When Your Dog Needs to Stay Outside
Dog House TipsCredit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cogdog/4741099894/sizes/m/in/photostream/
Puppies under six months and dogs that are sick or old shouldn't live outdoors. Sturdy and long-coated breeds may live outside year-round if they're decently conditioned. Small breeds and those having smooth coats ought to remain outside only in mild weather. However, a shelter can be of great benefit to them in the day time.
The dog left in the yard, even temporarily, will need a shelter—a snug house, for instance, where he can rest in comfort and security while it rains or snows. In a small house, the animal's own body heat would help to warm him in winter. The shelter must be roomy enough for the dog so it could stand up, lie down, and turn around comfortably. The bottom must be raised off the ground, the entrance installed with a flap of heavy canvas or burlap to function as a windshield, and the whole, naturally, must be waterproof. Such a shelter may be kept in the open in mild weather, and carted into the garage or barn if the weather gets unusually severe.
For summertime dog care, a platform sunshade will be delightful for your dog. Build a wooden platform decently long to allow the dog to stretch out on: place the platform on four legs at the least high enough for him to creep under. When he prefers to sun himself, he will lie on top; when he wants to cool down, he'll settle in below.
The dog dwelling outside in every weather condition will require a really sturdy kennel or house. Keep in mind, though, that only the heavy-coated or tougher breeds can stand full-time outdoor living in winter. It is not a good idea having your dog inside in the day time and outside at night or vice versa. Frequent temperature changes could make a dog sick.
When the dog will live year-round in a kennel, the construction should stay at an even temperature all year long. When the kennel is unheated, the dog's sleeping quarters should be draft-free.
If the dog will live inside a doghouse, the structure must fit his size: big enough for him to be able to stand up and turn around comfortably, but small enough for his body to heat. The house must bear a double floor, having insulation between the layers. The roof and side walls should also be insulated. The roof should be pitched to throw off rain and snow and to give additional headroom. It should also overhang the walls to keep them dry. Half of the roof may be hinged, to be laid back for cleaning and for better airing in the summer. Place the house in a dry, sheltered, and hard-standing area. Face its entrance east or south, at the least away from prevailing winds and the midday sun in the summertime. For exceedingly cold weather attach a portable vestibule or right-angled storm door to prevent strong winds from coming in—this can be merely two sides of a box.
The year-round doghouse requires floor space fully twice as long as the adult dog, having a bed placed at the back, well aside from the door, and protected by a partition. The bedding, which could be bound in place by a slotted slide, maybe comprised of washable rugs and blankets on a layer of cedar shavings, cured hay, or straw. When there are no shade trees, create a lattice across the front and over part of the entrance. Convert it in warm weather using a length or two of deck canvas.
Shade trees are more acceptable than any awning. They emit moisture, helping to equalize the temperature in summer; they play as windbreaks in winter by keeping the snow from drifting into the yard. Even so, trees should not be too near to the siding—leave several feet beyond their widest spread to provide circulation of air. When the trees are already grown, this can be furnished for when the dog shelter is built; if the house comes first, then allowance must be made for the growth of the trees. Keep off fruit trees for the dog's yard if they in time will be sprayed with material which can poison the dog when dropped on the grass or licked off the feet.
Whether the yard is configured for part-time or full-time use, equip it with a container for water—if possible, of fountain type, to keep the water cool and clean.
Do keep in mind that when the temperature drops below freezing, to take all breeds indoors.
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