CAN MY GERMAN SHEPHERD SLEEP OUTSIDE?
Thanks to their high-quality coat and thick undercoat, German Shepherds can sleep outside quite happily, provided, of course, that temperatures aren't too cold and they have adequate shelter. Discover our complete guide for choosing the ideal kennel for your German Shepherd.
What Size Kennel Should My German Shepherd Dog Have?
The ideal dimensions for a German Shepherd's kennel should be perfectly proportionate to the size of your dog: neither too big nor too small. A small dog kennel will not suit a large dog and vice versa. In any case, bigger doesn't always mean better; it's quite unnecessary to opt for a kennel that's too large for your German Shepherd. Dogs like to feel surrounded and protected. Additionally, since kennels don’t have heating, your German Shepherd will warm it up with their own body heat. The more space around them, the more difficult it will be to keep warm.
Ideally, your dog's kennel should be about ten centimetres higher than their standing height and never more than sixty centimetres higher. Your German Shepherd should be able to stand up and turn around without touching the walls. The kennel should be twice the length of your dog, measured from nose to tail.
What's the Best Material for an Outdoor Kennel?
Most of the kennels on the market are made of plastic or wood. Each material has its pros and cons:
Plastic kennels have the advantage of being lighter, easy to clean, more easily transportable, and also much less expensive. However, they are not so well insulated nor robust and can deteriorate quickly. This means that your dog may be too hot in summer and too cold in winter.
Wooden kennels are more expensive but offer better insulation both from the cold and the heat. They are also much sturdier and constitute a better investment in the long term. Wooden kennels also require more maintenance.
Kennels with flat roofs are very popular with dogs, who generally enjoy lying down on top and using it as an observation point to survey their territory. Unfortunately, these are not suitable for rainy climates because they retain water, which can stagnate and damage the kennel. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, opt for a kennel with a sloped roof.
You can also place the kennel on a pillory or a concrete slab to elevate it slightly from the ground and improve insulation. It will also help protect your dog against parasites and insects. Do not tie your German Shepherd up in front of their kennel: your dog must be able to move around freely and protect themselves from the elements if necessary. Your German Shepherd's health depends on it!
Finally, it is possible to build a kennel yourself, but this will require a lot of hard work and research unless you're already a DIY whiz! However, this solution does have the advantage of being more affordable.
Where Should I Put My German Shepherd's Kennel?
Place the kennel in a strategic location, where your dog can observe their territory unobstructed. Avoid putting it too close to the fence: although German Shepherds are not usually the type to run away, they could climb on top of their kennel and jump over a fence if they see something exciting out beyond.
Try to place your dog's kennel in a sheltered corner of your garden, where it will be protected from wind and rain, facing south if possible. During the summer, move it into the shade to protect it from the heat. Remember to always keep a bowl of fresh water nearby, no matter what. In winter, if temperatures get really low, bring your dog inside.
Can German Shepherds Sleep Inside?
Of course, German Shepherds can absolutely sleep inside your house, too. Like all loyal dogs, German Shepherds develop a close bond with their family, and will greatly enjoy sharing in this part of your life. But be careful not to give your dog too much freedom either. Try to avoid having your German Shepherd's bed in your bedroom. Instead, opt for somewhere like the living room. Choose a quiet area, out of the way, which is airy and well ventilated.
Buy your pooch a dog bed proportionate to their size. When lying down, the edges should just touch your dog on all sides, so that they feel safe and secure but not cramped. Opt for a plastic dog bed, which is stronger, especially if your dog tends to chew things, and line it with cushions and blankets. You can also find dog baskets in fabric, leather, or wicker. Your German Shepherd could also be happy sleeping on a large pillow, a small mattress, or even a small dog sofa.
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