Dogs in Winter?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by pcwerk, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi gang,
    As winter approaches I'm wondering what we're going to do with
    our dogs? We currently have 2 Labs and something called a Plott
    Hound (she's real cute but not a lot of fur!). Dw and I will be working
    full time, and on varying shifts, so when temps get below zero it may
    become a big hassle. (Btw, we will be in Minnesota so it can get VERY
    cold!)
    They are all indoor/outdoor dogs (mostly indoor) so I'm thinking of
    getting a "dog door" to let them in and out through the kitchen, but
    I'm wondering if that will cause us all to freeze in the house! I could
    put one in the back garage door I guess and let them hang out in the
    garage all day... We already have bats in the garage (I know, I know)
    and I'm thinking there could be all kinds of critters trying to get in
    through these dog doors. What do ya'll do with your dogs in winter?
    TAOT,
    james
     
  2. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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  3. GoldenMom

    GoldenMom Well-Known Member

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    I'd LOVE to have one of those doors, too bad they're so expensive!

    How long are you gone during the day? An adult dog should be able to hold it indoors 8 hours no problem. Otherwise if you give them a well-insulated house with plenty of bedding they will probably do OK (though I'm sure they'd rather be indoors).
     
  4. Helena

    Helena Well-Known Member

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    Our dogs stay inside at night and during the very cold days use the basement with the wood stove or the laundry room. In fact, whenever I leave home in the summer or winter or rotti comes into the house and the other 3 dogs..german shepherd and 2 beagle mix..stay in their dogs houses with straw. If it really cold they do come in the house.
    When I am home they are in and out all during the day. They should be fine in a good dog house with the straw.
     
  5. frazzlehead

    frazzlehead AppleJackCreek Supporter

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    I knew a man who built an 'airlock dog door' on his house: he explained it this way ...

    On the inside of the house, there is a regular dog door flap type thing. THat doesn't go directly outside, though, but to a tunnel (just a wood tunnel type thing) which led to outside, and had another dog door at the other end. The length of the tunnel kept the drafts from all coming in the house.

    As for critters ... I plan to have a dog door that leads onto a gravelled chain link fenced dog run outside for my doggie (he's not to be trusted loose, so he has to go to a dog run!). I figure the gravel combined with the chain link should help keep unwanted critters out - mice prefer grass to gravel, although it's not a sure thing, but at least cats etc can't get in unless they can get under/through the fence (it's got a shade cover).

    Now that I think of it, maybe I should plan to build one of these airlocks on my dog run too. Hmmm! You got me thinking! :)
     
  6. canfossi

    canfossi Well-Known Member

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    I would train the dogs to hold it and stay inside. A cold winter's day is no fun for a dog to be outside. Maybe you can have a neighbour let them out halfway through the day. Hope this helps. Chris
     
  7. mzzlisa

    mzzlisa Well-Known Member

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    My dogs stay outside during the day and my husband built a nice dog house with a heat lamp inside. They stay pretty warm that way. We put a 500 watt lamp in there in the winter. A bit of a strain on the electric bill, but the dogs are worth it!
     
  8. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    Love that dog door but mine would stand there half in, half out for much of the day. That is what they try to do now when I let them in and out - they stand in the door looking to see if they really want to go out. Spoiled brats! When DH and I both worked, dogs would occasionally be on their own for 12 hrs. Accidents happened more often at night than during the day. We had hardwood floors all through the house though so even if it happened, it wasn't a disaster.
     
  9. lovescanines

    lovescanines Active Member

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    I don't keep the dogs outside when it hits freezing. Even if they are acclimated to outdoors, they still shouldn't be out in anything under about 19 degrees. That is the *killing* temp for most wildlife, so I follow that rule for the dogs.

    You don't save $ by leaving the dogs outside...cold is very hard on their bodies, just as it would be on yours...and as they age, the arthritis and vet bills will be substantial. I do glucosamine supplements in the winter, as well as increase their food quantities to help them deal with the weather.

    I like the heat lamp idea... if you can build a small kennel shed for them and the heat lamp is very high up, or has a good shield over it, like wire, so they won't get burned accidentally.

    I consider bats to be useful insect eaters and pollinators...have you thought about building some bat houses outside? Bathouse Builder's Handbook is a good one.

    I personally would not go with a cheap pet door...they leak air, and as you mention, let other critters inside.

    So, no chance of building a small shed outside to house the dogs? If not, how about a lean-to, with high end dog IGLOOS underneath, stuffed with straw? Some of those igloos are quite well-insulated.
     
  10. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Okay, donning my flame suit here. . .

    My dogs live outside. OUTSIDE all year long. As dogs have done for centuries in all types of climates. They do have houses that we put lots and lots of straw in once the weather gets cold (like now) and we try to situate the houses so that the doorways are not in line with the prevailing cold winds.

    My dogs do fine. In super cold weather (like windchills in the minus range, say -10 or colder) we do let them sleep in the unheated garage where the wind is better blocked. I also feed them higher fat dog foot in the winter.

    They do fine. Think of all the sled dogs in Alaska that are not inside dogs. I bet it gets way colder in Alaska than it does in MN or here in MI.

    They are better adapted for the cold spells if they live outside all the time than if they are inside/outside dogs and do not grow as heavy a coat of fur.
     
  11. heather

    heather Well-Known Member

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    Not flaming you, BUT......

    Not all dogs are built like sled dogs -
    Not all dogs have lived outside for centuries either -
    Some were specifically bred to be inside dogs.

    It depends what kind of dog you have, what their needs are.
     
  12. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    :flame: :flame: :flame:

    Just kidding!!

    I tend to think like you Kris.
     
  13. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

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    I have a Ruff Weather dog door. It's 17" high by about 10 " wide. What's great about it is that it has double flaps. One on the inside & one on the outside. It's got weatherstripping around the frame on both doors.

    It was expensive, but I bet someone could make one with maybe car mudflaps. (they're thick, are they pliable?) One I had, had little magnets on the bottom to keep it closed.

    I've never had an unwanted animal come in through the door in all the years and houses I've had. :viking:

    In the winter & wet, muddy weather, my three are kitchen dogs. They're real sissies. Yes, I know, I did it.
     
  14. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    I also keep my German Shepherd outside all year long. She has never been in the house. She has a nice tight doghouse loaded up with straw and a 100 watt livestock heating pad in the bottom.

    She has never had a problem. When my dog is outside romping around when it is – 10 F I know she isn’t cold. If the dog were cold she would seek out a warm place (the doghouse) and try to stay out of the cold. She would rather charge around with her nose in the snow trying to catch birds and mice.

    I pack the doghouse full of loose straw, (she makes a cave in the straw) and cover the house with a huge hump of straw. I have a board angled over the entrance so that the wind can’t blow in, and this board is also covered with straw. I’ve crawled in myself in the winter to see how warm it was, and I’m convince if I were wearing a fur coat I would be comfortable sleeping in there at – 10 F.

    My dog is needed for security. It doesn’t do me any good to lock the dog in my house while my truck or shop is being broken into.

    Pete
     
  15. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    One possible alternative to heat bulbs or ceramic heat emitters are radiant heat panels. They are popular with the bird community and reptile people are starting to catch on to them. I've been running the same panel in one of my enclosures, controlled by a thermostat for three years continuously with zero problems. The units throw a good amount of heat (depending on size/wattage), do not get hot enough to immediately burn when touched and seem to be able to go on forever. When running at full capacity it is entirely possible to lay your hand palm down on the heating surface without immediate injury. www.enerjoy.com will give an idea of units for actual residential application but the company at one point made them in smaller 150w panels closer to 13"x20" sizes.
     
  16. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

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    Uh...ok :confused:

    Soooo.....since it gets down to -20 here sometimes, and stays around 0 for most of January , shouldnt that mean that all wildlife gets killed off here every winter? Heck, my chickens should have all been dead last winter then.

    I dont think anyone is advocating leaving a dog out unprotected in cold weather with no shelter.
     
  17. DW

    DW plains of Colorado Supporter

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    Ours stay out, too. They are lab/shepherd mix BUT when it gets to zero at night we have a heater that comes on and blows into their fully insulated carpeted floor house.
     
  18. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When we had a dog on the farm, it lived outside all winter. If it was below zero, we would lock them in the barn with the cattle, but they _hated_ that. Mostly lived in a wooden barrel with straw in it. They seemed to thrive. Here in Minnesota, where winter is winter. :)

    However, I would not do that to a dog that is inside the house some of the time. They get aclimated to the cold, grow longer coats & such. A part-indoor dog would not do well.

    I would not do the dog flap door into the house. Into the garage, sure. But not the house. You will freeze to death yourself.... ;)

    You can make a dog house with a heat lamp or heating pad deal if you want to leave them out for longer periods.

    --->Paul
     
  19. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is a cool dogdoor! But, yeah a little too pricey (I won't show it to DW
    or she will want it ;-) Thanks to all for the suggestions. I'm thinking of
    putting a $99. dogdoor in the garage and hope they will take care of the
    critters. And hope they can hold it from time to time. Two of the three (we
    just adopted the Plott hound) never have accidents within 8 hours for sure.
    Thanks again!
    james
     
  20. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

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    "I consider bats to be useful insect eaters and pollinators...have you thought about building some bat houses outside? Bathouse Builder's Handbook is a good one."

    I'll check into the bat houses. They may be too spoiled to go for the outdoor
    houses though ;-) Btw, DW would not let me leave the dogs out in those temps either...afterall, two of them are sissified Southern dogs!

    james