Dogs indoors or outdoors?

Indoors or outdoors: where should dogs live?

Is it OK to expect a dog to sleep outdoors in a kennel? The answer to this question depends on many factors, and it isn’t possible to give an absolute “yes” or “no” answer without knowing more about the specific circumstances.

Last week, a listener texted in asking if it was OK to leave her Yorkshire terrier outside. Pete said yes, as long as the dog had a warm, dry, weatherproof place to sleep. However another listener emailed the show to say that in his opinion, there are many reasons why a dog should not be expected to sleep outdoors, pointing out that most dog welfare organisations won’t rehome a dog to an owner who plans to keep the dog outside. What is the story about dogs being kept indoors or outdoors?

By the way, if anyone is considering an outdoor kennel for a dog, assuming other aspects of the dog’s life are being properly looked after, there is a particular type of kennel that stands out. See www.petcosy.ie. These look similar to standard dog kennels but they are carefully designed for comfort, with 40mm insulation, a rubberised comfortable base, and other unique features,

And, no, I have no commercial connection with the company – I have just seen their products and I know they are excellent. See below for a few comments from the Pet Cosy team about their kennels:

Message from PetCosy.ie

Our long term goal is to raise the minimum accepted standard of pet housing. We want to have an insulated house as minimum accepted standard, and anything less than this agreed standard to be recognised as insufficient in our climate and banned from sale.

Pet Cosy was born to solve a problem I had, I could not find a suitable insulated dog house for our indoor dogs to keep safe and warm outside when I had to be away for more than 4 hours during the day.

  • Our product was “designed from the inside out”: every material choice and design choice was made by asking ourselves “what would be the best choice for the end user” meaning the pet, not the human.
  • Our product is deliberately styled like a traditional dog house: all the fancy stuff is on the inside. This is a contradiction to most pet housing products which are designed to please the human eye but may fall short on pet comfort.
  • We use 40mm of insulation board in the walls and ceiling which is designed for use in our own homes. We use a 100% waterproof 21mm insulation in the floor, combined with our Special Comfort Mat and Toughply external base making a very cosy bed.
  • The Special Comfort Mat is an Irish product originally designed for cow cubicle mats for wintering cows. In its original form it is 20mm EVA foam and comes with a 10 year guarante. We have it split into 10mm mats for our use and although the guarantee does not transfer, the manufacturer has stated to us the we can extrapolate from the guarantee that it will last equally as long for pets. This flooring does have some benefit for older pets and for pets with joint or pressure sore issues, but it is not orthopaedic.
  • Inside each house we use natural hardwood ply for its breathability, it is exterior grade (waterproof glue) but intended and safe for indoor use.
  • We use no wood preservatives or glues on the internal construction and the Special Comfort Floor is animal grade and safe.
  • We designed a simple and safe door system for pets that have never used a flap door. The frame is 107mm deep and a PVC curtain hangs externally and internally (double PVC curtain door).

Bedding is not required in our housing: this is what good insulated pet housing should do. Bedding outdoor can become soiled damp and even mouldy, it can harbour fleas mites and ticks and can reinfect a treated pet. If bedding is used we advise that the pet owner always have three beds, one in the house, one clean dry and ready and one in the wash, rotating them frequently. The most effective way to do this is, if possible, is to have an old washing machine set up and used only for this purpose. The best material is “Vet Bed” commonly used by vets in their hospitals. We have been looking into having true orthopaedic mattresses made to fit our product: we intend to have these available in the near future.

We have looked into a pre-heating system for the floor: this will take the chill out of the floor prior to your pet taking up residence for the day. This would only be recommended for pets that are indoor pets which stay outdoors for a few hours occasionally.

This is not intended as a heating system for the house, our research tells us that heating would not be a good idea for pets who live outdoors all year round. The reason for this is that we believe it could encourage a lighter coat and therefore be counter-productive in keeping your pet warm, indoor pets tend to have a lighter coat so they would benefit. For our coldest mornings/days, pet owners who use our product for their pets during the day, could place a hot water bottle into the Pet Cosy Insulated Pet House on cold mornings for at least 20mins to pre-heat the interior before your pet goes out for the day. Don’t forget to remove it or your pet could have a new chew toy with surprise when it bites into it! Microwavable heat pads are good for this instead of water bottles.

We are already looking at using current technology to further benefit our furry friends lives and help ensure they are comfortable, safe and warm whatever Mother nature delivers.

Find out more at the Pet Cosy website

Listener’s Question:

Maeve called to ask about her tiny 10 month old Chihuahua who is completely and utterly obsessed by looking for food. What should she do?

Texts from listeners:

  1. How long does it take to cure a small ulcer in a dog’s eye and what is the cure?
  2. A black and white Cocker Spaniel growls when his owner tries to lift him into a bath to wash him. He never growls when the dog groomer does this. What’s going on, and what should the owner do? From Aine
  3. A nine year old dog dislocated her hip. She is walking fine now and the vet says an operation is not needed but the owner. From Helena
  4. How long is it OK to leave a dog alone for during the day? I know a dog that is left alone for 13 hours.
  5. We have two male and two female rescue cats. The male cats can’t get enough of licking coal. Why do they do this? Is there a nutrient that they could be missing?
  6. We have just got a lovely kitten but our two Jack Russells are terrified of it. What can we do?
  7. I bought my Jack Russell pup a coat yesterday but she hates it, trying to bite it off. Any suggestions for getting her used to the coat? From Angela in Clonmel
  8. Where would you recommend starting to look for a pet dog for a family?

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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