The Advantages of a Large Dog House for Enhanced Comfort and Security
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on October 16, 2023
The debate about whether it is cruel to have your dog live outside often stirs strong emotions. Many people feel strongly about this topic, with opinions ranging from complete approval to thinking it's an act of cruelty. But what if we told you this concern might be based on a myth? The idea that all dogs should live inside might not hold up under scrutiny for every breed or lifestyle. For many dogs, the outdoors offers endless opportunities for stimulation, exercise, and comfort. Let’s look at why a large dog kennel could be a great option for your dog, the types of dogs that can thrive outdoors, and practical tips to ensure their safety and happiness.
Is It Cruel to Keep Your Dog Outside?
The question of whether it is cruel to keep a dog outside in a dog house is a complex one that elicits strong opinions. The answer to this question is not a straightforward "yes" or "no." It varies significantly depending on your dog's breed, age, health condition, and the quality of the outdoor living conditions you can provide. Dogs are highly adaptable creatures, but they also have specific needs that differ from breed to breed and even from individual to individual. One of the reasons why the idea of outdoor living for dogs is often frowned upon is because dogs are inherently social animals. They thrive on interaction and companionship. Loneliness can lead to behavioral issues such as destructive chewing, excessive barking, and even anxiety disorders. Therefore, if your idea of keeping a dog outside involves long periods of isolation without human or animal interaction, it could be considered cruel.
However, let's talk about breeds. Some dog breeds are better suited to live outdoors than others. While small toy breeds like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, and Yorkies are ill-equipped to handle the harsh conditions of the outdoors, larger breeds like Newfoundlands, Alaskan Malamutes, and German Shepherds have been bred for generations to work and live in outdoor conditions. These breeds often have thick coats that provide natural insulation and are generally more comfortable in a spacious outdoor environment. Individual dogs also have unique personalities. Some are homebodies that prefer the comfort of your living room, while others are adventurous spirits that love nothing more than running around a big yard. Knowing your dog's personality can guide you in making a suitable choice between an indoor or outdoor living arrangement.
Having a dog live outside does not mean neglect. Responsible dog owners who choose this arrangement often go to great lengths to ensure their pets are well cared for. This includes regular vet check-ups, adequate exercise, social interaction, and a comfortable living space tailored to the dog's needs. The type of dog house or large dog kennel you provide also makes a tremendous difference. A well-designed, insulated, and ventilated dog house can offer comfort and protection from the elements, turning the outdoor space into a cozy haven rather than a harsh environment. So, as you can see, the answer to whether it is cruel to keep your dog outside is nuanced. It is not inherently cruel, provided you take the necessary steps to ensure your dog's well-being, which includes considering their breed, personality, and the quality of the outdoor living conditions you can provide.
When to Opt for a Large Outdoor Kennel for Your Dog
One of the most compelling reasons for considering a large outdoor dog kennel is the freedom and space it offers your pet. Dogs, especially larger breeds, often need more room to roam than what the indoors can provide. A kennel placed in your yard can offer a space for your dog to explore, which can be particularly beneficial if you are not home during the day. This arrangement allows them to engage in natural behaviors like sniffing, digging, or even just lazing around in the sun without the restrictions of four walls.
Larger breeds like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds often crave more space for physical activities. Being confined in a smaller indoor space can sometimes lead to feelings of restlessness and boredom, which can, in turn, lead to destructive behavior. Certain breeds like Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Belgian Malinois are classified as working dogs. These breeds are happiest when they have a job to do and can become stressed or anxious without enough physical and mental stimulation. An outdoor environment provides them ample opportunities for tasks like guarding or herding.
Some dogs just have a natural affinity for the outdoors. They love to bask in the sun, roll in the grass, and explore their surroundings. If you have noticed that your dog often seems eager to go outside and reluctant to come back in, they might be happier with an outdoor living arrangement. Older dogs, puppies, or dogs with specific health conditions may need to use the bathroom more frequently than others. Access to an outdoor kennel can make this process easier and more convenient for you and your pet, eliminating the need for a rushed trip outside every few hours.
The Mutual Benefits of Outdoor Dog Living
Suppose your dog falls under the category of "working breeds," such as a Border Collie, Belgian Malinois, or any hunting or herding breed. In that case, an outdoor environment can be a paradise for them. These dogs are genetically programmed to work. Confined spaces like the interior of a house can restrict their movement and cognitive stimulation. The open environment of a large dog kennel allows them the freedom to fulfill their inherent traits and instincts, promoting better mental and physical health.
The outdoors has numerous sensory experiences for your dog. The various sights, sounds, and smells offer mental stimulation that is hard to match indoors. Having the freedom to explore these sensations in a safe and confined outdoor kennel can greatly improve your pet's cognitive health. Moreover, the additional space allows for various toys, obstacle courses, and other playthings that can keep your dog engaged and active.
Benefits for Dog Owners
No Indoor Accidents: With your dog enjoying the outdoors, you can say goodbye to cleaning up those occasional 'accidents' when you are not home to let them out in time.
Allergy Relief: If someone in the household suffers from pet allergies, keeping the dog outside can significantly reduce allergic reactions, making the living space more comfortable for everyone.
Protect Your Belonging: Chewing, scratching, and general destructiveness often result from a dog's boredom or excess energy. An outdoor space can help constructively drain that energy, saving your slippers, furniture, and children's toys from becoming casualties.
Enjoy Uninterrupted Time: Whether you're watching your favorite show, hosting non-dog-loving guests, or sitting down for a meal, you won't have to worry about being interrupted to tend to your dog's needs. No more begging for scraps at the dinner table or barking to be let outside.
Easier Maintenance: Dogs that spend time outdoors usually require less frequent baths, as they can 'self-clean' to some extent by rolling in grass or digging. This can save you both time and effort in grooming and housekeeping.
Community Harmony: For those living in close quarters with neighbors, an outdoor dog kennel can help reduce tensions — no more worries about your dog's barking disturbing others. Also, being confined can help manage territorial tendencies, making it easier for neighbors to coexist peacefully with your pet.
Things to Be Aware Of When Choosing a Large Dog House
The idea of setting up an outdoor kennel for your dog is exciting. However, it is essential to make informed decisions when moving forward with this project. Being aware of certain factors will provide a more suitable environment for your dog and address some common concerns you might have.
Determine the Best Size
Choosing the appropriate size for your dog's new outdoor home is crucial for their comfort and well-being. The kennel size should not just be 'large' but specifically tailored to your dog’s dimensions. Measure your dog’s height, length, and width to gauge the right kennel size. Add 9 inches to your dog’s height, 18 inches to your dog’s length, and 12 inches to your dog’s width to create a set of measurements. These guidelines are general; you may need to adjust based on your dog’s unique needs and the specific kennel design.
Location, Location, Location
Once you have got the size sorted out, the next step is to determine where you will place the large dog kennel in your yard. Consider the path of the sun throughout the day. Will your dog be exposed to full sun, or will there be enough shade to keep them comfortable? Some areas might seem ideal in the morning but could turn into a sun trap in the afternoon. Another aspect to consider is the proximity to your neighbors. A kennel close to the boundary might irritate your neighbors, especially if your dog is vocal. The type of foundation your dog will be on is also crucial. Is it going to be gravel, grass, or concrete? Each has its pros and cons: gravel provides good drainage but might not be comfortable for your dog to lie on; grass is soft but can turn muddy; concrete is easy to clean but can become hot or cold depending on the weather.
Temperature and Precipitation Considerations
Invest in a dog kennel made from weather-resistant materials. Whether it is scorching heat, a downpour, or strong winds, the kennel should be able to withstand the elements. Insulation can keep the kennel warm during the winter months while ensuring it remains cool during the summer. Ventilation is equally essential to prevent moisture build-up, which could lead to mold or mildew. Ensure that the roof is leak-proof. A soggy kennel will not only make your dog miserable but could also lead to health issues like fungal infections. Some advanced kennels come with built-in heating or cooling systems. While these are more of a luxury than a necessity, they can provide additional comfort for your dog during extreme weather conditions.
Evaluating if a Large Dog House is Right for Your Dog
It is essential to remember that not all dogs are suited for outdoor living. Smaller breeds and those not conditioned for outdoor environments will fare better inside. However, it can be a nurturing, stimulating, and safe environment for certain types of dogs. Larger breeds, working dogs, and those with a love for the great outdoors can thrive in a large dog kennel. From the joys of unrestricted movement to the psychological benefits of outdoor stimulation, a well-planned large dog house can provide many advantages for both the pet and the owner. We encourage you to use this blog as a stepping stone to further research. Each dog is unique, and understanding your pet's specific needs is crucial. Download our free guide, “Evaluating the Best-fit Outdoor Dog Kennel for Your Dog” to get started on providing your dog with the comfortable and secure outdoor space they deserve.