Dogs/8 week old puppies outdoors
I foster for a couple of rescues in town. I most recently took in a pregnant dog, who ended up having twelve puppies. Mom has gone to her forever home, and the puppies will be going to a pet placement center in eleven days (after their second round of vaccinations). In the meantime, I have a 10' x 10' kennel in my backyard, and I moved the pups outside yesterday. They are really enjoying it. I have been watching the weather, and in a couple of days, it's supposed to dip down into the upper 40's at night. I currently have a large igloo house in the kennel with two down comforters inside, and a doorway so they are protected from any breezes at night. They are boxer-mix pups and weigh an average of eight pounds each. I'm so so hoping they can stay out, but I don't want them to be uncomfortable, or worse, get sick. I would appreciate any feedback you can give me!
Puppies are most accepting of new experiences between 3 and 12 weeks old. After that age, they become much more cautious of anything they haven’t yet encountered. The more time these puppies spend together, by themselves outside and separate from you, will mean that they will be socialized with each other, and not to people. You're doing the pups and their future owners a great disservice by not socializing them to people early in their lives! There simply can't be "too much" human contact for pups.
If you are not at home during the day, I can understand you keeping the puppies contained outside. But they really do need human contact, so bringing them inside overnight would be a wise thing to do. If the puppies MUST live outside, they need to have enough body fat to keep them warm, and they need to have their adult coats, which doesn't come in until they are about 4 months old. At temperatures under 50°, you should use a safe form of heating the kennel area. This means a heating system should not pose a risk to the puppies and be free of trailing cables, and the risk of burning.
Best of luck,