Great Danes have proven time and time again throughout history to be loyal and protective companions to humans of all ages, backgrounds, and occupations. Today, they love to connect and protect their families from the comfort of their homes.
Great Danes are not normally outside dogs. Their thin fur and skin make them sensitive to extreme hots and colds, making it difficult to leave them outside in some areas. They also prefer to be around people and can become anxious if left alone.
If you plan on having your Great Dane live outside, there are some things you should know and precautions you should follow before taking action.
No, Your Great Dane is not Weatherproof
Great Danes are not typically outside dogs.
Most dogs that are kept outside have at least one of 3 things: thick fur, thick skin, or a subcutaneous layer of fat under the skin. These all protect the dog from extreme hot OR cold weather.
Unfortunately, much like the Beagle, the Great Dane has none of these things. Their thin fur and lack of body fat can prove to be extremely dangerous and in some cases fatal.
They may seem invincible because of their large stature but keeping your Great Dane outside should not be your go to option.
There are many factors to cold weather that can put your Great Dane at risk.
A few of these risks are a chapped nose or paws, weakened fur, irritated skin, or even hypothermia and frostbite!
During the winter months, it is common for salt or antifreeze to be spilled onto sidewalks or roads. This can be helpful for us, but dangerous for our furry best friends!
When on walks or jogs during Winter, a Great Dane is at risk of rubbing antifreeze, salt, or other harmful chemicals into their paws.
At first glance, this is harmless. Although after you come home and your dog’s paws are cold, wet, or sore, he is going to lick them clean like any other normal dog!
By doing this, your Great Dane can accidentally ingest these chemicals, which can result in unpredictable results depending on what lies out on the streets and sidewalks.
In order to avoid this risk for your dog, you have two choices.
Firstly, when coming home from a walk or run during these months, be sure to wipe off your Great Dane’s paws and stomach with a warm washcloth. This will help prevent chapping as well as possible ingestion of harmful chemicals.
Secondly, you can purchase shoes!
Clothing for dogs is typically a controversial topic, but in order to ensure your dog’s paws are safe from certain weather conditions, boots are the answer!
Other risks in cold weather unfortunately can’t be avoided as conveniently.
Hypothermia, chapped nose, or frostbite are all effects from long term exposure to the cold. In areas with extreme weather, exposure to the cold should be limited based on the dog’s comfortability.
If you plan on your Great Dane living outside in this weather, be prepared to keep a close check on him.
Depending on the intensity of cold, your Great Dane will require a heated or insulated kennel, heated water bowl (to avoid freezing), and most importantly, bonding time with you!
Great Danes are prone to anxiety and attachment disorders, so be sure to give them lots of love and attention.
The cold is dangerous for dogs! Although in many cases, the heat can be more dangerous for them. A Great Dane does not have all the qualities that make regulating body temperature easy.
If you plan on having your Great Dane live outside in hot weather, be very careful and make sure to remember the following guidelines.
Great Danes, are large dogs and require strenuous amounts of water to keep them cool during hot months. Remember to keep fresh, cool water out for your Great Dane as often as possible.
Give him shade! This is great even if you aren’t keeping your Great Dane outside.
Remember, Great Danes do not have anything to protect their bodies from cold OR heat. Because of this, you MUST provide a shaded or cool area where your Great Dane can rest.
Heat stroke can kill a dog within a matter of hours.
The bottom line is to not make your Great Dane live outside in extreme hot or cold weather.
Where Exactly is “Outside”?
The world is a big place. There are areas that stay cold year round and areas that stay hot year round, and areas in which the weather seems like it just can’t make up its mind.
Where you live matters when considering letting any dog live outside, especially a Great Dane.
The United States has a few main types of climate.
The Northwestern United States, including states such as Oregon or Washington, often experience a lot of rain and cold weather throughout the year. Winters can be unpredictable in certain parts.
In areas like this, it is not recommended to have your Great Dane live outside.
While he might not die of heat stroke, your Great Dane could be at risk of hypothermia or depression. If you choose to do so anyway, be sure to provide a permanently dry area for your Great Dane to live, eat, and sleep.
The Midwestern United States, including states like Montana or Michigan, can have amazing summer weather, but very extreme Winter weather.
Extreme snowfall and ice can put your Great Dane at risk for all sorts of health issues.
Owning a Great Dane at all in these states is not recommended, but if you can’t help yourself, make sure to provide a warm, dry place for him to live.
The Southern United States, including states such as California, Texas, or Oklahoma, can have some mild winters, but some areas can have extremely hot weather.
Weather varies from state to state, but in general, these can be the most ideal states for Great Danes.
If you live in an area like this, you should still take all the necessary precautions to care for your Great Dane.
Safe Ways Your Great Dane Can Live Outside
Now, we’ve gone over what your Great Dane is capable of when it comes to living outside.
In total, Great Danes are not recommended to live outside. Although, if you do choose to do this anyway, here are the main points to remember!
Shelter and Clothing
Great Danes cannot handle extreme hot or cold weather.
Because of this, if they are to live outside, they will require adequate shelter. An insulated kennel with access to inside the house will help a lot! Although even if the kennel is insulated, a heater might be required in cold weather.
As I mentioned above, warm clothing on a Great Dane can prove to be a strong benefit in certain weather conditions. Boots or waterproof jackets are both available from Amazon and should be considered if you plan to take your Great Dane out in the snow, rain, or ice!
When it’s hot, make sure there is shade from the sun to bring some relief.
Food and Water
Diet for a Great Dane fluctuates with weather.
In hot weather, plenty of fresh, cool water should be provided. In cold weather, food intake will increase.
In order to keep your Great Dane ready to take on colder weather, be sure to provide plenty of proteins and fats. This will build muscle and fat in your Great Dane so he won’t freeze!
Love and Care
To many people, this seems like something you can ignore or put off to the side.
Love and affection is likely the most important aspect of dog care. It’s difficult for some to remember that you are caring for a living thing with a personality! Just like you, your dog has feelings, likes, dislikes, etc.
Great Danes in particular thrive on human connection.
Without it, they are at risk of depression and anxiety, which can affect the way they act around people.
If you have a Great Dane or plan on getting a Great Dane, it is critical that you provide lots of time to bond and connect with him. This is one of the main reasons Great Danes are considered inside dogs.
If you keep these points in mind, your Great Dane will live a happy life inside or out. I hope this article has given you a clearer idea of how to care for your gentle giant outside, good luck!