Sheltering your dog
Dogs are highly social animals, and we hope you and your dog will achieve the special closeness that comes from sharing your home together. However, we recognize that there are circumstances that may lead you to choose outdoor housing for your dog. If you are thinking about an outdoor dog, here are somethings to consider:
- Not all dogs are suited to outdoor living. Old dogs, puppies, small breeds, and short-haired breeds may be severely stressed – even to the point of death – by outdoor living in a Minnesota winter. If you do choose to keep a dog outdoors, select one of the large, heavy-coated breeds like a Malamute or a Siberian Husky that really thrive in cold weather.
- Minnesota law establishes minimum shelter requirements for outdoor dogs. “The shelter shall include a moisture-proof and wind-proof structure of suitable size to accommodate the dog and allow retention of body heat. It shall be made of durable materials with a solid floor raised at least two inches from the ground and with the entrance covered by a flexible wind-proofing material or a self-closing door. The structure shall be provided with a sufficient quantity of suitable bedding materials consisting of hay, straw, cedar shavings, blankets, or the equivalent, to provide insulation and protection against cold and dampness and promote retention of body heat.” [Minnesota statute 343.40, subdivision 2]
- You can purchase ready-made dog houses that meet these safety requirements or build your own. Use construction materials that are free of toxic substances, especially for a chewing puppy.
- Keep your dog’s house small enough to preserve its body heat in cold weather. Adult dogs need just enough room to sit, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
- Use straw, hay, cedar shavings or blankets for bedding and change it frequently to ensure your pet has a clean and dry place to sleep.
- Place your dog’s house on the sheltered side (east or southeast) of your house or garage with the door facing away from prevailing winds. Install a flap over the door to provide extra protection.
- Condition your outdoor dog to the weather gradually, starting in early fall.
- Your dog requires protection from both heat and cold. Ensure your dog has a fresh water and shade available all day during warm weather.
- Outdoor dogs must comply with your community's animal control regulations. Confine your dog within a fenced back yard or by attaching a lead to an overhead cable stretched between two posts or trees. Be certain your dog is not tied anywhere where he could conceivably hang himself.
- Don’t forget that your dog loves you and craves your attention – even in cold weather.A neglected dog may develop bad habits like barking, chewing or digging.