Can Dogs Live Outside?


The question of whether it is safe for a dog to live outside their whole life has been a longstanding debate. Climate plays a significant role in a dog’s comfort and health when living outdoors.

Signs of being too hot or too cold

If your dog is outside, they may pant to keep cool. Excessive panting, increased temperature, excessive drooling, increased sleepiness, or even seizures can indicate that your dog is too hot. Shaking, whining, howling, or lifting up paws may indicate that your dog is too cold. In extreme temperatures, it might be best to move them indoors.

Body language

Signs that your dog is too hot may include panting, weakness, drooling, and sleepiness. Signs that your dog is too cold may include shaking, whining, howling, and lifting up paws.

History of dogs living outside

Dogs descended from wolves, which live outside year-round. However, in recent years, more dog owners have opted to keep their dogs indoors, offering better regulation of the elements.

Science behind dogs living outside

Dogs are built to live outside to some extent, but not all dogs are created equal. Factors such as fur type, size, weight, age, and health determine if a dog can safely live outside. It’s important to consider individual needs, especially for older dogs or those with medical issues.

Preparations for an outside dog

If you choose to have your dog live outside, consider their needs and if they can handle the climate. Provide shade, a cooling-off area, and clean water. In cold weather, ensure they have proper shelter, protected from wind, and clean bedding. Research and consult with a vet to ensure you are adequately prepared.


While some dogs can live outside safely, it is crucial to provide love, companionship, and a stimulating environment. Forcing a dog to live a solitary, outside life can lead to boredom and unhappiness.

“Consider your dog’s individual needs and the climate before deciding if they can live outside safely.”

Tips & Things to Know

1️⃣ Pay attention to your dog’s behavior and body language to determine if they are too hot or too cold. Excessive panting, drooling, and lethargy can indicate overheating, while shaking, whining, and lifting paws can indicate being too cold.

2️⃣ Consider your dog’s individual needs and characteristics when deciding if they can live outside. Factors such as fur type, weight, age, and health can impact their ability to tolerate the elements. Older dogs or those with medical issues may be more vulnerable to extreme temperatures.

3️⃣ If you choose to have your dog live outside, make sure to provide appropriate shelter, shade, and access to clean water. Dog houses may not always provide adequate cooling, so additional measures like a wading pool can help them cool off. In cold weather, ensure the shelter is properly insulated and protected from drafts, and regularly check for frozen water sources. Research and consult with a veterinarian to ensure you are meeting all the necessary requirements for your dog’s well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions, Answered ✅

1. Can a dog live outside safely for their whole life?
– It depends on the climate and the dog’s individual needs. Factors like temperature, fur type, weight, age, and health all play a role in determining if a dog can live outside safely.

2. What are the signs that a dog might be too hot?
– Excessive panting, increased body temperature, excessive drooling, increased water consumption, sleepiness, and in serious cases, seizures.

3. What are the signs that a dog might be too cold?
– Shaking, lifting up paws, whining, howling, and signs of discomfort or restlessness.

4. Why has there been an uptick in dog owners keeping their dogs as inside dogs?
– The trend towards keeping dogs inside may be due to better regulation of the elements and increased awareness of the potential risks and discomfort of leaving dogs outside.

5. What preparations should be made for an outside dog?
– Consider the dog’s individual needs, body type, and health. Provide shade, clean water, and possibly a small wading pool for cooling off. Ensure the dog has a properly sized shelter with clean bedding, protection from wind, and proper drainage. Additionally, research and consult with a vet to ensure the dog’s safety and well-being.

Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy
Max Kozinskiy is a seasoned writer and an enthusiast of dog breed expertise. Having dedicated over 5 years to studying the intricacies of different dog breeds and their unique characteristics. His profound insights and love for our four-legged friends have made him an invaluable part of our team.

Related Pet Guides