CAN LABRADORS SLEEP OUTSIDE?
Your Labrador's sleep plays a vital role in their health and wellbeing. This is because, just like humans, dogs use their resting phases to recharge their batteries, strengthen their immune system, and assimilate learning. The Labrador is a very loyal breed that likes to be close to its family, but can also sleep perfectly well outside in a kennel. However, to make sure your pooch is happy and comfortable outdoors, it’s essential to take the time to research and choose the ideal kennel.
What Size Kennel Should My Labrador Have?
Don’t just buy the first kennel you see; the kennel should be perfectly proportionate to the size of your Labrador, to ensure good quality sleep. A small dog kennel will not suit a large dog like the Lab, but it's also unnecessary to opt for a kennel that's too big. Since kennels don’t have heating, dogs use their body heat for warmth. The more space there is to be heated, the more difficult it will be to keep warm. In general, we advise that your dog's kennel should be about ten centimetres higher than their standing height. Your Labrador should be able to stand up and turn around without touching the walls. There are several sizes of kennel available on the market, ranging from S to XXL, for giant breed dogs. For the Labrador, an L or XL kennel should do the trick, depending on your dog's weight and size. If you can't find what you're looking for, and you’re a dab hand at DIY, why not build a kennel yourself!
What's the Best Material for an Outdoor Kennel?
Dog kennels are usually made of either plastic or wood, and each material has its pros and cons. Plastic kennels have the advantage of being more affordable, lightweight, easy to clean, and more easily transportable. However, they also have a huge disadvantage: plastic provides poor insulation, so your dog may be too hot in summer and too cold in winter. And high temperatures can be very dangerous for your Labrador’s health. On the other hand, wooden kennels are more expensive but also much sturdier and offer better insulation both from the cold and the heat. You can improve the insulation of your dog’s kennel by placing it on a pillory or concrete slab to elevate it slightly from the ground.
If you live in a dry area, choose a kennel with a flat roof. Dogs like to settle on the roof to observe their territory. If you live in an area with a lot of rainfall, however, opt for a kennel with a sloped roof. This prevents water from stagnating and damaging the kennel.
Where Should I Put My Labrador's Kennel?
Try to place your Lab’s kennel in a strategic location, not too isolated, where your dog can observe their territory unobstructed. Ideally, the kennel should also be sheltered from bad weather and wind. In summer, move your dog’s kennel into the shade if you can. Above all, never tie your dog up in front of their kennel! Your Labrador must be able to come and go as they please. If the kennel has a door, it must be easily accessible and never locked or blocked. Feel free to put some blankets or cushions inside the kennel for added comfort, as well as a bowl of fresh water nearby at all times so your dog can quench their thirst when needed.
The Labrador does not have a natural guard dog temperament but will intervene if they deem it necessary. As such, make sure your garden is safe and secure to avoid any risk of your pup escaping! Additionally, Labrador Retrievers are active dogs that need to be stimulated and exercised regularly. Provide enough games and activities to allow your dog to exercise at will. This is essential for maintaining your Lab’s physical form and also prevents them from developing problematic behaviours.
Can Labradors Sleep Inside?
Your Lab will have no problem sleeping indoors with you if you prefer. Quite the contrary! And, if you live in an apartment with your Labrador, they’ll have no choice! Labradors have a loyal temperament and develop a close bond with their owners, whom they love to be close to. If you buy a dog bed or basket for your Lab, choose one that is perfectly suited to their size. Pay attention to the choice of material. If your dog has destructive tendencies, avoid fabric or leather dog beds and opt for plastic instead. Avoid wicker baskets, which pose a risk of ingestion if broken or destroyed.
Create a sleeping area for your dog in a quiet area, somewhere out of the way, which is airy and well ventilated. Your Labrador should be able to rest there without fear of being disturbed. If you have children, teach them to respect your dog's sleeping habits. Be careful to establish boundaries with your pup early on! Many dog owners wonder if they can share their bed with their Labrador Retriever. According to a 2017 study by an American nonprofit, Mayo Clinic, while allowing your dog to sleep in your bedroom can improve the quality of your sleep, having them on the bed with you is not a good idea. Their size is likely to bother you during the night, not to mention the fact that this habit can destabilise the family hierarchy and even lead to your dog developing separation anxiety.
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