Wow, this is a hotly debated topic among dog lovers around the world. And if you’re looking for a short answer, there isn’t one other than “it depends on your dog”.
So, you may want to read on!
Everyone who has ever owned a canine pal in their life will tell you that they are incredibly important — a happy pup is a happy family, right? But keeping your dog healthy, loved, and joyful is more than just a desire, it is required by law (as it should be!).
Can Dogs Live in Outside Kennels?
The common debate has always been (as far as we can tell) around whether or not dogs should live in outside kennels. Some owners believe that if your pup has access to freshwater and food, is warm, and can sleep in a safe place, then it’s perfectly fine. But others will tell you how awful and inhumane it is to keep your dog outside.
While we have our personal opinions about this, we are going to answer your burning “can dogs live in outside kennels?” question objectively, with science and logic.
Ready? Okay, let’s get started.
Your Dog’s Body Language Will Tell You Everything
Before we start talking about the details, you should take your dog’s breed into account. Many are typically happiest when they are living indoors but some are compatible with residing in an outside kennel.
More importantly, however, you need to know your dog.
Generally, we have found that people are incredibly attuned to their pup’s likes, dislikes, character, temperament, and personality. But some owners don’t understand the universal body language their dog might display to show whether they are happy or stressed.
If you aren’t aware, that’s okay! Let us go over everything so you can give your canine friend a life filled with positivity.
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When Dogs Are Content, They May Do The Following:
- Jump up at you — this shows you that they are wanting to play, go on walks, and interact with you. Think of it as the canine version of dancing!
- Wag their tail — if they wag their tail inside their kennel, all is good.
- Hold their ears in a natural position — this is equivalent to us sitting or standing in a relaxed pose, showing contentment.
- Tilt their head — this is a sure sign of a happy pup, especially when it occurs with a relaxed mouth and ears. It’s a very playful gesture.
When Dogs Are Stressed or Unhappy, They May Do The Following:
- Growl — when they growl while inside the outdoor kennel (or anywhere, for that matter), they are showing signs of aggression resulting from extreme stress.
- Chew things — they will chew on random objects in their kennel or potentially try to under the latch with their teeth. They can seriously injure themselves if this is the case.
- Whine — you will find that this goes hand-in-hand with other behaviors such as refusing to eat, cowering, and withdrawing from play or human interactions.
- Bark — here, your dog is attempting to let you know that something is wrong and they are feeling stressed, lonely, or in danger from being in their outdoor kennel.
The Past: Dogs Living in Outside Kennels
So, now you know the telltale signs of when your pup is and isn’t happy being in an outdoor kennel. But you might still be wondering whether it’s the best thing to do — we don’t blame you if you are, it’s a sensitive topic after all!
The only way we can think of answering this further (apart from turning to science) is to look to our ancestors for guidance.
The First Known Dog Lover Lived Over 14,000 Years Ago
Most of you are probably staring at this bold statement thinking, “how on earth do you know that?”. Well, archaeologists found dog remains buried next to humans that dated back thousands of years. Burial was (and still is in many cultures) a hugely respected tradition, so, researchers have assumed that this signifies that dogs were treated as family members.
As time has moved on, dogs are still a massive part of our lives. And they truly do love us for it (“they” being “dogs”). Since they’re pack animals, they can easily adapt to ever-changing family situations, understand certain aspects, and communicate with us. Plus, they get well fed and loved wholeheartedly.
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Back In The Day, Dogs Worked
In the past, generally, dogs worked and lived like their owners and went everywhere with them. But there are some exceptions.
Numerous families used them to guard their property, land, outbuildings, or all of the above. Therefore, the dogs stayed outside to ensure no one trespassed or attempted to burglarize the area.
Although, it’s worth remembering that people tended to have far more acreage than they do now. Not to mention that vehicles weren’t an issue so their dogs could roam free without fear of getting run over by a speeding car.
Now For The Science Bit
To be honest, science is not the most compassionate subject! It claims that as long as your pup is both physically and mentally healthy, then you are doing good.
While we agree with this, that isn’t the be-all and end-all of owning a dog. And, this does not give you a straight-up answer as to whether your dog can live in an outside kennel (because there isn’t one!).
Whether your dog will be happy outside depends on loads of factors, including:
- Your dog’s breed (as we talked about earlier)
- Where you live
- Your area’s climate
- The season
- Your dog’s age
- Your dog’s health status
- How you interact, play, and ultimately treat your dog
- And so, so much more.
There are some dogs, like Siberian Huskies, who are bred for cold, harsh conditions and will love you for leaving them outside. But, you still need to provide them with adequate shelter, a cozy sleeping area, and the right amount of food and water. Not to mention that, when the summer rolls around, they will benefit from air conditioning so you should bring them inside with you.
As you can see, we weren’t lying when we said there is a boatload of factors that come into play. Nothing about owning a dog is black and white.
For Those Wanting Their Dogs to Live in an Outside Kennel
If you, for whatever reason, want your dog to live in an outside kennel, you need to first ensure that they are used to the weather, and are happy being outdoors.
But that’s not all!
You need to protect them from all possible dangers — like the weather and other animals, for example — while making sure he or she has time to adapt to the kennel.
Let Your Dog Get Used to the Kennel
Like we said earlier, you probably know your dog. However, some things are pretty universal where pups are concerned to get them to adapt effectively. These include:
- Putting treats in the kennel
- Letting him or her sniff around inside the kennel
- Put loads of blankets in the kennel
- Provide lots of toys for him or her
- Sit with him or her inside the outdoor kennel and give them cuddles and play with them
Make Sure Your Kennel Offers Them Safety
Your dog should not feel like they are being held captive or are incarcerated. Instead, they need to associate this outdoor space as a safe place for them to be.
Of course, everything we just talked about will help with this but there are some other things you need to do as well, including:
- Dedicating time to take him or her on walks, even though they are living outside
- Letting him or her play and interact with your other pets and animals
- Set aside time to be with your pup
- Don’t chain them up, opt for securing your garden instead. Chains tend to lead to behavioral issues and will cause your dog a lot of unnecessary stress
Protect Them From The Elements
Yes, this applies to breeds who are bred for adverse weather conditions too! No one should have to be stressed out or struggle when there is no reason for it. So, to help your dog out, and keep them safe, make sure you do the following:
- Bring him or her inside during extreme heat or cold so they can acclimatize and stay healthy
- Invest in a sturdy water bowl so the wind doesn’t blow it over
- Ensure your kennel provides shade
- Make sure he or she has access to cool outdoor areas in the heat
- Provide an insulated house for the colder months (heat lamps work well)
- In the cold, don’t let your dog near rock salt or de-icer
- Shovel snow away
- And use common sense for everything else.
The Bottom Line
If you came here looking for a solid, yes or no answer, we’re sorry that we couldn’t give you that. But honestly, no one can!
As we said, it depends on so many factors that you have to make your mind up as to whether your dog would or would not benefit from living in an outside kennel.