Is It Okay To Keep My Golden Retriever Outside?

A golden retriever is a dog that loves to be around people and makes a perfect pet for any home or family.

Some people think that this breed of dog is supposed to be kept outside to romp around and guard the house while others feel they should be kept close and as a part of the family.

Is it okay to keep a golden retriever outside? There is no harm in keeping your golden retriever outside, as long as it is healthy, comfortable, and safe. But the temperature, duration, and your dog’s personality are some things to consider before leaving them outside. Golden retrievers have a sociable and loving nature. They prefer to be near you.

Golden retrievers have a need to be a part of a family and enjoy being around others. Although some breeds of dogs are able to survive being kept outside, it can leave a mental toll on them and cause stress.

Keeping Golden Retriever Outside

If you are not able to take your dog for a walk so it can get exercise, it is okay just to let them outside to play, run, and explore. But they should not be outside alone for a long period of time.

If your dog is outside, making sure they have proper shelter and enough food and water are important, along with a safe play area.

Weather Matters When Leaving a Dog Outside

Golden retrievers can handle temperatures down to 45°F, but any temperature under that will begin to make them feel uncomfortable.

Depending on where you live, it may only be good to let your dog out to use the bathroom and run around for a few minutes before you let them back in when it’s cold.

Once the temperature drops below 20°F, you should be aware that your golden can potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite if left outside for too long.

Rain shouldn’t stop you from getting outside with your pup, but it is important to take the proper precautions when letting your dog out in the rain.

Long periods of time in the rain can cause your dog to get too wet, which can cause skin conditions and infections like Blastomycosis.

A Golden Retriever Needs a Shelter if Kept Outside

If you are planning on leaving your dog outside for a long period of time, it is important to have some kind of shelter out there for them so that they can hide from any bad weather, rest, or find warmth.

A shelter can be a doghouse, which comes in many different types, or a dog crate. But if you opt for a dog crate, it should be big enough so that they can stand up and move around. Too small of a crate can cause you’re good-natured golden to feel stressed.

The shelter of your choosing should be able to protect your dog from sunlight, wind, rain, or snow. Give the dog shelter a nice bed for them to rest on, and when temperatures drop lower, you should consider adding extra insulation to the shelter.

It is good to have a nice shelter for your dog, but if you notice them taking cover, you should offer them to come inside. If they don’t want to go inside because they enjoy being outdoors, that is okay, but always offer.

What About Food And Water if Your Golden Is Kept Outside?

If you are letting your dog outside to play, make sure they always have fresh clean water to drink, especially in the warmer temperatures when they are more susceptible to dehydration. It is important to check regularly to see if freshwater is needed.

It is beneficial for busy owners to opt for an automated water container to make sure their dog is getting an endless supply of water when needed.

In colder weather, dogs should be given food that is high in fat. Higher fat foods have more calories and can help keep your dog warmer. But if the temperatures are below 45°F where they can begin to feel uncomfortable, they should only be outside for a limited amount of time and then brought inside.

Additional Tips

In warmer weather, it may be good to have a kiddie-sized pool filled with water for them to play with and cool down when needed.

Golden retrievers are a breed that likes to run, retrieve, and be with family. They should have plenty of space to run around, along with several toys to play with so that they do not get bored.

When golden retrievers get bored or are suffering from separation anxiety, it is possible they may dig under a fence to escape.

To prevent them from digging under the fence and getting out, here are some things that may help with that:

  • Use rocks. Place large rocks or stones, partially buried, along the bottom of the fence
  • Bury the bottom of the fence. Make sure it’s one to two feet below the surface
  • Train your pup. Work with your dog on behavior modification to stop them from digging

Knowing When Your Golden Wants To Go Out And In

Understanding when your dog wants to go out and wants to come back are good ways of making sure they are always happy. Signs of wanting to be let out are:

  • Sighing, which can be a sign of boredom
  • Watching out the window
  • Pacing back and forth
  • Extra tail wagging
  • Scratches at the door
  • Barking

Signs your dog is done being outside and would like to come back in are:

  • Scratching at the door
  • Sitting and staring towards the door
  • Barking
  • Standing by the door

Negative Effects of Keeping a Golden Retriever Outside

Golden retrievers are a family dog that loves being part of a home where they feel comfort and love from their owners.

If they are forced to stay outside alone for a long period of time, they can begin to have negative effects like separation anxiety, behavioral issues, and health and skin problems.

Separation Anxiety

Golden retrievers are susceptible to separation anxiety because of their longing to be with family, so if they are left alone outside for a long period of time, they can begin to get those anxious behaviors. Some signs of separation anxiety are:

  • Aggression
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Excessive barking
  • Repetitive or compulsive behaviors
  • Destructive behavior

When dogs are suffering from separation anxiety, it is possible that they can become compulsive, anxious, or aggressive. This can lead them to accidentally harming themselves by trying to jump fences and squeeze under fences and cutting themselves.

If your dog has signs of separation anxiety, you should speak with your vet to figure out possible triggers and treatment options.

Best practices for treating separation anxiety usually include a combination of training, preventative strategies, and in some cases, medication.

Skin Problems

When dogs are left outside for too long, it becomes easier for them to pick up fleas, ticks, and other skin conditions and even infection.

Some signs of these skin issues include:

  • Constant licking of body parts
  • Scratching
  • Odorous ears
  • Itchiness, which is an indication that there is a fungal infection

Dogs are prone to skin infections and irritation. Some are brought on by an allergic reaction to certain environments, which can be worsened in wet weather as well as hot weather. Some different skin conditions are:

  • Eczema is an inflammation of the epidermis. Eczema can be caused by fungal, bacterial or yeast infection, which can come from extreme heat or humidity.
  • Blastomycosis is a fungal infection that lives in rotting wood or soil. Dogs that live close to water or rainy areas have a higher risk of this infection. It can cause a lack of appetite, weight loss, and coughing which would need an antifungal medication to treat.
  • Hot spots are patches of inflamed skin that can be caused by fleas, allergies, and parasites. Wet or moist environments can cause this inflammation to grow. If your dog develops these hot spots, they should be taken to the vet and may need an antibiotic.
  • Yeast infections can affect the skin where moisture can collect, such as the paws, ears, armpits, and anal area. Yeast infections are treated with fungal sprays and creams.

The best way to prevent skin irritations and infections is to not keep your dog outside for extended periods of time, especially in humid or wet environments.


When dogs play outside or are left out for an extended amount of time, especially if the weather is hot, they are at risk of becoming dehydrated.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • Reduced energy and lethargy
  • Panting
  • Dry nose
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Dry looking eyes

If your dog becomes dehydrated, it is important to rehydrate them slowly. Giving them too much water at one time can cause them to vomit. Taking small sips every few minutes is the best way to rehydrate them.

If you notice your dog is showing signs of shock, heatstroke, or extreme dehydration, they should be taken to the vet immediately.

The best way to treat dehydration is to prevent it from happening. Don’t keep them outside in the heat for extended periods of time, and make sure they always have access to fresh, clean water.


Golden retrievers are known as a very gentle and loving breed, but they can also become aggressive due to neglect or not enough social interaction. When they feel neglected, they have a harder time trusting people.

When golden retrievers are left outside alone for a long period of time, they don’t get enough attention from their owners, and that can cause aggressive behaviors, like destroying things, excessive barking, and even biting.

If your dog shows signs of aggressive behavior, it is time to work towards helping them cope. They need to be shown love and attention. They have to feel safe, comfortable, and cared for.

The best way to prevent this feeling of neglect is to prevent it. Keep your dog with you inside, let it out when it wants and let it in when it wants.

How Long You Should Be Away From Your Dog

Golden retrievers are not meant to hang out in a kennel all day while their owners are away at work. This can cause feelings of neglect and separation anxiety. Being trapped in a kennel where they can’t use the bathroom can cause bladder infections.

If you are planning on leaving for an extended amount of time, it is important that you get a friend, family member, or neighbor to check on your dog, let him out to use the bathroom, and make sure they have plenty of food or water. If you are able to, visiting them on your lunch break will be helpful and also make them happy.

Left alone too long, your golden can become dehydrated and won’t be able to get the necessary amount of exercise that it needs. Try never to leave your dog alone in a crate for more than 3 hours.

If You Have To Leave Your Golden Retriever Home Alone

If you are not able to bring your dog with you everywhere you go, they actually do pretty well alone. But they would need a bathroom break every 3-5 hours and should always have access to water.

Before you leave for the day, make sure they are equipped with what they need to prevent any anxiety or destruction.

Enough Room To Roam

You want to make sure your dog has enough room for it to roam around, get exercise, and explore when bored.

If a crate is your only option, make sure it is large enough where they can stand and move around, and make sure they are let out every 2-3 hours.

If you believe your dog will do well outside, it is okay to let them roam around outside for a couple of hours, as long as they have proper shelter, food, water, and they aren’t known to try to escape. But they should always be checked on.

Potty Breaks

If you’re letting your dog outside for a couple of hours, you don’t have to worry about potty breaks. But if they are left inside, either you, a friend or family member should go and let them out at least every 4-5 hours. Longer if it is a puppy.

Doggie Activities

To prevent dogs from feeling bored, which can lead to destructive behavior or feeling of neglect, it is a good idea to leave out activities for them to enjoy.

Here are some doggie activities:

  • Fill a hollow toy with a natural peanut butter
  • Keep your tv on animal planet, the sights and sounds will keep them distracted
  • Give them a block of ice with a toy in it
  • Leave different toys around the house or outside
  • Open up the curtains so they can look outside


If you are planning on leaving your dog outside for a while, check the weather ahead of time. If it is supposed to be a hot, humid, or rainy day, keep them inside.

If it’s cloudy, make sure they have shelter outside so that they can relax or take cover if needed. Give them a small pool to cool off in the hotter temperatures.

Get A Dog Walker

If you are able to, it is beneficial to hire a dog walker while you are away at work. This helps your dog get out to explore, get some exercise, and receive some loving.

A cheaper option is to go home on your lunch break, if possible, to let your dog out and check its food and water.

Why A Golden Retriever May Not Be The Dog For You

Golden retrievers are the most popular family dog in the U.S. They are friendly and love being with their owners. But because they are a dog that acquires love and attention, they are not the proper dog for some people. Here are some reasons as to why a golden retriever is not the dog for you:

  • You are looking for an outside-only dog. They have an affectionate, loving nature, so they are not a dog that should be left alone outside for a long time. A golden that is confined to the backyard can get feelings of neglect and can become destructive.
  • You don’t like dog hair. Goldens shed all year long and require regular grooming.
  • You are a couch potato and are hoping for a lazy dog. Golden retrievers are not lazy dogs, and they need regular exercise.
  • You are looking for a guard dog. These dogs love everyone, so they’ll be happy to greet any burglar trying to enter your home


It all comes down to knowing your dog. If you know you are giving your dog enough love and attention and there aren’t any signs of neglect, and you know that your dog will be happy outside for a while, then it is okay to leave them out.

If your dog is barking a lot, doesn’t seem to want to play, and is always trying to get out of the fenced area, then your dog needs to be inside with you more and is asking for more attention.

Golden retrievers crave attention and want to be with their owners and family, if you are thinking about getting golden, but have the plan of leaving them outside a lot of the time, please choose a different breed.

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