Skip to Content

Is it OK to Keep A Dog Outside in the Yard?

Short answer: Yes, depending on the individual dog, the environment and other circumstances.

That being said, my own dog is a pampered, indoor boy who only goes outside if I’m out with him.

Personally, I will always want my dogs allowed in the house. I wouldn’t want Ace to live outside. He loves being by his family, and he’d get cold outside at night, even in San Diego.

On the other hand, I know some dogs who live outside and they are loved, well cared for and happy dogs.

I work as a pet sitter, and when I lived in North Dakota I took care of dogs that stayed in the garage year-round with a small heater and access to a yard. They were happy and loved.

I also have relatives who keep their dogs outside. The dogs have shelter in their dog house, plenty of food and interaction. They get to run free every day of their lives on a large property, and their job is to offer a bit of protection or at least an alert system. They are loved family members.

Ace the black Lab - Is it OK to keep a dog outside

I know at least a few of my blog readers have working dogs that sleep outside in the barn at night protecting the other animals. That is part of their work, and the dogs are happy to do it.

In San Diego County where I live, it is common for dogs to be kept outside due to the mild climate. Heck, some of the shelters I’ve volunteered with keep the dogs outside, with covered shelter and blankets of course. It’s better for the dogs as the barking doesn’t bounce off the walls as much as it would indoors, and the dogs get more natural light and a fresh breeze.

Sure, some outdoor dogs are neglected just as some indoor dogs are neglected.

And most outdoor dogs would probably prefer to come inside just as many inside dogs would prefer to be out of their little crates.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a believer in crates, but which dog really has it rough, the dog outside or the dog left in a crate? (Depends on the situation.)

Some rescue groups will not adopt out dogs to outdoor homes, and that is their choice. I do think most dogs are better off as indoor pets, but my stance on this is that rescue groups should not be so picky when we’re still killing around 2 million healthy dogs annually in U.S. shelters.

You can let me know what you think in the comments, but as far as my own dogs go, they will always be inside at least part of the time unless they prefer to be outdoors. I want my dogs to be resting at my feet, a part of the family, at the center of my life.

What do you think?

Do you think it’s OK to keep a dog outside in the yard?

Related blog posts:

Dogs don’t need a fenced yard
How do you define a good home?

Also, sign up for That Mutt’s newsletter here.

Kansas Woman Falls Through Ice - Would You Risk Your Life for a Dog?
How to Stop A Dog From Begging for His Own Food Before Meals