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WATCH: Veterinarian Spends the Night in a Freezing Dog House

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This winter, thousands of dogs around the country will spend freezing nights alone outdoors, while their families are snuggled up in the warmth inside. Many dog owners wrongly believe that a dog’s coat insulates them from the cold, or that a dog house provides adequate protection against the elements. Many believe that an insulated dog house somehow traps and retains a dog’s body heat, creating a warm and cozy sanctuary for their pet.

“America’s Pet Advocate,” veterinarian and author, Dr. Ernie Ward is passionate about speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves and promoting a healthier lifestyle for people and pets. Three years ago, Dr. Ward famously spent 30 minutes in a hot car to demonstrate the pain, misery, and helplessness that a dog would feel trapped inside.

This time, Dr. Ward set out to show just how painful and helpless a dog feels when left overnight in the freezing cold of winter, with only their dog house for warmth. Armed with a timer and a thermometer, the veterinarian huddled inside a typical igloo-style dog house to see just how cold it gets and what a dog experiences:

Even on a relatively mild winter night, without snow and heavy winds, even while bundled in layers of thermal clothing, high-tech snow gear, a heavy coat, boots and gloves, Dr. Ward described the intense, painful cold as he struggled to maintain composure. While outside temperatures were around 8-degrees F, temperatures inside the dog house, after only 4 hours of Dr. Ward huddled inside, were only a few degrees warmer, around 14-degrees – far from comfortable or even bearable.

Not only is the practice of keeping dogs outside in dog houses in winter potentially life-threatening, Dr.Ward says that, after his experience, “you will never be able to convince me that these animals aren’t suffering.”

It’s our responsibility to provide the best care and quality of life to the animals we love. Leaving them in the cold does not achieve that.

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  1. I hope that no dogs are left out in this cold weather.

  2. I hope that no dogs are outside in this cold weather.

  3. Avatar Of Loxi



    My two little dogs not only sleep on the bed but when they get cold they climb under the covers with us.

  4. Avatar Of Teri Schneider

    Teri Schneider


    This is bad but can you imagine the animals that are left outside no house or protection of any kind? Wake up, people!!!

  5. Sled dogs suffer terribly in the horrific cold. Many of them have frozen to death in the Iditarod or tethered outside
    FACTS: helpsleddogs.org/the-harsh-reality/iditarod-dog-kennel-horrors/

  6. Avatar Of Rick Tyrrell

    Rick Tyrrell


    I did not watch the full video. You are not giving an accurate assessment of your definition of the cold for pets, Dogs in general. Although you do show a great amount of love and respect for your field. I believe the mistake you made is the same as pet owners make and not recognizing it. It’s the same mistake you made in your assessment Please try it this way to get an accurate assessment .Take a short hair dog and put the dog outside in the spring and do not bring the dog in and out of the environment. then in the winter pick the same temperature that you show in your demonstration. Here is the mistake you made You me we are a tropical animal in our natural environment we are naked and I don’t need to express my values of you and the dog outside over night in the cold we both know the end results. the dog will walk away you won’t. For an accurate assessment of your demonstration should be, If you live in an area that has an extreme weather fluctuation or change your pet is an outside pet or an inside.We are all guilty of that in, out , in out . The dog can’t go to a high end store and purchase the latest or up too date clothing for the cold night outside

  7. Avatar Of Millie



    Dr Ward, this is heartbreaking to me. We live in Maury Co, Tn, where our county does nothing for dogs that are left out in the cold temps. You have confirmed many of our suspensions that most dogs cannot tolerate outside in extreme temps, whether cold or hot! I can’t imagine going to sleep in my comfortable warm home, knowing a dog is suffering like you have shone……and they are bundled up like you are! THANK YOU for making this video. I’ve shared it on my Facebook page. We have MANY living here who think the majority of dogs are fine outside! I’m not one of them. There are also MANY who think it’s unconscionable to leave your dog/cat outside. I hope we can get the laws changed here in Maury Co, because they need to be changed.

  8. Avatar Of Angela



    Thank you for this video! I hope that by sharing it with others, it will help even just a few people show more empathy and compassion to their pets.

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