Can Pointers Live Outside?

English Pointer Sleeping

Pointers are very active dogs, and many owners may wonder if it’s okay for them to live outside. Having a post-exercise, smelly dog in the house does not always sound like the most pleasant experience for a homeowner.

Pointers always prefer to live indoors with their owners and family, but can live outside if their kennels are well lined to protect them from extreme heat or cold. Pointers will do fine outside in mild-weather.

There are many factors that go into where your dog primarily lives. You have to keep them protected, healthy, and happy. Knowing whether a pointer can sleep outside is just the tip of the iceberg.

Pointers Living Outside

Depending on personal preference, some people prefer their dogs to live outside rather than inside. Living outside, for a dog, comes with a lot of things you have to be careful of.

You must take into account whether the place you live has extreme weather throughout the year. This may look like freezing cold or blazing hot temperatures depending on the time of year.

No dog is accustomed to being outside during extreme weather. Pointers are dogs that can certainly live outside if the weather is mild. Pointers have short coats and not a lot of body fat.

Most pointers prefer to live inside with their families. They are easily crate trained and love nothing more than to spend time with you.

If you do choose to have your pointer live outdoors, you need to take certain precautions. They will need a fenced-in kennel with protection from the elements. They need to have a place that’s temperature is regulated to a comfortable and safe level in the heat or cold.

If you do choose to have your pointer live outside, it’s important not to ignore them. Pointers that aren’t socialized or taken out for regular and intense exercise will become very destructive.

You can find your yard torn to shreds from digging and chewing, and you may also develop some very irate neighbors from constant barking. Pointers aren’t aggressive and want to please, but if they’re left alone for too long then energy builds up and they become bored.

Boredom leads to destruction in all cases when it comes to pointers. When your pointer lives outside, it’s important to keep treating them as you would if they lived inside. They are a little bit of a needy breed, but that’s also what makes them so lovable.

Best Weather for Pointers

Pointers aren’t equipped with the physicality that works well in the heat or the cold. Dogs, in general, seem to do better in the cold than in the heat. This does not mean that you shouldn’t worry when it’s cold, though.

Pointers should only really be left to live outside if the weather is mild. They aren’t equipped with the tools needed to survive in anything else. Some dog breeds are born with thick coats of fur that helps to protect them in the cold.

Pointers were not given that trait which means we must supply what’s needed for them to stay safe and healthy.

Hot Climates

Dogs generally don’t do well in hot climates. They can easily overheat. Some breeds are better at coping; whereas, other breeds struggle to pant, which cools dogs down, because of their physical makeup.

Pointers are better in the heat than a lot of dogs because they have such short hair. This doesn’t mean that they can be left out in it for a long time, though.

It is advised that owners bring dogs in if the temperatures get too high. You can also provide them a safe shelter that has not only shade but a cooler temperature than outside.

You can also provide a kiddie pool for your dog to splash around in if they get too hot. German Shorthaired Pointers, specifically, love water and would be happy for a dip no matter what time of summer.

The most important thing to do for your pointer in the heat is to give them water! Make sure they never run out or else they can become dehydrated quickly.

These are not perfect solutions, though. Bringing your pointer inside is usually the best option when the temperatures soar.

If you’re taking your pointer out to exercise in the heat, make sure to listen and watch them for signs of overheating. It’s sometimes advised to minimize the amount of exercise they get in the heat if it’s too extreme.

Hot sidewalks and roads could burn the pads of your pointer’s paws. Always bring water whenever going out with your pointer to make sure they stay hydrated.

Cold Climates

Pointer in Snow

The cold is a BIG issue for pointers. Their short-haired coats make them extremely sensitive to the cold. There have been discussions on the susceptibility of dogs to hypothermia. Dr. Arleigh Reynolds had this to say on the subject of hypothermia in dogs:

Where I’ve seen it most are dogs like German shorthaired pointers, English pointers…. Those guys, they’re so high-rev that they’ll burn up what fuel they have because they have such strong prey drives.

https://www.gundogmag.com

Especially for pointers that are taken out to hunt frequently, depending on if the owner hunts or not, they need to be watched carefully for any signs that spell bad news.

The same can be applied to them just living outside long term. If it’s extremely cold or snowy, you want to make sure your pointer has a place that’s warm all the time.

Many owners do this by insulating their kennels. Many people use hay as good insulation while making the outsides wind and water resistant. You want the kennel to stay at a good temperature significantly above freezing. It doesn’t need to be toasty, but it definitely needs to be above 45 degrees F.

Something that is important to note about pointers is that they will need a lot more food in the winter to help keep them warm and healthy.

A GSP that lives outdoors in a cold climate will need a considerable increase in food during the winter.  They do not carry a layer of fat like some breeds, therefore, they lose a lot of body heat even when sleeping.

https://www.gspci.org

It has been noted by many owners that dogs don’t like to drink water when it gets cold. It’s just as important for your pointer to stay hydrated in the winter as it was in the summer.

Some have suggested putting a little bit of warm water in with your dog’s food to make it more pleasant and to get them to drink more or it. Always make sure that your dog has plenty of water at all times, and in the winter you will want to make sure it’s kept in a place where it won’t freeze or get too cold.

Pointers Prefer the Indoors

Now that you know how to make it possible for a pointer to live outdoors and what dangers to look out for, let’s talk about what the breed really prefers! Pointers really want to be inside interacting with the family at all times.

They love to be outside to exercise, explore, and play, but they want their primary living environment to be in your house.

Pointers are a very active breed and are mainly used as hunting dogs. This reputation does not diminish the fact that they’re also very gentle, loving, and needy pups.

They need to have vigorous exercise every day to spend their energy and calm them down, but after that, they are fantastic house dogs. They’re congenial company and crave your attention. They will be as quick to climb up on the couch next to you for some cuddles as they are to chase a ball thrown at the park.

They’re happiest when they’re with their family.

It’s recommended that pointers sleep and live in your house with access to a big fenced-in backyard. This may or may not work for you and your family, so just know that there are other options.

Having such an active dog in your home will require a lot more baths for your dog and cleaning for your house. You may prefer to have your pointer stay outside especially if he/she is used for hunting.

No matter how what capacity they serve you and your family, these dogs love to be inside with you. It’s not difficult to make this lifestyle work.

Pointers are easily crate trained (or just obedience trained in general) and can learn quickly what parts of the house are off-limits, what’s acceptable behavior in the house, and how to get to the real bathroom instead of leaving surprises for the owners to find later.

You can make life with a pointer work wherever you have them sleep and spend time. It’s very important to make whatever home they occupy safe and comfortable for them and for you (if that home is physically in your house).

Elaine Walker

A dedicated dog lover who likes to hike and be outdoors!

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