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Thread: Labs outdoor year round?

  1. #1
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    Default Labs outdoor year round?

    I am moving back to Alaska from Arkansas in May. I will be living around the Anchorage area. I have two labs right now I hunt with. They sleep indoors. I am thinking pretty hard about bringing an additional two back with me when we move. I do not want 4 dogs in the house and would have to build kennels outdoors for them. I know a lot of people keep their sled dogs out year round and was wondering if any of you do the same with labs. I would only do this if they could live in comfort through the winter. (If they will survive the winter but be miserable I will not do it) I am willing to spend what I have to to ensure my dogs are not being neglected out side. Thank you for any advice on this.
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I'm not too sure about Anchorage but in the Interior the weather is too cold for a Lab to stay outside.

    My Lab does fine to about 0F or so and has no issues being active outdoors to -20F for long periods during the day. Any colder than that and he doesn't like being out too much.

    Anchorage is much milder than the Interior though with only a few periods of significant below 0F weather. Good shelters and plenty of hay helps them out and a couple of folks I know with outdoor dogs put light bulbs in the houses for some warmth. During those unusually cold times you could bring them in for a part of the night to let 'em warm up.

    Labs seem to tolerate the cold pretty well but they're not equipped like a Newfoundland or Husky for the really brutal stuff.
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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    If you make sure they have access to a heated kennel with good bedding, they should be fine for most of the winter. You can expect a good cold spell in late December and/or through January that you'd want to watch out for. My preference is to keep the dogs inside, but then my lab can't stand being more than 6 feet away from me.

    I actually have kennels inside the house for those times when I need to leave them alone for a couple hours and don't want them outside.
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOAT View Post
    I actually have kennels inside the house for those times when I need to leave them alone for a couple hours and don't want them outside.
    Kennel training our pup was the best thing we did....keeps him out of trouble and keeps my sanity. Even as a pretty calm adult dog- he likes to hang out in his kennel when he sleeps.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I take my Lav with me when I go to work, she stays in a kennel in my camper shell when I go to work. I asked a vet about her and the cold, the vet said that a Lava "comfort zone" is from about 20f to about 60f, but as long as they are out if the wind they can tolerate a lot more. I can tell when it is really cold cause when I let her out at lunch she goes potty and jumps back in her kennel.

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    Member akiceman25's Avatar
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    Based on my observations of my 2 y/o lab I'd say that 20F to 60F is spot on for his comfort zone. Down at zero and he can be outside for up to 30 min or so. 20 below and he can be out for less than 10 min. I know when its too cold for him by his rear legs not working as normal.

    I personally wouldn't recommend keeping labs outdoors in the winter.
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    Member SANDRAT's Avatar
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    Mine is getting pretty long in the tooth,she is fine with the air temp,but her paws can't take it when it gets down around 10* or below,short potty break and back in the house or truck.On a sidenote,a musher friend told me to work bag balm into her paws and it may help.I tried booties and no way was she wearing them !!

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    Member IglooBoy88's Avatar
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    house is too small for my lab to stay in and he does fine during the winter months, just make sure you have a lot of hay in the dog kennels and be sure to change it out frequently or add more hay; and feed em good

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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    We have 3 labs and a golden. I have a summer set up and a winter set up for them. We have a unfinished daylight basement and a fenced back yard, 6' high. Off the back entry door in the basement, which we have a double insulated doggie door, we have built a enclosure and the dogs can come and go there in the winter with dog houses inside the enclosure for them. I keep minimum heat in the basement due to possibality of pipes freezing, but the dogs get along fine there in winter and go outside when the need arises. One of our guys is 90 lb with bad hips, etc, he has the run of the house year around. I also have a detached, unheated garage. Off the back of it is a concrete run which we have 3 5x15 chain link runs in with entry to the garage and 6x8 kennel in the garage with dog houses. When it warmed up to lows of 10-15, the dogs went in the outside kennel at night and are fine. If you keep labs outside 24/7 in Alaska, they will have a shorter life span and will be much more incline to have arthritis problems as they get older. And yes, our house smells a bit doggie at times. Bud
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    Quote Originally Posted by windvane View Post
    I take my Lav with me when I go to work,
    Don't they provide proper restroom facilities for you?

    It's Lab, as in Labrador Retriever.

    I have an insulated doghouse for mine, built it into a corner of my shed. However when it gets windy in winter or around 10 degrees, she comes into the garage.

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    Member AlpineEarl's Avatar
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    It's too cold for Labs, no doubt about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryHyde View Post
    Don't they provide proper restroom facilities for you?

    It's Lab, as in Labrador Retriever.

    I have an insulated doghouse for mine, built it into a corner of my shed. However when it gets windy in winter or around 10 degrees, she comes into the garage.
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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    I forgot to mention, last year we changed from a queen size bed to a king size so now we have room for 2 of them on the bed at night. They don't complaign at all. Bud
    Wasilla

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    They will be fine with a good well insulated house. No need for heaters just insulated with lots of straw inside. I have 2 hounds that I brought from down south and they have managed just fine for the last 3 winters. the biggest thing to do for outside dogs is to up their food intake (I also feed 2x/day)and provide plenty of fresh water(bucket heater required). I also add water to their food during winter to be sure they are hydrated. I installed a thermometer inside the house and even at -20 the inside is still around 30 from their body heat.



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