Some real deal January weather is setting in across Minnesota, if you have outside pets make sure their shelters are in compliance with Minnesota state statutes. Yes, there are actual laws around keeping your dog warm in the winter, as there should be.

Minnesota state statute 343.40 is dedicated to dog houses.

Subdivision 1.In general.

A person in charge or control of any dog which is kept outdoors or in an unheated enclosure shall provide the dog with shelter and bedding as prescribed in this section as a minimum.

Dog houses in Minnesota need to comply with these rules:

  • The structure must be moistureproof and windproof
  • It must be sized to accommodate the dog and allow the retention of body heat.
  • Made of durable material
  • The floor must be moisture-proof or raised two inches off the ground if it isn't
  • There must be a windbreak at the entrance between November 1st and March 31st
  • There must be sufficient bedding material in the shelter (hay, straw, cedar shavings, blankets, etc.)

In warmer months the shelter must also have shade from direct sunlight.

You might be thinking, what about farm dogs? They have their own part of the statute:

A dog kept on a farm may be provided with access to a barn with a sufficient quantity of loose hay or bedding to protect against cold and dampness.

Their dog house is basically the barn. Talk about being king of the castle!

I'm a dog and animal lover in general, and nothing breaks my heart more than seeing an animal that doesn't have proper protection from the elements. I grew up with dogs that would be outside in the summer and inside in the winter, but they always had top of the line dog houses to make sure they were cozy and comfortable at all times. If I could adopt every dog that doesn't have a warm place to sleep and let them hang out in my house, I totally would.

Please keep taking good care of your pets, and give them a hug and a treat for me!

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