There are two kinds of dogs: those that spend most of their time indoors and those that spend most of their time outdoors. If you have the latter, in particular, you’re going to want to spend some time investing in their open-air comfort and security.
After all, an indoor dog is as safe as you are. They spend most of their time behind closed doors in a warm, controlled space. This isn’t the case for dogs that spend the majority of their lives in the great outdoors. Temperature fluctuations, wild and stray animals, and a natural penchant for curiosity in large uncontained spaces can pose numerous problems.
If you’re planning on keeping (or already keep) a dog outdoors, here are some tips and suggestions to help ensure that your four-legged friend remains as safe and cozy as possible.
Create a safe space: Build a dog house
One of the greatest comforts you can provide for an outdoor dog is a dog house that they can call their own. There are multiple ways you can go about this including:
- Purchasing a predesigned dog house: You can get a predesigned home for your pup at a local pet store or even order it online. This option can be more expensive, but it cuts out most of the sweat equity involved. Some plastic molded dog houses, for instance, can literally be ordered in a few seconds and assembled in minutes!
- Building a dog house yourself: This frees you up to be either elaborate in your designs or minimalistic in order to keep the costs down. There are many free plans online that offer a variety of different dog house options. Just make sure that you choose a design that is the right size for your pooch once they’re fully grown. Dogs are den animals, so their dog houses should be fairly small, typically around 25% taller and longer than the animal
As you go about building or buying your dog house, remember that this is a normal cost of having a dog that spends most of its time outdoors. If you’re going to commit to raising an animal, it’s important to provide them with a safe, secure space that they can make their own.
If you live in an area with cold temperatures, it’s critical to provide your pup with a winter dog house to protect him from frigid winds, ice, and snow.
A good dog house gives your animal a place of respite. If they show signs of fearfulness as fireworks light up the sky on the 4th of July, for instance, having a dog house will give them a place to retreat to and hole up in until the loud noises cease.
Create a big space: Make a run
Along with a good dog house, it’s important to provide your furry friend with a way to properly stretch their legs. While taking your dog for walks should be a regular occurrence, providing a dog run or even opening up the entire yard for them to play in is also a good idea.
One way to do this is by building a chain link kennel. While it requires a bit of investment, a chain link kennel is an excellent way to keep your dog safe from any unwanted visitors. In other words, while a dog house allows your pup to rest at ease, a strong chain link kennel allows you to do so as well.
If you don’t like the idea of a giant fenced-in box in your backyard, you can also use metal or wood fencing, although you’ll want to make sure your dog can’t jump out. In addition, if your dog is small, you want to ensure that they can’t be carried off by any larger birds of prey.
Another option is to set up a pet containment system — commonly known as a dog fence. This avoids a lot of the grunt work associated with creating a run. Some pet containment systems require a wire that is buried in your yard, but there are modern wireless systems that can easily be set up and run from within your house as well.
However, you choose to go about it, setting up a dog fence can open up your entire yard for canine adventures. It gives them room to run and can provide easier access to shady places to rest. If you go this route, though, make sure that your yard is dog-friendly and stripped of any toxic plants or grasses.
Create a clean space: Set up a wash station
Finally, you may want to consider setting up an outdoor dog washing station while you’re doing your canine-inspired renovations. There are many ways to incorporate a washing station into your outdoor setup. You can use:
- An old bathtub.
- A kiddie pool.
- A small fenced-in area.
- PVC piping with holes.
Bathing your dog outside is a great way to avoid having a wet animal soaking your house on a regular basis and can help keep your drains from getting clogged with dog hair as well.
Setting up an outdoor paradise
If you’re going to leave your dog outside, it’s important that you equip them with everything they need to be comfortable and safe. A dog house provides a sense of security, a run or dog fence helps your dog stretch their legs and exercise, and a wash station allows you to keep them clean without tracking all of that outdoor filth into the house.
If you can set up these three items in your backyard, you’ll be able to keep your pooch happy and healthy for years to come.
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