A dog sitting in the grass

How Long Can You Keep Your Dog Outside?

Dogs get so excited when they see you reaching for their leash when you open the door to the yard because they know they’re going to enjoy some sunshine and fresh air soon. Dogs have innumerable insects to sniff out, squirrels to run after, and stinky piles of mud to roll in.

While dogs love being outdoors, it’s best to keep them indoors during bedtime so that they can spend some time with the family. If you’re wondering about how long your dog can stay safe outdoors, the answer might be a bit complicated. Every dog is different, and each one has its own needs based on its health, age, and breed. Here’s all you need to know:

Small dogs

You can find dogs in various breeds and sizes, but these factors have a significant impact on the amount of time that they can spend outdoors, especially in extreme weather conditions. Larger dogs might be able to enjoy their time outdoors for longer periods when it’s cold compared to their hairless or single-coated small counterparts, who prefer to spend more time in the great outdoors when it’s warm and sunny.

Smaller dogs run the risk of developing frostbite and hypothermia rather quickly in cold weather. This applies to breeds like the Chinese Crested, Maltese, and Chihuahua. Outdoor outings in temperatures above 90ºF and below 32ºF should be no longer than 15 minutes.

Big dogs

Medium and large dogs such as the Bernese Mountain Dog and Siberian Husky thrive in cold temperatures due to their thick coats. They can stay outdoors for longer in extremely low temperatures, usually up to an hour.

The long hair on the outer layer of their coats protects them from ice and snow, while the soft undercoat keeps them dry and warm. While they can shed the undercoat in the summers to stay cool, it’s best not to leave them out for too long in high temperatures.

A black dog

Health and age

The choice to leave a dog outside is a personalized one, and there’s no specific rule that dog owners need to follow. It’s recommended to keep young puppies who are less than eight weeks old out of the extreme weather since they can’t regulate the temperature of their bodies as easily. The same goes for elderly or sick dogs who shouldn’t spend too much time outside without supervision.

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