If you have been thinking about getting an outdoor dog you may be wondering if an Akita is a good choice. Or maybe you already have an Akita and are wondering if and how you can transition it to become an outdoor dog.
Akitas do like to be outdoors, and can generally live outside just fine.
Akitas are fascinating dogs, with incredible traits. And if you take good care of your Akita, they will be a faithful, adaptive companion.
Akitas Living Outside
Akitas are quite happy to live outdoors part-time or full time if you train them properly and ensure they have everything they need to thrive outdoors.
What Qualifies Akitas As Outside Dogs?
Akitas love being outdoors. They’ll play for hours in the snow if given the chance, and their feet have webbed toes which helps to distribute their weight evenly which enables them to walk on snow and ice without any issues. Most Akitas still have their front dewclaws to use as ice pics to help them climb out of icy patches or other dangerous situations.
Akitas also have double-coat hair to protect them from the cold and snow. However, this thick fur can potentially make them overheat in warm to hot weather.
Ways To Train Your Akita To Live Outside
If your Akita currently lives mostly inside but you would like it to live outside there are a few things you can do to train them:
Start Slowly. Send your Akita outside for short periods of time and work up to them living outside all or most of the time.
Give Them A Comfortable Place To Sleep. Try to replicate your Akita’s current sleep environment outside to give them some familiarity. However, as we mentioned above you don’t want to make them sleep outside all night right away. Send them outside for short periods (maybe for naps) and show them where their bed is.
Create Home Comforts. After your Akita is starting to spend more time outdoors than indoors start to transition their toys, food bowls, and other items they use outdoors.
Tips For Raising An Akita As An Outside Dog
If your Akita is still a puppy you can start right from the time you bring them home to be an outdoor dog. Keep them comfortable outside and limit their time indoors so they don’t expect to come inside more and more.
Risks To Akitas Living Outside
There are quite a few risks for Akitas to who live outdoors most to all of the time:
Weather Issues. Although Akitas love to play in snow and cold weather they’re not necessarily meant to stay outside in cold weather for long periods of time. Since they have a double-coat of fur it can also be dangerous for them to be out in warm to hot weather. Frostbite and heat stroke are two very dangerous health issues that can happen in dogs.
Aggressive Behavior. Akitas are a dog breed known to be loyal to their owners. And they love to be social with the whole family. If you fail to keep your Akita socialized by spending time playing with it regularly there’s a chance they may become aggressive towards you or other people they encounter.
Your Akita can still successfully live outdoors without behavioral issues most or all of the time if you spend an appropriate amount of time interacting with them.
Health Problems. Akitas are prone to hip dysplasia and potentially other health issues which could be aggravated by them living outside.
Keep a close eye on your Akita for these issues and provide them with extra comfort or allow them to start coming inside if you notice they have any discomfort.
Animals And People. Your Akita may be prey to other animals like coyotes and wolves, and may even face danger from cougars, and potentially other dogs and cats who may roam into your yard.
Of course, there is some threat from humans as well. An aggravated neighbor may not appreciate any noise your Akita makes while it’s outside. Or your Akita could potentially be the target of dognapping by someone who knows your dog is outside most or all of the time.
Outside Dangers. Some people use chemicals and other poisons to keep pets out of their yard, or as a means to fertilize their grass and plants. Also, some areas spray chemical pesticides on entire areas as a means to rid trees and other areas of pests. If your Akita is outside there is a chance they could come into contact with one or more of these chemicals.
Safe Ways Your Akita Can Live Outside
Your Akita can safely and successfully live outside if you follow these precautions:
Keep Your Akita Contained. Although it won’t help to keep all dangers out keeping your dog on an enclosed porch or another contained area will help to protect it from predators and hopefully keep your Akita from wandering off into other yards.
You may want to consider building a covered porch or keeping your Akita in a garage or safe shed instead of directly outside.
Check With Your Municipality. Check the webpage of your local municipality or call someone to find out if and when they use chemical pesticides to spray over your location. If they do, find out the days they do and make other arrangements for your Akita during those times.
Address Any Behavior Issues. If your Akita constantly barks while they are outside, or they start to show other behavior issues these need to be addressed as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming a larger problem. Consult a local dog trainer for help if you need to.
Keep Them Comfortable. Provide a safe, comfortable place for your Akita to sleep. And provide lots of food and water for your dog, as well as toys and other comforts.
Monitor Them. Keep an eye on the weather and on your Akita to make sure they are still healthy and comfortable.
When You Shouldn’t Leave Your Akita Outside
As mentioned, there are some potential risks for leaving your Akita outside. If you know of any imminent dangers, it’s too hot or too cold, or if your Akita seems to be uncomfortable these are signs your Akita shouldn’t be kept outside.
Safe Temperatures For Your Akita To Be Outside In
As mentioned, Akitas have double-coat hair so they are physically built to play in the snow and can withstand colder temperatures than a lot of other dogs. However, you should never assume your Akita can be left outside for long periods in cold weather without any issues. They are still subject to frostbite, especially if they’re wet and left in extremely cold temperatures. Make other arrangements for your Akita to be in during extreme temperatures.
Heat is another story for your Akita. Because they are built to withstand the cold with their double-coat hair, they can not regulate their temperature properly in hot weather and may suffer from heatstroke.
It’s advised to keep a very close eye on your Akita in both cold and hot temperatures.
How Long Can Your Akita Be Left Outside?
Akitas are very adaptable dogs and will likely thrive in whatever situation you give them. If they are trained early to be outside most or all of the time, they will be happy enough.
As mentioned, take precautions to keep them safe and monitor them in hot and cold weather. And if you notice some health issues in your Akita as they age, you may consider allowing them indoors more often.
What Are The Benefits Of Letting Akitas Stay Inside?
Akitas are loyal and love to be around their owners so if they can be kept indoors, they will certainly appreciate that. They also won’t be as exposed to outdoor dangers and potential prey if they are kept indoors all or most of the time.
What Dog Breeds Can Live Outside?
If you plan to keep your dog primarily outdoors, there are some breeds that are better suited for living outside than Akitas are. These dogs include:
- Australian Shepherd
- Siberian Husky
- Labrador Retriever
- Australian Cattle Dog
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- German Shepherd
- Old English Sheepdog