German Shepherds are great outdoors pets that love to explore nature and play in wide-open expanses.
However, can german shepherds live outside?
Many pet owners might be wondering whether they can safely leave their pets outside. There are many potential factors to consider with this decision.
This includes wild animals, weather, bugs, and general dangers that occur when a pet is left alone.
So, I’ll do my best to answer this question in full detail for you. In general, most dogs like to stay indoors with their owners.
Living inside helps to build security and trust between you and your German Shepherd. And it is much more comfortable for a dog to stay inside with an owner and their family.
However, there are some cases where a pet owner might need to leave their dog outside.
I’ll talk about what weather conditions your dog can handle, and whether you should let your dog live outside fully.
Can German Shepherds Live Outside?
German shepherds are hardy dogs that can withstand many different weather conditions.
Still, even though your dog can handle outdoor weather, this does not mean that you can leave them outside all the time.
Of course, german shepherds are big and they shed all year. So, you might want to leave them outside occasionally to keep your house less messy. This is understandable even.
But, on the whole, I would not suggest that you let your german shepherd live outside year-round.
It can seem more convenient to let your pet live outside, but your dog needs to live inside with you most of the time.
There are many reasons why this is the case. Chiefly, though, German Shepherds are social pets that like to have a lot of attention and love.
Leaving your dog outside to live deprives them of crucial emotional and physical support that they get from living inside.
You might worry that your dog will destroy your house if you leave them indoors. But, if you train your pet well they should be able to live with you inside.
Thus, in short, I recommend that you let your dog stay indoors with you if you can. There are times when you can let your dog briefly live outside, of course.
But really your dog is a part of your family and should be indoors with you!
As I mentioned earlier, German Shepherds love being outside. These dogs have lots of energy and are super curious about their surroundings.
But on their own, they could get into trouble.
In addition, some outdoor weather conditions may be too extreme for them. I’ll discuss this more throughout the rest of the post.
At What Age Can A German Shepherd Live Outside?
If you are planning to let your dog live outside, though, what is an appropriate age to leave your dog outdoors?
Puppies need a lot of care and attention. In general, I would not suggest letting them live outside full time.
This could even be dangerous for them. But, once your dog is at least four months old you can let them stay outside for short stretches of time.
This will help acclimate your dog to the outdoors. You want to go about this process slowly, and let your dog get used to the outdoors.
Never force your dog to stay out longer than they want to. And, if your pet is still young try to keep their needs in mind.
In other words:
If you plan on letting your dog live outdoors, make sure they are four months or older. I would recommend waiting till they are at least six months.
But this is up to you.
Ultimately, the older your dog is the better equipped your pet will be to live outside.
And remember, puppies bond the most with you when they are young.
So, it is better to keep them inside this way you can socialize and train them with your full attention. In other words, this is a crucial time in your dog’s life.
They will benefit the most from staying inside with their owners when they are young. But, this choice is ultimately up to you.
Can German Shepherds Live Outside In The Winter?
German Shepherds, as you would expect, can handle cold weather quite well. With their thick coat, they can even sleep outside in the winter season.
Again, you want to keep outdoor living to a minimum with your German Shepherd. But if you have to keep your dog outside they can survive in certain winter weather conditions.
You just have to be mindful of the weather and how long you keep your dog outdoors.
But why do German Shepherds do so well in cold weather?
Part of this has to do with the German Shepherds coat. The German Shepherd has a double coat that not only protects them from the cold, but also from moisture.
With their thick coat, your dog will be able to repel some water and light flurries. But, once the weather gets more extreme, I suggest bringing your dog indoors.
Your dog can handle very cold weather, but once it starts hitting a certain temperature your pet will need to come inside. For instance, try not to leave your pet in sub-zero weather.
German Shepherds can handle weather below zero degrees but if it has been snowing and they are wet, this could end up leading to hypothermia.
And you might even end up killing your dog. On the same note, make sure that your dog is not out in winter storms.
Blizzards and large snow showers can make your dog cold and wet. Again, this could lead to hypothermia and death.
The best thing you can do is check the weather ahead of time. This way you know the exact conditions.
Ice is also something else to worry about. Your dog can slip and fall, especially if you have any concrete on your property that ices up.
Lastly, if you notice that your dog is not moving around a lot or seems unwell, bring them inside.
It’s not worth it to have your dog get sick just because you don’t want them in your house.
Instead, keep your dog healthy and happy by letting them live inside with you.
Can German Shepherds Live Outside In The Summer?
German Shepherds can handle cold weather well, but can they handle hot weather?
To answer this question shortly, your dog can live in heat.
But like winter weather, you need to make sure that you are not leaving your dog in overly extreme conditions.
While cold weather will leave your dog potentially hypothermic, hot weather can cause heat strokes. This is equally dangerous for your pet.
At mild temperatures, it is fine to keep a German Shepherd outside. Once it starts to get a lot hotter though, make sure your dog is inside.
I would say that once the temperature starts hitting over eighty degrees it might be time to bring your dog in.
This can seem like a low number, but remember your dog has a lot of fur in its coat. And, if they have been moving around a lot they could get dehydrated and get a heat stroke.
Humidity is also something else you need to consider. When it is more humid the air can feel a lot hotter to your dog. This could result in heatstroke, as well.
To prevent this issue, though, you can provide shade for your pet. Dog houses are a good solution, and if there are large trees on your property this can serve as shade for a German Shepherd.
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However, make sure that your dog’s shaded area is not located on concrete. Concrete actually retains a lot of heat and this can make your dog overheat during summer.
In addition, you always want to make sure that your pet has water available. Dehydration and heat are a recipe for disaster.
If your dog does not have enough water they could end up getting a heat stroke fast.
So, you want to watch out for your dog. If they seem like they are panting a lot or they don’t seem to be moving around a lot, it’s probably time to bring your German Shepherd inside.
It could be more convenient to keep your pet outdoors. Especially when dogs shed in the summer.
But you don’t want your German Shepherd to suffer or get sick in the heat.
What Are The Dangers of Keeping Your Dog Outdoors to Live?
There are many potential dangers that your dog could face while living outside. Of course, extreme cold and heat could be harmful to your dog.
But there are other outdoor conditions that you need to worry about. In particular, wild animals could pose a threat to your pet.
You might be thinking that your dog might attack other animals. But it is possible that your German Shepherd could get attacked when they live outside.
No pet owner wants their pet to get attacked. So consider this danger before you let your German Shepherd stay outdoors.
Groundhogs are one potential threat to your Shepherd. They could end up attacking your dog if they come in contact with them.
Groundhogs might seem harmless, but they are actually highly territorial animals. If they spot your dog, they might claw and bite them.
Another animal your pet might need to worry about is skunks. Skunks are usually harmless but they might spray your dog.
And if your Shepherd gets too close the skunk could attack.
Squirrels and raccoons can also make a home in your backyard and put your pet in danger. Your dog will be able to protect itself from these animals.
But raccoons and squirrels, in particular, can carry rabies, Lyme disease, and other types of bacterias. You don’t want your dog to get infected or sick.
So this is why I usually recommend keeping your dogs indoors at night.
Of course, you can make sure that your yard is free of any wild animals. But you never know when a critter might pop up on your property and get into a fight with your German Shepherd.
Other animals that are more dangerous could also get to your dog. So you want to keep this in mind.
What Preparations Should You Make For Your Dog?
If you are planning on leaving your dog outside, you need to make some preparations for them. First off, ensure that you have a fence in your backyard.
Since German Shepherds are large dogs, you will need a tall fence that they won’t be able to climb or jump over.
You might think that your dog will never try to escape.
But if you leave your dog outside long enough they could end up getting bored and might try to hop your fence.
Especially if they see another animal or person. So, make sure your fence is sturdy and large enough!
You don’t want your dog to get lost or killed when they wander off your property.
Once you have that setup, think about how you will schedule your dog’s day. German Shepherds don’t have the longest attention span.
So, if you keep them unoccupied and alone for long stretches of time they mind end up destroying your backyard and digging holes everywhere.
Your dog does not mean to be destructive, but they need to stay stimulated and active. Otherwise, they will wreak havoc.
You want to play with your dog often and make sure they are getting enough exercise and love. This way they won’t completely ruin your backyard.
Your German Shepherd is a part of your family now. So don’t neglect them by leaving them outside all the time with no attention.
Neglected dogs live shorter lives and end up with more health complications. Other considerations to make include putting away dangerous equipment and tools.
These dogs can get curious and end up hurting themselves if your leave sharp and pointy tools laying around.
Other potential outdoor dangers should be managed, as well. Tree branches that are hanging loose and ready to fall should be cut.
This way they do not fall on your dog and hurt them when they are outside.
What Else Can You Do to Make Your Dog Comfortable Outside and Keep Them Healthy and Happy?
Spending a lot of time with your dog outside can make them more comfortable living outside. Again, dogs are not just animals, they are family members.
And being alone can worsen their behavior and make them more aggressive even. So make sure to pay attention to them if you are letting them live outside.
Play fetch with your dog and even eat outside with them to give them company.
Really, though, keeping your dog out in the summer can be a big challenge. I talked about some of the challenges of leaving a dog in hot weather.
It is not advisable to leave a dog in extremely hot weather. But if you can groom your dog and get rid of some of their fur, being outside can be a more bearable experience.
So, in addition to getting them a dog house, I also recommend keeping their fur trimmed and tidy.
Brush your dog as often as you can to get rid of excess hair on them.
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Also, check your pet for any type of bugs. Leaving your dog outside can result in ticks, fleas, and other bugs attaching to their skin.
A bath can also help with this issue. Baths are a nice way to bond with your dog and keep them clean.
The outdoors can make your dog muddy and stinky, so bathing your dog regularly might be necessary for German Shepherds who are living outside.
Getting flea and tick protection medicine might also be beneficial. This way your pet does not get bitten by bugs, or bring bugs into your home.
You might be wondering whether German Shepherds can live outside. I talked about this question in detail here.
German Shepherds are definitely outdoors dogs.
They love racing around outside and exploring every nook and cranny of your property. Still, this does not mean that you should leave your pet outside all the time.
German Shepherds can live outside when the weather is not extreme. But, there are some downsides to consider.
This includes wild animals, extreme weather, and other natural and natural sources of danger.
Pets can make a mess in your home, but really they are better off living inside your home year-round. This doesn’t mean that you can never let your dog sleep outside.
But it does mean that you should consider letting your pet live indoors with you most of the time. This will help them grow emotionally and physically healthy.
In addition, pets love to have your attention on them as they live inside. But, the choice is up to you.
As long as you watch the weather and prepare your backyard, your German Shepherd can live outside.