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Can Dachshunds Sleep Outside? [Here’s the Truth]

There’s still a little wolf in even the tamest, cuddliest dog.

Dachshunds aren’t that closely related to these ancestors, though: your little sausage dog won’t be happy about bedding down in a snowdrift.

Can dachshunds sleep outside in colder weather, or are the risks too high?

Table of Contents

    Can Dachshunds Sleep Outside Safely?

    It’s often possible but not generally recommended. It only takes one look to realize that a dachshund is not a shepherd dog. Many types barely have fur at all, and none are naturally equipped to spend weeks or months living in the hills.

    In frosty weather, a healthy adult dachshund can generally stay outside for about 30 minutes to an hour. This time will usually be spent playing. Once they lay down to sleep, however, their metabolism slows down, and they will quickly start to feel cold. Frostbite and hypothermia become real concerns.

    Hot weather is easier on your pooch as long as they have easy access to shade and water. During the day, dehydration and heat stroke are still something to worry about, though. It’s best to allow your dachshund access to the inside of your home at least until sundown.

    Finally, you’ll need to take other dangers into account. If you live in coyote country, for instance, you’ll have to inspect your fence to ensure that predators can’t get in and smaller pets can’t get out.

    Check out this post if your dachshund is shaking while sleeping.

    Is It Wrong to Make Dachshunds Sleep Outside?

    Assuming that the climate where you live isn’t too extreme, you’re probably thinking less about your pet’s survival and more about its comfort. A lot depends on your dog’s temperament and how much attention she receives during the day.

    dachshund staring into your soul

    One dachshund may be fine physically but still be emotionally drained from having to sleep outside, while another prefers it that way.

    The best advice is probably to not count on any particular dog, and certainly a new dachshund you’ve never met, being willing to sleep outdoors. Dogs can’t make changes to an environment that doesn’t suit them; that is your job.

    How Cold is Too Cold for a Dachshund Sleeping Outside?

    This depends partly on the kind of hair they have, but a good rule of thumb is that your dog is comfortable outside if you’re comfortable outside.

    Mosquitos aside, sleeping outdoors on a clear spring night can be quite pleasant. It’s just like camping, but with a fridge full of snacks and running water nearby. Dozing off in a blizzard isn’t nearly as nice for either you or your dachshund.

    Puppies and senior dachshunds need special consideration, too: would you leave your kid or your grandma on the porch overnight?

    You should also take the amenities available to your dog into account. A good doghouse keeps her out of the wind and makes her feel warmer, for instance.

    Finally, it’s no use to compare dachshunds’ ability to handle the cold to that of other, larger dogs. Even furrier dachshunds have relatively sparse hair and aren’t insulated all that well.

    The breed also has a fairly weak immune system and picks up colds more easily than other kinds of dogs. Even if your dachshund doesn’t freeze, your dachshund may be far from happy.

    Ways to Protect Your Dachshund from the Cold Outside

    Concerning the above rule, humans can always go buy a jacket or some ultra-high-tech sleeping bag. Dachshunds may not even be allowed in the camping store. If you do decide to put her outside for the night, what can you do to make her more comfortable?

    The first step you’ll take is probably getting her a warm, soft blanket. The best material for this is a synthetic fleece that’s easy to wash. Here’s a pro tip: baby blankets tick all the boxes and are somehow often cheaper than those marketed as doggie blankies! You can also look into dog beds with attached blankets so that it’s easier for her to tuck herself in.

    Sweaters can make any dog look ridiculous, but they do retain body heat. These are mostly intended for wearing while walking outside on cold days, though. If meant for a dachshund to sleep in, you’ll have to make very sure that they’re comfortable. Try to inspect them physically and try the garments on your dog rather than buying them online.

    What Makes a Kennel Suitable for a Dachshund?

    snuggly dachshund

    Any dachshund with a backyard to play in should have a doghouse: whether they sleep there at night or not, it gives them a private den to nap in.

    If you do choose to let her sleep outside in the future, it will already be familiar to her, making the transition that much easier.

    The first thing to think about is size. At a minimum, you should choose a doghouse that’s several inches higher and wider than your dog – 25% more than their length, not counting the tail, is a good guideline.

    You may also want to think about being able to accommodate another dog in the same kennel: some dachshunds can sleep alone, but most tend to get anxious without another dog or person close at hand.

    For sleeping at night, it’s essential that your new doghouse is well insulated, especially the floor. Any kind of bed or thick mat can help here.

    We then get to the question of choosing a spot for it: where should dachshunds sleep? Place your doghouse on a concrete footing or some bricks to keep their bellies from dragging in snow or rainwater, and make sure it’s out of direct sunlight in summer.

    If it’s really necessary to heat a kennel, it’s probably too cold for a dachshund to sleep outside anyway. You can make her comfier in various ways, though.

    Electric heating pads and beds are an option, though this means you’ll have to run a power cord to the kennel (and prevent your dog from chewing on it).

    Simply hanging a sheet of vinyl plastic over the opening to create a doggy door also works wonders by trapping more heat inside.

    How to Train an Indoor Dachshund to Sleep Outside

    dachshund dog house

    If you live in a mild climate, when winter is ending, or as your pooch starts growing out of puppyhood, you may try this as an experiment. That’s all you should see it as, though: it isn’t your dog’s fault if she just can’t spend nights outdoors.

    The first step in this process is to talk to the neighbors, warning them that they may hear some additional barking and assuring them that this will only be temporary, one way or the other.

    This is just a test, after all, and you’ll soon be moving your dachshund back indoors if it doesn’t work out.

    Give your dog plenty of exercise and interaction during the day, especially with their favorite person (and of course, nearly every dachshund chooses one family member as their particular human).

    Allow her to get used to the new sleeping arrangements by letting her nap in her kennel during the day while you sit and read nearby or do some gardening.

    Eventually, you should be able to put her outside in the evenings, at least for a few hours at first. Place her favorite blanket, toys, and other familiar items in the kennel to keep her company. This is a time when you need to be very attentive:

    If you find your dog listless or trembling in the morning, she’s probably too cold. You should especially watch out for signs of hypothermia: confusion, stiffness, weakness in their movements, unusually slow breathing, and apathy are all symptoms of being dangerously cold.

    Wrap her and a hot water bottle in a blanket immediately, take her to the vet if needed, and give up on any plans to let her sleep outside until the weather improves.

    two dachshunds on your bed

    How to Tell If Your Dachshund Is Adapting to Sleeping Outside

    Some dachshunds are undoubtedly more independent and self-assured than others. These have a better chance of getting used to sleeping outside, especially if they get plenty of exercise, cuddles, and kisses during the day. 

    We have to understand that even the most confident dog’s personality can change if she’s forced to sleep outside against her wishes, though.

    Her playfulness may slide over into aggression, or her affectionate nature can turn into clinginess. It’s important to keep an eye on her behavior to see if she’s adjusting well or becoming stressed, frustrated, or angry:

    • Many will become more prone to barking during the night and even in daylight.
    • Others will start destroying your garden by digging at random.
    • At least initially, dachshunds that sleep outside may develop strange habits like pacing or running back and forth, or pawing at the fence.

    Many adapt quickly and even enjoy having a place of their own where they can sleep undisturbed (dachshunds love their naps).

    If behavioral problems like those above are too severe and show no signs of stopping, though, you should hit the reset button and let her continue to sleep inside.

    Safe and Warm: What Happens If You Let Your Dachshund Sleep in Your Bed Instead?

    We’ve already seen that it’s possible to make your dog sleep outside, but it’s usually not a good idea. What about the other side of the coin: letting her snuggle up with you instead?

    Most dachshunds have no problem doing so. What’s more surprising is that most of the benefits go to the human, not the dog:

    Owning a pet you love improves your physical and mental health. Allowing her to sleep in your bed, or at least your bedroom strengthens the bond between the two of you and amplifies these benefits. Though a few people surveyed by scientists have reported that the animal sometimes disrupts their sleep, most claim that this isn’t a problem.

    Sleeping with your dog leads to: 

    • feelings of greater security and togetherness (for both of you), 
    • reduced stress levels (even as physically measured through lower heart rate and blood pressure), and
    • better physical health overall.

    The idea of using therapy dogs to treat even chronic anxiety and mood disorders is pretty well known. Your dachshund may not be trained for this role, but they are naturally affectionate with their owners and will be sure to do their level best to cheer you up. If nothing else, a dachshund that’s eager to start the day makes a great alarm clock.

    Does a Dachshund that Sleeps Outside Provide Security?

    Most police officers will agree that guard dogs come in two basic varieties: big ones meant to intimidate and small ones that merely bark their cute little heads off.

    Now, diminutive dachshunds are still hunting dogs and won’t back away from a fight they can win, but they usually can’t take down a 200-pound man.

    They’re well-known for being alert and protective, though. One sleeping outside won’t rip a burglar’s arm off but will usually start yipping and yapping the moment a stranger tries to sneak into her territory.

    For somebody who doesn’t want anyone to know where they are and what they’re doing, this is reason enough to back off. An indoor dog will do the same, but perhaps only once somebody has entered the building.

    Can Making a Dachshund Sleep Outside Cause It to Run Away?

    It’s not always easy to figure out what might affect a dog emotionally. Getting into a fight with another dog or living through a natural disaster will probably not leave her happier than she used to be.

    Will being forced to sleep outside cause her to think she’s been abandoned, though?

    Dachshunds are social, intelligent dogs that need a lot of attention. If they feel like they don’t get enough at home, they may well take off into the night, leaving their owners distraught and confused.

    They’re also superb diggers (the bulldozer company “Caterpillar” should really have been called “Dachshund Incorporated”), so the average garden fence won’t stop them if they really want to leave.

    The first sign that a dachshund living outside is lonely will often be the neighbors complaining about non-stop nocturnal barking.

    This is really your dog calling out to her pack for companionship. If this happens, it’s probably best to move her back indoors if at all possible.

    Letting her share a doghouse with another dog willing to cuddle may sidestep this problem – physical contact is something dachshunds almost can’t get enough of.

    This, by itself, isn’t really a good reason to adopt another pet, though.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want the best for our pets, but we should also realize that it’s possible to coddle them a little too much. The average dachshund probably doesn’t prefer caviar to whatever goes into canned dog food. In the same way, some of them are fine with sleeping outside on warm nights.

    They’re basically not outdoor dogs except when playing, though. Can dachshunds sleep outside? It’s not all about the weather: more importantly, they’re very friendly and often don’t handle being alone very well.

    If you’re considering letting one or several live and sleep outside, you should always consider it as a tentative trial run.

    If your dachshund doesn’t enjoy sleeping in the great outdoors as much as you’d hoped, you should be ready to move them back inside immediately.

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