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December 08, 2006

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dog houses

I didn't know that! I will be saving this page to my favorites for sure.

http://www.doghouses-4less.com/

Jimmy Porter

As a member of our local dog rescue group, I keep an eye on local dogs. We have one owner that keeps her dog chained up in all kinds of weather, even though we, as a group, have conversed with her many times about leaving a dog out on a chain in
very cold weather, concern for even chaining it outside in the first place. There is minimal housing for the animal and it is fed on the same schedule as in the summer. It has messed up my life thinking about this dog, whether I should go and steal it from its chain at -10 degrees or can it keep itself warm at these low temperatures? It is a big dog, short haired. I say prayers for this animal all the time, talk to the owner 'till I am blue in the face, and daily worry about this canine.

Doc

Hello, JIm,

Large dogs tolerate pretty cold temperatures. One often sees them outside their doghouse reclining in the snow when I personally would be huddled in the back corner.

I hate seeing them chained up, as well. I think it is a poor quality of life and has a bad effect on their personality.

As long as the dog appears to be in good condition, it is unlikely that law enforcement would confiscate the dog or charge the owner with cruelty.

Stealing the dog is not likely to work out well for anybody. Since you have considered going that far, I think you would get more benefit (and less trouble) by offering to help improve the dog's housing.

Good luck.

skr

It doesn't matter if you THINK the authorities won't do anything... call the ASPCA and they will help!!
Don't let these poor animals suffer and simply feeling sorry for them doesn't do any good!

Stacy Fox

Thank you for the information. I am the parent who gets worried, when her "idiot" dog (just kidding) would rather sleep outside of her dog house when it's 10 degrees or roll around in the snow like a polar bear...Yes, she does these things! Although I make sure that she has fresh water and food and her house is "winter-proof" I still tend to worry about her. Guess it's a "mother" thing. :) After reading this, I don't feel so guilty when SHE would rather be outside, and I would rather have her warm, inside, with me.

And to Jim---
I think it's great that you have such compassion for our furry friends! I know that I would be the same way! To me, chaining any animal is cruel, especially our pets...who would want to have a metal leash around their neck 24-7? Although I admire your chivalry to save this pet, perhaps offering a monetary donation to the owner may get it into your home and away from the chains. From what I can tell by your message, you seem to be one who would do ANYTHING to gain this treasure...

Lyndsay

Thank you for this blog. I have a Border Collie/Red Heeler cross pup who has been outside since she was 3 months old. This week it's dropped to -40 F. We tried first putting a blanket in her insolated house, then a heating pad but she drug both out. Now there is just straw. She does have a thick coat but it's not as thick as a purbred collie's due to the heeler in her.

Doc

Hello, Lyndsay,

WOW!! Forty below! Man, that's Klondike weather. I'm hearing the poems of Robert W. Service.

I guess I'd keep trying to keep some kind of bedding material in there. Good job on the insulated house. Some kind of flap door would be good, though this kid might chew it off.

They do make a rigid heating pad with an armored cord (Lectro-Kennel). You might have to disassemble the house to get it in there, though.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Lyndsay

Well the temps have warmed up to -20 so we're all a little happier.

The heated pad we have does have an armored cord but she has already chewed the plug off she wanted it out of her house so badly (we drilled a small hole and ran the cord through). The way the house is built she walks in and has to turn a corner so that serves as some part of an wind blocker. She was a bit cold in the mornings but by noon she was back out chasing moose so she's survived her first deep freeze!

Eric

Anyone should try putting on some fur and sleeping outside when it is 32F. Try it. I dare you! Then try it for a week. No one should pretend to know what it feels like for a dog unless you have tried it yourself. Any one who has can respond.

Doc

Hello, Eric,

Thanks for reading and writing. Survival and being comfortable are far from the same thing.

"Hey, Tex! Have you ever slept cold out on the trail?"
"Nope, never have. I've laid awake cold a hell of a lot, though."

Eri

Hi, I just got a puppy for the first time ever. My kids love it, but I have no idea how to train it. I think it would be nice to take it outside first thing in the morning so he can relieve himself, but I'm afraid he could get sick. I live in Mexico and my puppy is an 8-week old Schnauzer. The temperature here in the mornings is around 45 - 50 degrees F. Any advice!

Doc

Hello, Eri,

That temperature might be a little cool for leaving the puppy outside long term, just because it is so small. However, for a potty trip, that temperature should not be a problem.

The best method of house-training (or early puppy training, period) that I have found is the Super Puppy books by Peter Vollmer. I discussed this in an old post:

http://www.yourpetsbestfriend.com/your_pets_best_friend/2007/12/super-puppy-how.html

Here is his website:

http://home.att.net/~pvee/index.html

Have a great time raising your puppy.

Arduinna

I'm glad I found this page...my idiot next door neighbor (idiot for many reasons) brought home a mastiff puppy a few months ago. By puppy I mean, 1.5-2 years of age. Not only does he leave this dog in the garage on a constant basis (while is away AND at home) and allows it to bark and yelp and whimper constantly, but lately he's decided it's okay for the dog to be outside in 22 (but feels like 14F) weather with a tether of about two feet and a choice between a yard of frozen water on grass (when the snow melted our yards pooled the water like lakes...and it's frozen again) or a freezing concrete patio. He has no shelter, no water, no food, nothing to lay on.
He was outside a few hours ago, and had been outside earlier today. The wind is strong and bitter cold. He's barked and whined all day, all with the sound of, 'can I come in now? I don't know what I did wrong...'
I went outside with my camera to take photos. It's dark and even colder now, and there isn't even light by which he could see. The neighbor does not have a privacy fence, and I did not set foot on or near his property. Unfortunately, our back patio motion light came on and the owner came outside before I could take photos of the poor pup's situation.
He demanded to know why I was taking photos of his dog. I told him that having his dog tied up like that, outside with this weather, with nothing to lay on, no shelter, no food, no water is animal abuse. He laughed at me like I was an idiot child and told me that his dog, "can handle it." simply because the pup is a mastiff and a big dog.
This dog was outside for at least four hours earlier today, and was outside for at least 2.5 to 3 this evening.
Unfortunately, I have no proof of the abuse now, and so the humane society can't do crap.
Over the summer we reported them for having the dogs (there are two...haven't heard from the pomeranian lately though, so I'm wondering if the mastiff ate it. finally.) locked in the garage all day and all night when it was 80-95% humidity and 90-100 degrees F. Unfortunately, they had a couple of small beds and a fan and a single water bowl in the garage, so there was nothing that animal control could do, even though they dogs would bark upwards of 8 hours a day.
The garage ruffles my feathers, but putting him outside takes the cake altogether. It's COLD, and while big dogs can handle more cold than little ones...NO dog deserves to not be able to protect themselves from wind, or to not have water available to drink...I hate that there's nothing I can do...I end up crying over it and I'm so frustrated...why do people get animals if they're just going to shove them aside and ignore them? =(

Johannah

Like some others, I wonder if 0 degree is too cold for my border collie mixed breed dogs. They chew up everything so didn't know what to do for them. I have a slide-in-camper in a detached pic-up bed in their pen with a hole about 16" dug underneath. How do people keep these kind of dogs in the house? They shed 'A LOT' and are very active. I did try them in the house a couple of nites and they barked and bounced on the furniture all night but slept all day. They lived in the house as puppies till they chewed the baseboards, walls and furniture. (Yes I had chew toys for them)

Doc

Hello, Johanna,

Zero is pretty darn cold. You need to think of the dog house as a sleeping bag instead of a tent. Put a partition in there so that the dogs aren't having to heat such a big air space with body heat.

They need some type of insulating bedding, like a dog bed or straw between them and the cold, cold ground.

If they won't leave any kind of bedding in there, you need to insulate the outside of the enclosure where they cannot get to it to chew it up. Styrofoam board is easier to manage, as it doesn't deteriorate or pack down when wet. It still needs to be protected from the dogs by another layer of plywood or something.

Border Collies are active dogs who need something to do. Leaving them unattended in a home (versus in a crate) is indeed a recipe for destruction. All dogs need to exercise and something to occupy their minds. A working dog like this needs it even more so. If crated in the home while you're gone, then they need that exercise period for sure.

Kong toys are good, especially the kind that let you hide a treat inside and make the dog work for it.

Try to get the dog house insulated, and partition that camper shell into a smaller compartment in the cold weather.

Good luck.

Beth

Dogs deserve better than life on a chain, rope, or in a pen. For more information, visit www.dogsdeservebetter.com and www.mothersagainstdogchaining.org
I cannot believe it is the year 2010 and some people still keep their dogs chained, tied, or penned.
I honestly do not understand why anyone would have a dog and keep him outside in the yard 24/7. What is the purpose of having that dog? It is not a requirement to have a dog. If you cannot keep him inside to be a part of the family, then get a fish instead.

Sharon Johnson

Great article. I have a Bichon ( by chance, not by choice ). He's 99% an inside doggie - only goes outside to relieve himself. Also have two Siberian Huskies who are free to come and go as they please ( dog door into a run which leads to a fairly large pen ). While the huskies spend a fair amount of time outside, they both choose to sleep inside on super cold nights ( e.g. last night it got down to 2 deg F and they both spent the night inside ). There is a shelter in the pen to protect against N and W winds, and they both have igloos. But they both prefer to be inside the house. So much for people who think dogs really enjoy being outside during frigid weather.

Paul

My dog is a Shepherd-Rottie mix and weighs 118lbs. He is an inside dog. He loves to play in the snow and lays belly down in the snow. He has never been chained and actually has his own pillow.
Although I largely agree with the opinions above, can someone provide scientific or Empirical data on neutral body temperature for a healthy dog of this size.

Doc

Paul,
Here is a link to the Tufts Animal Care and Condition guidelines, which is really good.

http://www.animalsheltering.org/resource_library/magazine_articles/jul_aug_1998/body_condition.pdf

Charlie

I find it interesting that people on this site can generalize about other dog owners, just because they want to keep their dogs outside. Its like they know what dogs want.

If you honestly think that dogs prefer being caged up, picked up on our laps, and dressed like dolls, you need to tune up your brain.

The fact the dog owner is on this site inquiring about their dogs safety is proof enough that they care.

Kiara

Hello, I have a catahoula hound and I live in Alaska. He is not allowed in the house at night. He has a 6' 10' shed that he sleeps in with an old couch. Do you think he could stay warm enough throuh the freezing nights?
P.S. Him sleeping outside is not my choice.

Doc

Hello, Kiara,

Living down south, I really don't know how cold it's going to get there. Down here where the winter temperatures rarely dip into the teens, I think he would be fine. He's a large dog, out of the wind, with some type of insulated bed that he can burrow down into.

He might very well need a smaller enclosure to help hold body heat. Perhaps you could take some plywood and styrofoam insulation and box in one end of the old couch.

They also make those armored heating pads, like the Lectro Kennel. That could be a big help, instead of trying to heat your garage.

Here's a link to what they look like, and this looks like a pretty good price, but you should do your own shopping.

http://www.petstreetmall.com/Lectro-Kennel-Heated-Mats/511/697/

I hope this is helpful to you.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Jessica

I really appreciate this topic, I've been concerned about this very issue! My dog goes to day care 4 days a week. The dog areas all have access to indoor heated space and then outdoor play space. It's about to get really cold and snowy here in Utah. I think one day next week the high is going to be about 21.

My dog is a 70lb (but underweight after getting sick a couple weeks ago, should be about 80lbs and even at that weight he's really lean) pitbull mix so he has pretty short hair and an almost bare belly. He's super tall. I'm concerned about him at day care. They can't force him to stay inside because it's accessed through a doggy door that has to be available for other dogs to come and go.

Jasper loves to be with the other dogs, so if they're outside he is outside with them, but they all have thicker coats. If Jasper was getting painfully cold, do you think he would go inside? Because of my work schedule keeping him at home in his crate isn't really an option (plus he has some separation anxiety so he only ever goes in there for a max of 5 hours anyway).

Just wanted to see what you think. I would HOPE he would go inside where it's warm. At home he's the biggest baby ever and will hold his pee for hours rather than go out in rain/snow. But as soon as other dogs are involved he is just so excited to be with them he can become a little dumb at times :)

Doc

Hello, Jessica,

With a dog that size having free access to indoors, I would have no concerns at all. If he's playing too hard to come inside, he's generating some heat.

If he were wet and had no place to get dry and warm, that would be another story.

I think you're fine on this.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Tara's mom

Hi Doc,
Tara is a lab who lives outdoors; she has a 6 x4 run in the garage which has a dog door to an outdoor run of 400 sq. Ft. Both have houses.
When our Alberta weather gets to -15 c she sleeps in the house. She really seems to prefer her outside home- panting, begging at the door. We let her out for an hour or so depending on the temp and windchill, but I'm worried that in and out will diminish her body's
ability to handle weather.
Should I insist that she live indoors all year, except for exercise and pee breaks? Thanks.

Doc

Hello, Tara's Mom,

As long as you are paying attention to the weather, and the dog doesn't get trapped outside in a hole full of freezing water, I really think your dog will be fine (given the housing situation you describe).

I really don't think the indoor/outdoor business will have any adverse effects on your dog's health. He obviously won't be as acclimated to the cold as a dog who is forced to stay there, but he doesn't need to be.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Jgjenna

I love it when I find articles written for your "second group of people", you know, the ones looking to be validated. This was very informative without sounding elementary!

My 1 yr old, 80 lb choc lab stays outside only during the day and the coldest it gets here is 35 F. He has an igloo dog house but like the person above, he has no padding or doggie door because he eats it! I saw that the lectro kennel has an igloo compatible model but I'm wondering if that can be placed under the house itself? I'm not terribly worried about my dog but I would like to make it a bit warmer for him since he cant have insulation or a door. any suggestions?

Doc

Hello, Jgjenna,

Many dogs will only tolerate bedding and flap doors while it is super cold. As soon as it warms up a little, they tear them up.

The Lectro-kennel pads don't get very hot, so I doubt that any significant heat would get up through the igloo floor. The construction of the pads is pretty tough, quite rigid. If he's not eating the igloo, he probably won't damage the lectro-kennel.

Keeping the cord out of harm's way will be the critical thing.You might have to shield it with PVC pipe outside the kennel, or use conduit.

Since the igloo has no insulation, the only thing I might add in this case would be to locate it behind a wind-break.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Tammy Cecil

I have a neighbor that has a australian shep mix, male,chained on a chain heavy enough to pull cars, collar so tight I cannot move it...I told him a few days ago that either he got a swivel on that chain or else,dog was choking, still able to bark and whine, but audibly choking,collar is cloth not cchain or leather...chain was kinked and short by 3-4ft...had a huge swivel hook next day...YEP!!
tell them most days(feed my horse in pasture next door)that the dogs pans are upside down and he needs water, it is 15-20 degrees and windy makes it- everything is frozen,he is in like a storage shed,high roof no door or windows, dirtfloor,has holes dug all over in front, if he gets anything plastic he eats it, put bales of straw in side in center stacked,so cold all around, dog is totally hyper and whines alot, I go over and have a boxer belongs to a friend that runs free, so that is torment...whenever the dog escaped (assume why collar is sooo tight) he came to my house 3 acres down street, and I let him in to play with the boxer and he just wanted to be pet and loved...owner would show up and take him home, he cowers around him,very timid and the guy hates his fear...DUH!!! I know he kicks him, moved my foot too fast one time and he fell over...anyway I take a pan, bottle of water and pour it in and let him drink thru the fence,while I pet and talk to him and try to move the collar up so a little looser,I cannot move it...makes me so mad and I am so tempted to unsnap the chain and take him home but he will just get punished for it probably, hate to walk away and leave him but know I cannot do anything else...
when he said, he is fine he is always like this, I SAID I HAD A DOG CHOKE TO DEATH ON A CHAIN WITH NO SWIVEL AND IT IS NOT GONNA HAPPEN TO THIS DOG,THAT IS WHAT NEIGHBORS ARE FOR TO WATCH OUT FOR PROBLEMS AND IF MY HORSE HAD HER FOOT CAUGHT IN THIS WIRE WOULD YOU TRY TO HELP HER GET LOOSE OR CALL ME???? HE SAID YES OF COURSE...I SAID WELL THEN WE ARE GOOD"
He was pissed, his kid unhooked the chain and unkinked it back to its 7ft length...the dog tried to run around and they called him and hooked him up again instead of playing with him...when he mows his grass, stand up rider, the dog follows along behind, I have told him the dog needs to run and play and go for walks,
and be in the house at night...NO DOG IN THE HOUSE...I SAY HE STAYS THE NIGHT WITH HIM IN THE SHED AND SEE HOW LONG HE STAYS OUT THERE...the dog would be happy and warm but he probably would not let him lay next to him...
the boxer is 3, if its raining or windy he does the okay, I can hold it turnaround, I bought him a coat,camofl,lined covers his chest and back, he loves that but rain is rain and he is funny.
Animal control came out once a few months back, same problem...but heat, not cold...said the dog had water and food bowl and they could do nothing
I agree with whomever said why have a dog if you aren't gonna treat it as a companion and friend, just makes them crazy and sad...
I HATE ANIMAL ABUSERS...but I am polite with NO BS CLAUSE ADDED...
have told him dog laws...
1.EXERCISE
2.DISCIPLINE
3. AFFECTION
#1 VITAL TO MENTAL HEALTH OF A DOG, FREEDOM TO RUN AND BE A DOG EXERCISE...
When those 2 are together the boxer has to take breaks, they hate heat too,but they play and run non stop for hours...
thanks for listening know I can only do what I can to help the dog feel loved and ease the pain.

Doc

Wow! You needed to vent, but who wouldn't, under those circumstances?

I am sure that the dog appreciates your concern, even though the owner does not.

We do what we can.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Reality hurts

WOW i wonder about people who get all gushy about an animal tat if you died and were the only food in the house it would eat you.
Dogs are great helpers and work hard for you but they are live stock and a great tool for life. Yet they are not children to worry bought like this. Proper care is one thing but worry yourself about some one else property is just mere crazy.. wish folks cared bought my grass as much...

Doc

Try being chained to a post in solitary confinement for a while. I don't think you'd like it. It makes dogs psychotic, too.

Property or companion, if you intend to mistreat the animal, you shouldn't have it.

Mel Cole

I have a nearly 8-year-old Labrador Service Dog (seizure alert) who is obviously with me 24/7. We've always spent our days on a horse farm, but this year the one we're at is SO much colder than we're used to (as cold inside as outside) and because Paddy's getting older, I would like to be sure he's "safe". With the temps hovering around 0 and below, I have a sweater and a coat on him (compared with my SIX layers!) and he has a "fluffy" bed on the floor of the barn. I MAKE him get in the bed and throw another coat on him when I'M cold because I'm just not sure how cold is TOO cold... Has snow boots to keep ice from balling up in his webbed feet, but his legs and abdomen, face and ears are completely exposed to the extreme temperature and winds. He follows me everywhere (part of his job!); barn to paddock and back... all day long... and will not "stay" in his bed if I move out of his sight. Is there a point of "dangerously cold?" Is there any sign or symptom I should watch for? Or am I simply being neurotic?

jackie

okay, i love my labs. I had a lab for 12 years but in his younger chewing stage I was home so when I started working he had out grown it and it wasn't an issue to leave him in the house. He has passed and I have two labs now who are one years old. last year when it was cold I barricaded them in the kitchen, that is not possible now. My question is with out beating me up is it worse to leave them outside when they have access to the garage with a huge bed of hay away from the wind when it is really cold or put them in a half finished basement room they are unfamiliar with that has no windows for 7 hrs while I work? I am asking for nice opinions here not to get beat up as a bad dog owner, trust me my labs are spoiled rotten and well cared for.

Doc

Hello, Mel,

Well, that's pretty cold, but it sounds to me like Paddy is well protected. If he is in good flesh (not skinny), big dogs generate a lot of metabolic heat. You have him out of the wind, and you have to persuade him to get in the bed, so I would not be worried from your description.

I don't think you're being neurotic. There's nothing wrong with being concerned about your dog's welfare.

If he is cold, he will be shivering, curling up, trying to get warm.

It's not like you're running him through the snow, burning up all his energy stores, and getting him wet by swimming him.

You may want to contact a local veterinarian for more reassurance.

Good luck.

Doc

Hello, Jackie,

With two one-year-old Labs, it's a wonder that you have anything left that hasn't been chewed up or knocked down.

You haven't told me how cold it is, but generally speaking, I think that a dry garage full of hay would be adequate, provided the dogs are healthy, no medical problems, and in good flesh, with plenty to eat. Eating generates metabolic heat, you know.

I agree that confinement in the basement is not something that would make them happy.

It doesn't sound to me like you need to be beating yourself up.

Best wishes.

Crista Birney

I love my dog. I have wanted a dog since I was a child and because of SEVERE, life threatening allergies of my little brother, could never have one. Now I am grown but rent and am not allowed a dog in the house. We do however have a great big back yard. I play with our dog every day and am trying to train her the right way not to jump and nip (it is part blue healer and only 7 months old). During the day and night she was free to run all around except when my 3 small children wanted to play outside. Because of the nipping and jumping I CHAINED her when we were playing outdoors. Then she began to dig and dig and dig and got out into the street several times. Because I LOVE her and don't want her to be hurt I CHAIN her unless I am home and can make sure she is still in the yard. I understand being concerned about abuse but you do not always know the reasons behind what a pet owner does. To pass judgement on those of us who want an outside dog, for what ever reason, is ridiculous. I will continue teaching my sweet girl about jumping and digging but until then she is being kept safe and sound. I don't have hundreds of dollars to pay for new fences or pricey invisible ones etc...that doesn't mean I don't deserve a dog and doesn't mean I don't love mine when I use the tools I have to keep her safe. Thank you for the post about the dog house, I will be making her one in the garage for the really cold winter nights for sure.

Doc

Hello, Crista,
Thanks for reading and for writing to share your thoughts.

I can appreciate your frustration in trying to control your dog's tendency to escape.

The "invisible fence" is not as expensive as it used to be. You can usually find it in the $100 range, rather than its original $1000 range. That is still a significant expense.

I would not say that someone who finds it necessary to chain their dog does not care about it. However, being on a chain is not great for the dog. Better than having no home or being hit by a car, but not great.

Richard

Hello, I hope this thread is still active. I have a 2.5 yr old shepherd mix named Milo who is about 50lbs with a medium coat. He stays outside from about 730 until about 500, when we get home. When the weather started getting colder we bought him a dog house and set it up in the corner of the wooden fence. However, he doesn't seem to like it and has been digging holes which he may lay in (not sure, he's always waiting at the door when he hears us). We put some towels down to insulate, but he just pulls them out and moves them around the yard. The weather starts out the day with lows in the upper 20s and warms to the 30s-40s.

Is there a way to get him used to the dog house? Or should I not worry about him since the shelter is available?

Doc

Hello, Richard,

My experience has been that the dog will use the towels for bedding if he is really cold. If he's not, he pulls them out and plays with them.

The house should be just big enough for him to get inside and turn around. It should be insulated, and protected from the direct wind.

If that is available and he'd rather stay outside, then he's probably just not that cold. I wouldn't worry about it if the good shelter is available and he just doesn't feel the need of it.

Sorry about the late reply. I've been out of town for a few days.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Anna

Hi
So my roommate is out of town half the month (sometimes more) for work and I take care of her pets for her. Most of them are pretty low maintenance, just need some attention but one of the dogs is older with arthritis in his hips. He has frequent accidents (both peeing and pooping) so she tiled the entire house. This makes cleanup easier but he has trouble getting traction on the tile and often cannot get up on his own. When he has an accident when he is lying down he tries to get up and away from the mess but just ends up getting it everywhere including on himself. I've tried those traction stickers on his paws (won't stay on) and I just bought him some boots but they don't seem to help him get up though they do seem to make it a little easier to walk. I cannot get a good nights sleep because he needs help up and out every hour or two. Also, I have just recently moved into my own house on the other side of town but told her that I would still help out because I don't think that anyone else would agree to do this. He likes being outside because it is easier for him to get around on the gravel and cement but it has been getting pretty cold lately and their doghouse doesn't seem to be very warm. I am planning on raising it off the ground with a crate, lining it with straw, and putting a patch of carpet over the door but I am worried that it might still be too cold at night for him so I have only actually been able to spend one night at my new place. I don't want to just leave him inside because I know it has to be upsetting sitting in one's own mess. I don't want to be having to do this anymore and I guess I am just trying to make it easy enough that she could hire a professional sitter or get a neighbor to take care of the animals. I apologize that this turned out to be so long but if anyone has any ideas about what I can do about him not being able to get up and how cold is too cold to leave them out, I would greatly appreciate any input.
Thanks
Anna

Doc

Hello, Anna,

With the dog staying down a lot, the cold weather will be harder on him. It also makes arthritis worse for most patients. If it were in the mid-forties, or above, he'd probably be okay with the housing you describe.

What about getting some cheap throw-rugs for him to sleep on indoors? Then he'd have enough traction to get up and move over. If you got two or three, you could just throw the soiled rug in the wash and put down a new one.

Good luck.

Anna

Thanks for responding, Doc. We actually do have a couple of throw rugs down but he seems to prefer lying blankets. I think its because he doesn't have a lot of control when he goes to lay down and he can bunch the blankets up to cushion his butt when it hits. Maybe I could find some kind of cushy dog bed with traction on the bottom. Its been pretty cold, teens to low 40s. Poor old guy.

Doc

Hello, again, Anna,

They make a rubber mesh mat that you can put under rugs or blankets to keep them from sliding around. It's not really expensive, and that might help.

Anna

That's a great idea, thank you. These experiments are really starting to add up cash-wise

S.I.B

To Jimmy Porter, I am currently in the same situation with the exception that I am located in a foreign country that is in its infancy when it comes to animal cruelty. They do have laws though and according to these neighbors are violating it. So instead of turning them in we have opted as a family to gift them some of the items that their family pet needs to reside outside. He is a small thing only about 8-9 lbs short haired. We have written a letter to them stating that we are gifting them in this season of giving by giving them some doggie goodies for thier family pet. We have also stated that we are glad to see that there are others that share our love for animals,not noting anything that they are currently doing as unlawful. Just to let you know where I am at it is currently down to 17 degree farenheit with wind chill and I have to pass this little fella everynight when I get off work at midnight and see him curled up in a ball on a concrete driveway trying to stay warm, and in the summer I see him at the edge of the driveway with his tongue hung out to the ground with a bowl overturned and no water. My coworkers have told me to just cut the chain and take him, if I did not already have 3 great family pets I may have done it but I can not. My other coworker who is married to a local national says I just have to try not to offend them and I am trying but it is hard, now if they do not use anything that we have gifted them my next move it to call the local version of the ASPCA. I have prayed and prayed that I would not see him each day I go home but there he is...

Doc

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story and your caring attitude.

Jessica

I have a pretty large dog. He's probably a little over 80lbs and about 1.5 years old. He's got medium length hair, and a furry ruff around his neck. We THINK he's part Sharpe, part Rott? We're not sure though, he was a stray when he found us.

We always keep our big boy outside, because we a have cat and he's just TOO big to be inside. We have a really big, fully fenced backyard, with lots of trees and bushes, and we let him run free. There is also a patio cover, that covers a cement area and a wooden stoop backing up to our sliding glass door. I've a put a large folded up blanket out there for him, too, and he usually sleeps right on the blanket next to our sliding glass door under the patio cover, pushed us against the wooden stoop. In the dead of winter, the coldest it gets here, in our mid-california town, is in the low to mid-30s. Is it too cold for him out there? He seems okay, he doesn't bark all night, but I hear him running around out there, and he always jumps up and barks when there's a noise. I love him to death, but my fiance just WONT allow him inside. He has a big dog house that we built for him as well. But he stayed with a friend for a week while we were on vacation, and we've yet to go pick the dog house back up, so he's been outside without the house, just the blanket this last week. I hope that's not animal abuse!? He seems okay? Trying to get my fiance to take his truck to our friends and pick up the dog house this week. Will our big pup be okay for the rest of the week without his dog house?

Diane

Recently we adopted an adorable stray choc lab/terrier mix who just showed up in our yard one day. (No collar. We did due diligence but could not locate her owner.) The vet says she's about a year old, full grown, with all her adult teeth, etc. She favors a lab, but she's closer to terrier size -- about 25 pounds.

We live in temperate North Carolina, and so far this winter has been wonderfully mild. But on Tuesday the temp will drop to 33 or so. (Then it will go back up into the 40s-50s.)

My husband is kind of anti-dog: He tolerates Coco (I do think he secretly likes her), but he won't let her in the house during the day, except in the basement under my supervision. (It's a finished basement and quite cozy.) At night she sleeps in a doggie bed in the garage, which never gets below 55 degrees. (It's usually around 60-65.) She seems quite content in her cushy indoor doggie bed, where she's well supplied with chew toys. :)

Well, I've been on vacation this past week. Coco and I have spent tons of time together -- long walks in the woods; neighborhood walks to meet other dogs (we live in the country in a very doggie neighborhood); lots of snuggling on the couch in the finished basement. But next Tuesday I'll be back at work all day. I am really afraid Coco will freeze her little butt off if she's outdoors all day in 30-ish temps. I am hoping to convince my husband to at least let her into the garage.

What do you recommend? Will 30-ish temps be too cold for our short-haired girl? Can she stand it for eight hours if she stays in the sun?

BTW--we live on 18 acres of woods. We'd never dream of chaining Coco up. She likes to roam in the woods, but she stays close to home, and she enjoys basking in the sun on our front porch.

All advice will be greatly appreciated!

Diane

Doc

Hello, Diane,

If Coco is staying outside, she really needs an insulated doghouse, placed out of the wind. It should be just big enough for her to get inside and turn around.

She may not use it that much in the thirties, but it should be available.

Diane

Thank you so much!! I will buy one tomorrow during lunch and bring it home to her. (There's a Petsmart and a Walmart just a block away from my workplace. :))

Lee

I have a grown boxer who sleeps in an inside unheated garage in a molded doghouse well padded with blankets, etc. Can he tolerate temps of 35 degrees in that situation?

Doc

Hello, Lee,

A large-breed dog should do okay under those circumstances. Since the house is inside the garage, you're out of the wind. The blankets should provide adequate insulation.

If you look in there and he's shivering, you may need more insulation. If he drags the blankets out and chews them up, you'll know he wasn't cold.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Marie

Hello Jessica,

sorry but i really must tell you that he is not going to be okay. If the dog is outside without a dog house, can you just imagine the condition he will be in. It's been so cold. It is not okay. You will really have to do something about it. I just feel that if you can not be a responsible owner and treat your dog like a family member, it is best to just not have one.

Marie

Hello Jessica,

Can you at least keep the dog in the garage at night or something.... It is your decision and your fiance should respect your decision on this as well. He should not dictate everything in your life

Marie

Hello Jim,

I am like you in so many ways. I am hated by neighbors because i would go as far as climbing fences to put water and food in the bowl for my neighbors dogs. I have bought dog houses (thank god for garage sale) invested in dog sweaters and food. I was more concern with the dogs than the owners. One neighbors dog (female pitt bull) died due to cancer in the throat. By me reporting to the spca,they wouldn't have known the dogs was sick. Have another next door neighbor have two small dogs. one use to be chained until i convinced them. to make the story short, they decided to get a pitt bull puppy and obviously have another one to feed and care for. They trusted me and i am in and out of the backyard to care for the dogs as I please until recently. the pitt bull pup's skin disease problem inherited from the father got so bad and i kept asking if they have taken dog to the vet and they continue to say yes. Until last Monday, i made the judgement call and called local humane and asked to check on the puppy. Well, they recd citation and they were forced to bring dog to the vet for urgent care and unfortunately, i was right that the dogs medical condition was so bad that they had to put him to sleep. I lost the trust to save rusco from agony. if i did not report he will probably have another week to live but in pain. However, what is sad is that I can no longer have the freedom to go in and out and care for the other two left. coddy will hear me and sees me while i take my dogs for a walk. I actually take two walks so that i can take him with either of my dogs depending who wants a longer walk. IT is breaking my heart. I pray that in time, they will understand why i had to make the phone call but how am i going to make Coddy understand that I can no longer care or walk him. I miss him so much

Soft dog crates fan

We have had this happen a few times here with the cold weather, and we ended up placing one of those soft dog crates outside as a little protections from the wind and elements. We also had a separate water bowl in the back entry for when her's froze over.

Stacey Brown

I thought you were NEVER going to get to the answer. It is a simple question, why the book?

Marie

TO ALL,

Please do not hesitate to take action. If you feel you have done your best to help but the owner have not done anything about it, REPORT IT TO THE humane society in your area. EVERY SECOND that we wait is a second lost for the animal. I DO NOT CARE IF THE NEIGHBors will be angry but LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU ARE SERIOUS ABOUT... DO NOT WAIT ANYMORE. I WANTED TO SHARE BELLA'S STORY. SEE BELOW. THIS GUY WAITED FOR A YEAR BEFORE HE SAID ANYTHING AND BELLA COULD HAVE DIED.


http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/news/alabama/arrest-made-in-starving-dog-case


• SouthBark/The S.H.A.C.K.are the rescue organizations who stepped up for BELLA - they let me name her. "Bella". She will be at The ARK animal clinic and Rehabilitation center 251-342-2956 under BELLA, THE S.H.A.C.K, if anyone wants to contribute to what will probably be extensive vet care, treatment and diagnosis. Bella's world will change,...starting tonight. She is on her way now. TY Alabama for caring about Bella. BELLA is the poster child for why we need strong, enforceable animal cruelty laws -

She is just one who waits for AVRAL's collective voice to finally enact laws that guarantee protection for dogs like Bella, and the countless ones who wait in vain. Bella has been picked up and on her way to Ark Animal Clinic and Rehabilitation Center! To help her donate on paypal to theshackrescue@gmail.com.

BELLA is the poster child for why we need strong, enforceable animal cruelty laws - She is just one who waits for Alabama Voters for Responsible Animal Legislation, AVRAL's collective voice for all Alabama animal advocates to enact laws that guarantee protection for dogs like Bella, and the countless ones who wait in vain.
www.alabamavotesforanimals.org/


Marie

Tammy Cecil;

WHY CAN YOU NOT DO anything about it. You need to report that. I am not sure wherey you are located but you need to report that.

Dog Lover

Hello,

We have a little 4 year old maltipoo who loves to be outside. We live in south cali by the beach in a large apartment with a balcony that is shaped like a dog run. We put a kennel with one of his beds in it out there on one side, and a fake patch of grass on the other side. We leave the door open often, as we don't have air conditioning, and he chooses to be outside on the balcony pretty much 100% of the time.

We've had major issues with separation anxiety with our maltipoo when we're not in the house or sleeping (he's not allowed in the bedroom). But outside, he is perfectly content. My boyfriend stays up until late (he works from home) and the maltipoo CHOOSES to be outside when the door is open well into the night. So last night, we closed the door and he was content (we left it a crack open so we could hear if he was barking, crying, etc.) Not only did he not make a peep and slept in his kennel all night, but when I opened the door in the morning, he came to greet me, wagging his tail, and then went right back out.

This is really a great solution to the dog's anxiety issue. He apparently feels safe and comfortable outside in the setup we have for him. However, sometimes it will get hot and eventually, it will get cold. Will an insulated dog house work for our situation so he can be outside when we're away or sleeping? We've given him the whole run of the house, our large upstairs loft, and he cries and cries and screams all night. Having him outside was the first good night sleep we've gotten in months!

Thanks,

Dog Lover

Doc

An insulated dog house might be all you need, but if the dog is less than ten pounds, I'd look at some type of heat source, like a heating pad that is made for use in kennels (i.e. not chew-up-able). Remember, to stay warm, the house needs to be just big enough for him to turn around in, and it should be placed out of the wind.

Joani

I have a 45lb lab/pointer mix that is an outside dog. She has to stay on a runner/pully system so she doesn't run amock around the neighborhood and get into trouble. I have a laundry room with a kennel we keep her in during bad weather. I make sure to refresh and break any frozen water and fill it back up at least 3 times a day. Morning, when I get home from work, and at night before bed. I am trying to figure out at what point do I have to make her come in. She doesn't like spending the night in her kennel she would prefer to cuddle under the shed or in a nest of leaves. She has the option of her doghouse which is only large enough to turn around in, no blanket because she eats them and can hurt her. She has become very difficult to do the right thing for. I would prefer her not to bark and whine to go out but I'd prefer she didn't die from being stubborn and out in the cold either. Her dog house is only used by her if it's raining. Tonight it's 31 and she doesn't want to come inside, I will bring her in anyways but I was just curious if it was too cold?

Doc

Hello, Joani,

I believe that the best option would be to add a layer of insulation to the dog-house. You might have sort of build another house around it -- perhaps using styrofoam sheets, then covering those with some type of paneling, some thin plywood, maybe.

Be sure that the house is located so that it doesn't get the direct north wind hitting it.

At 31, if the dog wants to stay outside, and has shelter, I wouldn't be worried. If you can provide insulated shelter, out of the wind, it would have to get down in the teens before I'd be worried.

Robyn

I rescued a puppy who was left abandoned outside our complex. She's around 4-6 months old and a lab x spaniel. I live in Cyprus so it's hot through the day and chilly through the night (around 15 degrees C). She stays outside on our balcony at night as she likes to chew things (yesterday it was the plug off my lamp which I then plugged in by mistake and almost killed myself). I know in most places 15 degrees C is hot in most places but I'm just wondering whether it's too cold for her now she's used to the hot weather as I'm freezing in it. She has a quilt out there that she lays on and food and water and a million toys, but it can get quite windy. I'm planning on getting her a kennel for night times once we have moved house, but until then, is she ok? Thank you in advance

Doc

Hello, Robyn,

That temperature range should not be much of a problem if the puppy is out of the wind and rain, and has some bedding.

Thanks for reading and writing.

Tiffany

I have a shepherd/pit mix who is probably near 100 pounds. We just bought a house and can't have the heat turned on for another week. He can stay with us at a friend's house at night but he CAN NOT stay there during the day. With temperatures from 55-62 this week, will he be OK inside the unrelated house? I'll be with him for an hour at lunch every day to make sure.

Doc

Hello, Tiffany,

A dog that size is probably more comfortable at 55 than he is at 70.

You should be fine.

Tiffany

Oops. I meant unheated. Damn auto-correct! Thank you so much!

Richard

Hello, I have a 2 yr old mix Pitt bull/German Shepard. He is around 60 lbs. It's been getting around 30 F here for the low in the early morning. He sleeps outside with a igloo doghouse but rarely uses it. He would rather dig a hole and sleep in it. I get worried that he is to cold. Is he ok out there?

Doc

Hello, Richard,

If he would rather sleep in the hole, then it's not too cold. The igloo should be big enough for him to turn around in, but not a lot bigger. It should be placed out of the wind, as they are not insulated. Some type of insulating bedding should be on the floor: clean straw or hay, blanket, dog-bed, etc.

A big dog like that probably won't use it unless it's really cold or raining, but it should be available.

susan

I worry from time to time about our dogs. We have a german shepherd and an australian shepherd/collie mix (guessing), with a massive coat of fur. I sometimes wonder if she has husky in her. The German has a nice thick coat too, but nothing like the other dog. I live in southern california inland valley where it's been down in the high 20's low 30's overnight. They each have a kennel with blanket on bottom under a covered patio, and tarps covering the tops. One kennel is metal (tarp covered) and sits inside of the shop which is part of the patio. Both are shielded from wind. The German weighs about 651bs and the mix weighs about 70. My husband thinks they're warm enough. What do you think? They don't look or act cold.

Doc

Hello, Susan,

That sounds fine to me. I think they will be okay.

Carrie

I have two dogs. A miniature dalmation (small to med in size short hair) and the other is a cross between a border collie and a bernese mountain dog. Thick coat. Both are well fed and a little overweight so they have a layer of fat. On cold days we feed them hot water with their food to make it a nice warm meal on their bellies. They are put in their dog pen and the house is the right size for the 2 dogs. The dog house is insulated with 8 to 10 inches of insulation on all sides and top and bottom. The roof comes well over the entrance so no snow gets in. In addition to that we have tarps put up in the winter all the way around the outside of the pen to block any wind. Also, we put a blanket or 2 in the dryer to heat them up and take them out to the pen and put them in and around the foot or so of hay that's already in the dog house. The hay as we all know generates its own heat plus two dogs together will snuggle up and generate heat as well. I know in my heart that we are doing pretty much the best we can so why do I worry about them when I'm away? Today for example is very cold. It's -17 and inside the dog house it's only -1 or so. I know they're fine but I wouldn't want to be out there. Am I just being paranoid or is there something more I could be doing aside from staying home and losing my job?

Doc

Hello, Carrie,

That is certainly mighty cold.

Your set-up sounds very good for conserving body heat.

Hay doesn't really generate heat under normal circumstances. Spontaneous combustion occurs when hay that is baled in a too-moist state begins to decompose and generate heat through that process. Loose hay won't do that, but provides good insulation.

The only other thing you could do (short of bringing the dogs indoors) would be to add a heat source.

Heat lamps need to be guarded so that the dogs cannot actually touch them, and the electrical cords also need to be shielded from chewing.

There are special heating pads that are made for kennels. They are covered with very tough plastic armor and the cords are covered with steel spring shielding.

I must say that I don't have any experience with temperatures in that very low range. It would be best to consult a veterinarian in your area.

Carrie

Thank you for your quick reply. I appreciate it.

Unfortunately we used to leave the dogs in the house so I wouldn't worry but the border collie has separation anxiety and tends to destroy my house so we had to build the outdoor pen and it seems every year we're doing something else to improve it.

When we get home at night I check them all over to make sure they're okay and they are. They aren't shivering and their core (arm pits etc) is very warm. Then for good measure I wrap them in a warm blanket to get the cold off them. They aren't the least bit spoiled I swear! ;o)

I rescued them from the SPCA and after about a week of getting them home we found out exactly why they were at the spca in the first place... but I could never return a pet after rescuing him and her so I do my best to make them as comfortable as possible.

The cold snap that we're having is usually only in January and at most it's usually 1 or 2 days at a time. This week it's been 4 days and I just worry.

We tried the heat source like you mentioned and the border collie/bernese fella completely destroyed it the first day. So apparently he didn't like it.

Anyway, thanks again for your help. Our vet says they're the most spoiled dogs on the planet and says we're doing everything we can except for staying home with them or getting a baby sitter. Then again, he also said we should get a shrink for the separation anxiety at $150 per hour.

Doc

Sounds like you've got it covered. Best wishes.

April Curtis

I am the first kind of owner. I have a mini dachshund and I have to leave her outside while I go to work. I usually have a roommate who works from our apartment who can watch her and take her out, but my roommate went home for the week. It is in the low 60's and I don't know if I can leave my dog outside while I am at work. I don't have a sweater or anything for her (as she is an indoor dog). My shift is 5 hours. I don't have a dog house or a crate to put her in and she WILL pee in the house if I leave her inside. She is around 9 pounds and has a fairly thick coat. What do I do? Is 60 too cold to put her outside?

Doc

Hello, April,

If it is not raining, I think she will probably be fine at 60 Fahrenheit.

Kathy

I'm fostering a 6-month (or so) black lab for a few days until the rescue org can make other plans. I've been home with her since I picked her up at the shelter but must go back to work tomorrow. I am planning to leave her outside with a crate/blanket/food/water/toys available but not to lock her in the crate. The weather is expected to be low 30's in the morning then low 40's in the afternoon but sunny. The crate would be on the deck outside where it would get full sun in the afternoon. The only other option would be to lock her in the crate inside all day but I'd prefer to not do that. I'd rather she had room to get out and run around if she wants. Is my plan feasible for the 2 days it would be necessary?

Doc

Hello, Kathy,

That should be okay. The crate should have some sort of windbreak, so that the wind is not hitting it directly.

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