Can Labrador Retrievers Live Outside? (Pros & Cons)
Whether you have a small apartment, condo, or home with limited outdoor access, keeping your Lab happy and safe is important. This leads to homeowners asking the question of whether labs can live outside.
We don’t recommend Labrador Retrievers if you prefer an outside dog. While they can be independent, they tend to create an extremely strong bond with their owner and family.
Labs also have a higher likelihood of developing allergies and more health risks compared to other dog breeds of their size. This can be an issue if they live outside and cause an increased risk of potential health problems.
Pros of a Labrador Retriever Living Outside
Despite not being the best outdoor dogs, there are still some benefits of a Labrador Retriever living outside. We have listed a few pros you should keep in mind below.
Allowing your Labrador Retriever to live outside gives them more chances for exercise outdoors. This is especially true during summer months or in warmer climates because the better weather is the optimal time.
When you allow your dog to live outside in the summer months, you give them more chances for exercise outdoors and prevent them from becoming destructive or bored in the house.
Labs are happier when they have plenty of toys, space, and love. They enjoy being outdoors and playing with other dogs which can be a primary benefit of allowing them to live outside.
If your Labrador Retriever has an outdoor dog house, they will have a place to relax or sleep when they can’t come inside. Even if you live in a climate that doesn’t get super cold, an outdoor house can still be used in the summer to give your dog some shade.
Less Shedding Indoors
Finally, a reason to allow your Labrador Retriever to live outside is because it reduces the amount of shedding and fur in the house. This is especially beneficial to families with allergies in the house.
Cons of a Labrador Retriever Living Outside
As mentioned, Labrador retrievers would not be the number one recommended breed for outdoor living. Below are some of the cons worth considering before allowing your lab to live outside.
Poor Social Skills
Allowing a Labrador to live outside can damage their social skills or their ability to become social animals. This is typically a breed that embraces their social nature, but living alone outside could hinder that ability.
Increased Risk For Health Problems
Labradors are generally healthy dogs that do not need much in the way of medical care. But they tend to have a greater risk for allergies.
When a lab lives outdoors, the health risks only increase. This can be due to potential allergy exposures, poor weather, or other animals around your home that could potentially harm your dog.
Lack Of Trust
Allowing your Labrador to live outside presents a risk towards the relationship between the owner and the dog. It can create a lack of trust because there is less bonding together.
If you decide to make this change later in the dogs’ life, they could also feel neglected which can result in them losing trust around you too.
Tips for Letting Labrador Retrievers Live Outside Safely
Labrador Retrievers are typically friendly and social dogs, so there are some tips to consider if you decide to give them more freedom to live outside.
Place The Dog House In A Shaded Area
You’ll want to make sure that your Lab’s outdoor dog house is in a shaded area. This will help keep them cool in the summer, and it will also protect them from the sun.
Treat this the same you would treat an indoor bedding area. It is your dog's personal space, and it should be comfortable and private for them to enjoy.
Monitor Weather Conditions Regularly
Allowing a Labrador to live outside can work, but only if you monitor the weather conditions regularly. For example, they should not live outdoors during extremely cold winters or during rainy storms.
Spend More Time With Them When You Can
Because your lab now lives outside, finding more time to spend with them is critical to make sure the relationship and bond between you as the owner and your dog remains strong.
How To Prepare For Labrador Retrievers To Live Outside
Keeping your Labrador Retriever safe and comfortable during the warmer summer or cold winter nights can be challenging if they don’t have an indoor place to go.
Whether you build your own dog house or buy a pre-made one, you’ll want to ensure it’s in a safe place that is shaded and out of the way. These are the two common options so your dog has a home outdoors to sleep in.
An outdoor dog house can also be a great place for your dog to go when they are in the “do not disturb” mode. We will look at both a DIY outdoor dog house and a pre-made purchased one below to help you decide which might work best.
Build A DIY Outdoor Dog House
If you have some DIY skills, then making your own dog house can save you a lot of money. You can make a dog house from almost any material you choose, such as wood or metal.
You can even make one out of old pallets. If you’re unsure how to make one, there are tons of videos and tutorials online that show you step-by-step how to build various dog houses.
You can make it as basic or fancy as you like. No matter what you decide to build, make sure that it's secure and safe for your dog.
You’ll want to make sure that whatever material you choose for your outdoor dog house, it’s something that will stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A good roof is also essential, as it will help keep water and rain out of the dog house.
Buy A Pre-Made Outdoor Dog House
If you don’t have the time or skills to build your own dog house, you can always look at buying a pre-made outdoor dog house. These come in all different sizes and styles, so you should be able to find one that fits your Labrador Retriever well.
The nice thing about buying a pre-made outdoor dog house is that they are ready to use as soon as you bring them home. These are often made from real wood and other high-quality materials that will last for years to come.
You can even find insulated dog houses, helping to keep your Lab warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Pre-made dog houses are usually more expensive than building one, but they should last much longer.
You’ll also want to make sure you get the right size dog house. A dog house that is too small will be uncomfortable for your Lab.
About THE AUTHOR
Mark is the founder of Everything Labradors and a husband and father of 3. He enjoys spending time with his family, including his dog Molly, a Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. He’s a big fan of the outdoors and loves to travel to new places.Read more about Mark Brunson