Dog Wants to Sleep Outside at Night (What Do I Do?)

So, your dog wants to sleep outside at night? It is natural for some dogs wanting to sleep outside.

For some dog owners, this would be a blessing.

For other dog owners, this would be awful.

Which are you?

Is having your dog sleep outside a good idea or not?

What do you do when your dog wants to sleep outside at night? You let your dog sleep outside. Not all dogs are dependent on their owner. Some breeds are independent thinkers. If your dog insists on sleeping outside, let them camp out.

For those dog owners who are struggling to let their dog sleep outside, this article is for you.

We are going to delve into this mystery and find out why your dog prefers the outdoors instead of indoors at nighttime.

We will recommend how to make your dog feel as comfortable as possible.

By the end of this article, you will lovingly take your dog outside at night to sleep.

6 Reasons Why Dogs Want to Sleep Outside at Night

Let’s put your curiosity to rest and tell you the reasons why your dog wants to sleep outside at night.

1. Your dog has aged

As your dog gets older, he will be more inclined to sleep outdoors.

This is because age makes them less sociable and sleep decreases.

If your elderly dog is being stubborn and throwing a barking tantrum when you try to force them to sleep indoors, let them sleep where they want.

2. Your dog feels more comfortable outside

Your dog may naturally be inclined to sleep outdoors.

If you have a kennel outside in your backyard because your dog prefers the outdoors, let him sleep outdoors.

They can come indoors in the morning to play with you and your family and, at night, you can allow them to sleep in their kennel outside.

Small dogs have less tolerance for living and sleeping outdoors.

3. Your dog wants to protect you

Your dog wants to protect you and your family, and according to him, he can do it better from outdoors.

If your dog has those protective instincts, allow them to sleep outdoors.

You will feel safer, knowing your vigilant dog is looking after you from the outside.

4. Your dog wants to eliminate the noise

Your dog wants to sleep in peace.

He wants to eliminate all the noises from their environment, such as from the TV, phone, and household appliances. This is why, they may insist on sleeping outdoors.

5. Your dog wants to cool off

If your dog has a thick and heavy coat, they may feel warmer than dogs without it.

They may want to sleep outside to cool off.

6. Your dog just wants to

Sometimes, it is just a preference.

Your dog wants to sleep outside because he just wants to.

No matter how hard you will try to get them to sleep indoors, they will rebel more against the idea.

Therefore, don’t even try.

Give in to their demand, but just make them comfortable and cozy so they can sleep soundlessly at night.

Breed of Dogs Most Likely to Want to Sleep Outside at Night

Not every dog breed prefers to sleep outside, but your breed may love the outdoors.

Before you become alarmed at your dog wanting to sleep outdoors, know that if you have any of the following breeds, the outdoors can become their bedroom.

Australian Shepherd

A medium-sized dog, the energetic and intelligent Australian Shepherd loves to spend their time playing and sleeping outside.

You can take them for long walks and even hiking.

Siberian Husky

The Siberian Husky, is an outdoor dog, with the ability to accommodate any type of climate, especially the cold.

Their big, furry coats keep them warm with their undercoat controlling their body temperature.

Huskies are curious animals by nature and will take their sweet time exploring their surroundings.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are summer and winter dogs.

No matter how warm or cold it gets, these outdoor dogs remain playful, loving, and energetic.

These cute and cuddly pets are sociable and love their humans.

We’ve created a guide specific to labs being an outdoor dog.

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Labrador resting

Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog is a large, outdoor dog that loves to explore.

He is fiercely independent and is comfortable sleeping outdoors.

This adventurous dog is an ideal friend for people who spend most of their time outdoors, exercising, biking, hiking, and running.

German Shepherd

Loyal, courageous, and intelligent, the German Shepherd is a cop dog.

Their double layer coat and thick undercoat serve as good protection from various weather conditions.

You can bring them indoors, but only for a bit, as the outdoors is their playground.

Small dog breeds

You will notice the absence of small dog breeds on the list of breeds that like to sleep outside.

There are only 3 small dog breeds suited to living outside. These dogs don’t like being outside all the time.

  • Welsh Terrier
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Tibetan Terrier.

Can You Stop Your Dog from Wanting to Sleep Outside?

No, unfortunately, you cannot stop your dog from sleeping outdoors.

If your dog wants to sleep outside at night, just give in.

There is no need to force them to sleep indoors because they will make a big fuss if you do.

They will act out.

If they want to sleep in the open air, provide them with all the comfort they need to have a good night’s sleep under the stars.

How to Make Sleeping Outside Comfortable for Your Dog

Here are a few tips on how you can make sleeping outside for your dog comfortable.

Beds and blankets

Where does your dog like to sleep outside at night?

Once you have identified the spot, get to work in making it comfortable.

In the kennel or cage, place a bed and blankets.

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Cozy under blankets when sleeping outside at night

For the colder months, we recommend this heated outdoor bed from Amazon.

Give them water

Your dog may wake up from his slumber, thirsty.

Place a bowl of water either inside their kennel or near it.

If you do not give them water, you will have a sleepless night, as they will howl to tell you, “Hey, get up human and fetch me water!”

Toys and treats

To make their sleep space even more comfortable, you can leave toys and treats.

When they wake up, they will have a treat or maybe, you can give them a treat to eat before they sleep.

Leave toys for them so they do not get bored.

What are the best outdoor toys for your dog to play with? Find out here. We recommend you only give your dog a rope toy under your supervision and not when your dog is alone outside.

The Basics – Tips for Helping Your Dog Have the Best Sleep Outside At Night

Once your dog has decided that he wants to sleep outdoors, the following tips will help your dog have the best sleep outside.

1. Two is better than one

Even though some dogs are extremely independent, most dogs are highly social animals.

Regardless of the type of personality your dog has, you need to ensure they have company so that’s you or another dog.

If you have more than one dog, they can hang out and sleep together.

2. Food and water

This is important, and that’s why we are repeating it. You need to ensure your dog has access to food and water.

If you need new water bowls, here’s a couple of suggestions.

My budget option, the AmazonBasics bowl, can be used for food and water.

The water fountain is best at keeping the water fresh during the day and night.

Category Product Brief
Best Non-spill Yeti Boomer Dog Bowl Stainless steel bowl (non-spill)
Best Water Fountain Bergen Autowata Container with a constant flow of filtered water
Best in cold weather Farm Innovators Heated Bowl Thermostatically controlled to operate only when necessary (non-spill)

A handy tip for you: How do you stop ants getting into your dog’s food? Place some water around the rim of the bowl (where the rubber trim is located). This will deter the ants from getting into the bowl.

3. Proper Stimulation

A big yard does not mean your dog has proper stimulation.

You may see them running around, playing by themselves in the backyard, but they still need to play with their humans or other animals.

The more play during the day, the better your dog will sleep at night.

Dogs can be stimulated by exercise and playtime.

Apart from walking your dog and the traditional throw, catch and retrieve, consider these activities to change things up a bit for your outdoors-loving dog:

This is especially important for owners with dogs who do not want to just sleep outside but be outside all the time.

4. Proper Outdoor Environment

Your dog’s sleep area and play area need to be separate.

You need to have a spacious kennel for your dog to sleep in so they can move around it easily.

You should never use crates in an area exposed to the elements. We have created an epic guide to crates here for you to reference.

If you have more than one dog, you can place their kennel side by side.

You will also have to prepare their shelter for the winter and summer.

In the summer, give them a spot to rest in the shade that protects him from direct sunlight.

In the winter, there are a couple of options to keep them warm when sleeping outside at night:

Is It OK for Dogs to Sleep Outside When It’s Cold?

It is okay for your dog to sleep outside when it is cold as long as you take appropriate measures to protect them against chilly weather.

  • Your dog’s coat will become thick enough to tolerate the extreme cold temperatures.
  • Your dog’s kennel should be dry, waterproof, and windproof.
  • If your dogs sleeps outside in a crate at night, we have some suggestions on how to keep them warm during colder weather.
  • If you have an older dog, they will require more protection in the cold due to decreased muscle mass.
  • Before the arrival of winter, you should increase your dog’s food intake so he has enough muscle mass and fat covering his body.
  • Check the bedding to ensure it is clean and dry. You should invest in thick bedding with a washable cover. Bedding can contain shredded newspaper or cedar chips.
  • Check on your dog’s food and water throughout the day to ensure it is not frozen.
  • You need to feed your dog numerous small meals instead of one large meal, increasing his calorie intake to 15 percent for each 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Comb your dog more often to keep their coat dry and clean.
  • Check your dog’s feet for buildups of ice, snow, salt, and chemicals daily.

Special Requirements for Dogs Sleeping Outside in Winter

If your dog wants to sleep outside at night in the winter, you need to follow these three tips.

1. Heating equipment

You can use warming lamps or a portable heater to keep your dog’s kennel warm in the winter. Just ensure the kennel does not get too warm.

2. Jackets

If your dog has short hair, they require an additional layer of protection. You can make them wear a sweater or a jacket. However, not all dogs like wearing clothes. If your dog rejected wearing it the first time around, try the second time.

3. Dealing with snow

Clear any area with rock salt or de-icer, as if they ingest it, it can be poisonous for them.

It can irritate their paws and mucous membranes.

Clear snow from their surroundings to make it easier for them to walk around, play, and use the bathroom.

Do not leave your dog alone if the snow reaches his neck, as it can cause them to get lost.

Special Requirements to Keep Your Dog Cool When They Sleep Outside in the Heat

If your dog wants to sleep outside at night in the summer, you need to follow these four tips.

1. Fresh water

Ensure they always have fresh water to drink.

Do not place lightweight water bowls outside, as your dog can knock them over and spill the water on the ground.

Place a heavy water bowl or place a bucket in a shallow hole in the ground. Fill the bucket with ice cubes and water to keep the water cool.

The ground will also keep the water cool.

Or you could buy a water fountain for your dog and connect to your garden hose.

2. Shade

Offer shade for your dog.

The sun’s rays can overwhelm them.

If your dog cannot escape the heat, they may overheat.

Dogs can also get sunburned on the nose and ears.

Provide them with shelter.

3. Concrete and sand

The pavement and sand are very hot, so move your dog to a cooler area such as grass.

Be sure to place their kennel on grass, not the pavement or sand.

4. Cooling equipment

I have a couple of suggestions to keep your dog super cool in the heat of summer at night time.

Cooling towel

Cooling towels provide a cooling effect when wet. Just drape this over your dogs neck to keep them cool in the heat of the night.

Cooling mat

Place a cooling mat on top of their regular outside bed or inside your dog’s kennel or crate at night for a cooler slumber.

Cooling vest

This Sgoda Cooling Vest cools your dogs through evaporation.

First soak it in water, wring out the excess water and then place on your dog.

Evaporative cooling pulls the heat from your dog leaving them feel cooler.

The mesh lining keeps your dog dry and comfortable.

How to Give Your Dog A Choice – Sleep Outside or Inside?

Leave it up to them to decide.

It’s their comfort that matters the most.

If your dog wants to sleep outside at night, it is okay.

If your dog wants to sleep inside, that is okay too.

Your dog is like a family member with preferences.

If they choose to sleep outdoors, you can give them the freedom to come and go from the house via the doggy door, given your dog can fit through it.

For bigger dogs, it is a different story.

Know that most big dogs prefer sleeping outdoors. You can always bring them inside in the morning.

In short, it’s their life so let them decide for themselves.

Related Questions

Should I feel bad for leaving my dog outside at night?


It may not be ideal for most homeowners who want to provide their dog with the comfort of home, but if they prefer the outdoors, what can you do?

Just make their outdoor sleeping area comfortable.

My crazy dog wants to stay outside in the cold, what should I do?

You take measures to provide them with a warm environment during the cold outdoors.

You can invest in a portable heater and lots of blankets to keep them warm.

My old dog suddenly wants to stay outside. What does this mean?

If your old dog suddenly wants to stay outside, let him.

However, you should visit the vet, as he may have a medical condition that makes them feel hot and uncomfortable indoors.

Elderly dogs may also want to stay outside because they may feel unwell such as having a slight fever.

If they want to stay outdoors, provide them with a kennel, which they can take shelter in.

My puppy wants to sleep outside. Is that OK?

My personal opinion is that puppies should not be sleeping alone outside.

Puppies are vulnerable outside.

Unsupervised they could eat sticks or stones; they can be chased or be chased by other neighborhood pets or animals; they could be stolen; they could dig under your fence and escape.

For me, there are just too many risks. Keep them inside.

Is your puppy tired enough to sleep? Puppies have lots of energy. Make sure they’re getting enough exercise and playtime.

If your puppy starts to cry when you are asleep, increase the amount of time they spend outside in the yard. For example, before dinner, take them out to play outside at night. Then give them dinner outside. Bring them inside to sleep. The outdoor dog breeds we’ve mentioned in this article do like their time outside.

Maybe your puppy is too hot sleeping inside your home? Depending on the breed, their coat may be quite thick and hot. Ensure they are comfortable inside with a blanket or mat on the floor. If your bedroom is nice and cool with air-con or a fan, let them sleep in your room.

The last resort is to crate your pup after they have been toilet trained.

It’s important your dog bonds with you. So I would keep your pup indoors to sleep at least until 12 months old.


Michelle loves enjoying the outdoors with her dogs. She grew in a big house near the beach with German Shepherds. Nowadays, Michelle has down-sized her dogs to poodles, proving small dogs can enjoy the outdoors too! Her dogs enjoy playing fetch, swimming, and long walks. Michelle and her dogs enjoy escaping the city limits to hike, camp, and swim.

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