamper your dog to the point of becoming a sissy (keeping him inside whenever the temp drops below 60, etc.) Then, your dog will not become accustomed to the climate, and will not tolerate it well.

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But dogs ARE domesticated and they are no longer wild. Humans used to live in caves but I certainly can't see many people doing that nowadays. :-)

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You can NOT generalize this answer as some have with Dogs were meant to be outside. Humans have erased some of those traits with the Breeds. Short haired dogs can not be left outside in cold weather. Dogs with coats should be fine. Most the time if your Dog is trained they will tell you if they want to come in.

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A dog is a companion and if you cant keep him inside as a part of the family DONT GET ONE. Dogs are now domesticated, I am sick and tired of hearing ignorant people talk about animals like possessions and not companions. It is awful to keep a dog outside and most rescue agencies and legit animal lovers and organizations consider it dog abuse and have taken animals back because of this treatment. Using the past as an excuse is idiotic, we as humans did many things in the past that we all know better than now.

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If bringing him in causes him to start loosing his winter coat, then you need to leave him in, or out. But a little back and forth shouldn't hurt.

We farm and our dogs are outside dogs. They have a warm area in the barn and a bed of hay. They can come and go as they want, but usually they rather stay outside and play. They do go in at night, but only on the very worst cold and windy days do they chose to go into their heated room during the day.

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I have Bernese Mountain dog / Border Collie Mix. I leave him in a 30' x 10' dog run when I go to work during the day. I live in Ottawa, Canada. I'll leave him out to -15 degrees celcius without windchill. He has a great dog house complete with a thick straw bed.

In the dog run he gets daily visits from 2 neighbors, a dog walk from a neighbors' son. He gets FRESH AIR,and sensory input like birds squirrels he gets to dig holes chew up sticks that fall in from the big maples near by, he gets to lie in the sunshine or shade in the summer. He gets to watch the world go by on the street. He never soils his dog run preferring to wait for his walks.

For this dog it would be cruel to leave him inside in a sterile enviroment with nothing to stimulate him no fresh air in the winter no contact with people or life in general.

I spoke with my Vet who told me as long as he gets a chance to get use to the climate change gradually as oppossed to keeping him inside then put him out in a really cold day he would be fine, in fact better off outside. As I mentioned -15 celcius with no windchill is the cutoff point even at that temperature he wants to stay out and play when I get home. He has tons of room to play with soccer / tennis balls and run, peple tell me he's pretty busy with himself so I guess that's part of how he stays warm.

I can't speak for anybody else but it would be cruel to leave him inside during the day, he would be bored out of his mind. We do live in Canada and it does get cold here in winter, but I know for a fact that my dog loves his life outside during the day, I think he's healthier and better behaved for the experience.

Just my opinion but if I was a dog and had to choose between the life of a farm dog and that of a dog inside 23 hours a day....well I'd be on the farm.

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Hi, -15 degrees celcius is 5 degrees F.

My german shorthair would be hiding under her quilt on the couch by that temp! We have had -40 to -50 F temps this winter in MN and 2-3 minutes outdoors can harm people's skin, my dog runs out to pee and runs back in. She hunts for the heat registers to lay next to when the furnace kicks in. She will fight anyone for the comfy chair and blanket!

Nope, if it is too cold for me to be out there, too darn cold for my friends. Even though I go out in many layers, eventually that is not enough. Add (or minus) another -30 degrees F for the windchill, dangerous issues come up at 3-4 minutes.

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I totally agree that if you have an inside dog that you can't expect it to stay out in the cold. I've had dogs that are DOGS (to be exact hunting[bird] dogs) and now I have a dog that is more a companion. There are a lot of dog breeds that are meant to be companions, if you want a friend and not a dog, then I'd say keep it inside. I didn't leave my current dog out side after she got fixed and was concerned with her walking/jumping/going up stairs. I'd do just exactly what the vet told me to do when your dog was healing. Now I get up in the morning and take her for a walk, then leave her out. I used to keep her in and she would drive me crazy, so now I keep her out 'till my husband gets home. When he takes her for a walk.

She has a heated dog house and comes in when my husband gets off of work and sleeps inside. But as far as being outside if you don't treat your dog like a person, and you do treat him like a dog, then leaving him out over night or all day (after he is healed) should not be a problem (unless it gets lower then the teens) I had dogs that lived every single day of their lifes out side. They lived a happy healthy active life and died old and content. Virginia winters can get harsh and there were times they were let in at night when the temp dropped too low. However, they were outside dogs and never liked being in.

*Please note that my dogs that lived outside had a two story dog house with a patio heated in winter and cooled in summer* It was just the point that dogs are dogs. Your dog will be what you want it to be. Your inside friend or what it naturally in nature is (a dog). Most dogs don't have a purpose other then to just lay around the house. That's kinda sad. I mean we took this animal and domesticated it to the point where it's eating and lazying it's self right along with us!

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Pets Dogs AdviceDecember 3, 2008
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