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Old 11-02-2010, 08:24 AM
 
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Curious to get some advice from other pet owners who keep their animals outside all the time. We have a black lab that use to be an indoor dog, but due to severe allergies she had to go outside full time.

I'm curious to know how other people house their outdoor animals especially when the temperatures drop. My dog has a house that is on outr deck and I just finishing insulating this morning with straw. I put two bales on all sides and covered with a tarp to keep the bales from getting wet. I also made a straw nest inside the dog house and threw a blanket over to keep the straw from being scratchy. The tarp can also hang over the entrance to the house to block wind and rain.

I got that idea from a homesteader who keeps all their dogs outdoors. My biggest concern is my dogs water supply during the winter. How do I keep the water from freezing and make sure she has access to water during the day?

Thanks!
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:45 AM
 
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I used to have outdoor dogs [Allergies. Now we have a 2nd generation Labradoodle.] We had a plug-in bowl. The cord was wrapped in metal so the dogs couldn't chew it. Do you have an outlet on your porch? It heated the water enough to keep it from freezing. They are available at country-type stores. Don't foget to take it indoors and scrub it. Best wishes!
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:48 AM
 
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My dogs are not outside 24/7 but do stay in a fenced in yard during the day while we are at work. We have a really nice dog house and like you we fill it with hay for warmth. I dont have any real good solution for the water. I fill up their bowl when I leave in the morning and then hubby refills it at noon if it is frozen.

Since he is going to have to be outside more and not have as much human companionship maybe you might consider adopting another adult dog that he could play with to keep him company and if your dog house is big enough they might snuggle together like mine do.

You might conside a garage or something on the really cold nights. I dont know where you live but in Iowa it can get really cold even for a big fury Lab.

Good luck!!
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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My other Sheltie used to stay outdoors all the time except to come in to visit when we got home in the afternoon. She actually preferred being outdoors but our yard was fenced so she had the run of the yard.

We had her dog house on the deck and used the wheat straw stuff. The doghouse had a door but she didn't like that so we took it off.

Living in NC, it was rare that her water bowl froze. Sometimes in the morning it would be frozen but we'd just dump it and give her fresh water anyway.

My current Sheltie stays out during the day but comes in at night.

I think it is just what they get used to.

Vicki
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Old 11-02-2010, 08:57 AM
 
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If you're near a Tractor Supply, hit them up for a heated water pail. They have several sizes--the smallest of which is plenty for even the largest dog. I think I paid about $20 or so for mine (a couple of years ago). It works great--just enough gentle heat to keep the water from freezing.

About the dog house, there are options for heating them. Many dogs can comfortably tolerate freezing temperatures, so you first need to consider what kind of dog it is (e.g., a chihuahua will need a lot more heat than a husky, for example). Also, a dog house can be surprisingly warm with just the dog's body heat, so be careful you don't overdo it. You can buy dog house heaters, which are essentially metal boxes with a light bulb inside. But they cost somewhere around $70-80, so I decided to make one myself. I went to Lowe's and got the following:

--A short section of 6-inch stove pipe, with two cap ends.
--A heavy-duty ceramic light socket
--a heavy-duty outlet plug
--a length of heavy-duty electrical wire (don't use lamp cord, but something a bit thicker)
--a rubber grommet (big enough to handle the electrical wire)

Mount the light socket to the inside of one of the cap ends. Drill a hole of appropriate diameter, install the grommet, and feed the cord through. Attach the plug to one end of the cord, and attach the other end to the socket. You may also want to mount a hook so you can hang the heater in the top of the dog house. Install a light bulb, place the end caps on, and that's it! It costs less than ten bucks, and works like a charm (I have it hooked to a timer). I use a ceramic pet heater bulb in mine, which you can purchase online or at most pet stores, but you can use a regular bulb if you want. You'll need to experiment with wattages to find the right one. I made a smaller version for my cats' house, and a 40-watt tube bulb provides all the heat it needs.

Last edited by arbyunc; 11-02-2010 at 09:19 AM..
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:19 PM
 
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Thank you everyone for your advice. It is very much appreciated!

I would love to have more animals, but my husband is not keen on that idea. Our dog actually gets lots of attention. We take her for walks, play with her in the yard, take her to the lake. So it's not like she is really lonely. She is home during the day by herself while we work, but she gets lots of love.

Thanks for the water ideas. I am definitely going to look into heated bowls/pails. I love my animals and will do whatever I can to make sure they are happy and healthy!
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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I have 2 dogs, one is a lazy loaf who preferes sleeping on a human bed with maid service and BonBons. The other has access to the house but stays outside and sleeps in the barn, under the car, or in a matted down section of reeds.

As for water supply, the heated pails from Tractor Supply are great because of the variety and low cost And because they are designed for animals. Just try to keep the water clean and circulating. The alternative is a insulated water container with a insulated tube to keep water circulating in a bowl. Moving water really can't freeze. You just need a place for the spillage to go.

A simple dog house with minimal insulation is fine for dogs that are acclimated to cold weather. The secret is not so much the insulation but the escaping heat. I did build an outside dog house of composite wood. It was two sections. The back was a regular square with opening that had a dog door on it. but that opening led into another section with another opening. The house I guess had a inside foyer to enter the actual dog sleeping area. Simple to make out of 2x4's and 4X8 composite sidding. I faced the opening so that it acted as a wind break. The dog seldom used it prefering to sleep "under the stars"

The main thing is to make it uninviting to insect and rodents. A good outdoor bed elevated off the ground helps. Proper ventilation. A good circulating water supply (although scummy pond water is the prefered water). And keep it clean, much more than most people would. Just try to make as much inside comforts as you can outside.
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Old 11-02-2010, 03:01 PM
 
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Okay stupid question.....

Do you think I went over board with insulation? 2 bales of straw on the right and left side of dog house, a tarp which covers bales as well as dog house and a nice nest inside? The entrance is open nothing covering it. The tarp folds up over the door, but I can actually pull it down and let it hang (it doesn't cover the entrance tightly. Allows her to get in and out) over the entrance to block wind and rain.

Sorry if I seem ignorant when it comes to shelters and dogs, but this is the first time she will be an outside dog. Also, to keep bugs and rodents out I heard cedar chips in the straw would work.
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Old 11-02-2010, 04:41 PM
 
Location: Plattsburgh NY
1,791 posts, read 1,563,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FluidFreedom View Post
Okay stupid question.....

Do you think I went over board with insulation? 2 bales of straw on the right and left side of dog house, a tarp which covers bales as well as dog house and a nice nest inside? The entrance is open nothing covering it. The tarp folds up over the door, but I can actually pull it down and let it hang (it doesn't cover the entrance tightly. Allows her to get in and out) over the entrance to block wind and rain.

Sorry if I seem ignorant when it comes to shelters and dogs, but this is the first time she will be an outside dog. Also, to keep bugs and rodents out I heard cedar chips in the straw would work.
I think anything you can do to make the outside more comfortable for your dog(s) is admirable. NOT stupid or overboard at all. I don't agree with the whole outside thing, but never thought of HAVING to because of allergies. If our young diabetic dog came to acquire allergies, I would take donations to build her a K-9 mini condo. Heated and air conditioned.
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