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DIY Dog Runs: How to Build Your Own Dog Run!

All dogs – from the most athletic greyhounds to the laziest bulldogs – need the chance to stretch their legs, run around, and get some exercise on a daily basis. In fact, adequate exercise isn’t only important for the physical health of dogs, it’s important for their mental and emotional well-being too.

However, in the real world, many owners struggle to accommodate this need. Fencing in a backyard is often prohibitively expensive, and daily trips to the dog park aren’t realistic for many owners.

But fortunately, there is a solution: You can build your pet a dog run, which will give your dog a safe place to zoom around to his heart’s content. We’ll explain more about dog runs, provide a few design tips, and share a few specific DIY plans below.

What Is a Dog Run?

The term “dog run” means different things to different people, and people apply the term to several different types of areas and structures.

There doesn’t appear to be an official definition for the term, and your dog doesn’t care what you call it, so we’ll just use “dog run” to describe any type of outdoor structure or area that gives your dog space to run around.

But it is important to note that all dog runs have one very important characteristic in common – they don’t require you to supervise your dog while in use. Dog runs are designed to prevent your pup from running away or getting into excessive amounts of mischief while he gets his daily exercise.

Different Types of Dog Runs + How to Build Them: The Basics

There may not be a concrete definition for the term dog run, but most fall into one of four basic categories. Before deciding on a specific set of plans, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with each.

1. Narrow Fenced Enclosure

When most people use the term dog run, they are probably thinking of a long, narrow fenced area which allows your dog to, well, run back and forth along its length.

While these types of dog runs may not give your dog the freedom to run in any direction he chooses, they provide him a long straightaway that lets him run enough to reach top speed.

2. Outdoor Kennel or Pen

Some dog runs feature a square (or nearly square) footprint that provides your dog with a place to hang out and enjoy some fresh air – think of them as outdoor playpens.

While many of these kennels or pens are too small to allow your dog to run very fast, large versions will allow your dog to run around like a proper goofball.

How to Build a Fenced Enclosure (Narrow or Square):

Whether you want to build a long and narrow dog run or a square-shaped play space for your pet, the basic steps are the same.

  1. Start by marking the perimeter of the area you wish to enclose
  2. Dig an 18- to 24-inch-deep trench along the entire perimeter.
  3. Dig post holes at 4- to 8-foot intervals along the trench for the vertical supports.
  4. Install and cement the vertical supports in place.
  5. Attach the fencing to the vertical supports.

You’ll also need to install a gate that provides access to the run. Experienced builders can fashion a custom gate relatively easily, but most dog owners will find it simpler to just purchase a pre-fabricated gate at the local hardware store.

You may want to add a suitable ground cover, such as hardwood mulch chips, to the dog run. Some owners may also wish to add a roof or windshield to help protect your pup from the elements.

3. Anchored Tether

Some owners use the term dog run to apply to an open space which doesn’t feature a fence at all. Instead, a long piece of rope or chain is used to keep your dog from wandering off.

These are the easiest dog runs to build, but they don’t provide as much safety as some of the other types of dog runs.

How to Install an Anchored Tether:

An anchored tether is exceedingly easy to set up. You can simply buy a corkscrew-shaped stake, drive it into the ground, and then use a long tether to connect the stake to your dog’s collar or harness.

Just be sure to put the tether in a wide-open space which doesn’t present any hazards or obstacles to your dog (you don’t want your dog to wrap the tether around a tree, for example).

If a ground stake isn’t a good fit for your property, dog, or aesthetic tastes, you can insert a large wooden timber into the ground and cement it into place. Then, you’ll need to attach a thick steel ring to one side of the post. This will give you a place to attach the tether.

4. Sliding Tether

Some dog runs rely on a sliding (rather than fixed) tether to keep your dog from running away.

These types of dog runs are slightly trickier to build than those featuring anchored tethers, but when properly designed, your dog will be able to enjoy a long straightaway that’ll allow him to hit Mach 1.

How to Install a Sliding Tether:

A sliding tether is usually easier to set up than a fenced enclosure, but it is more complicated than setting up an anchored tether.

To start, you’ll need to suspend a long cable or rope about 6 to 10 feet above the ground. This rope should extend over the entire length of the dog run area.

You’ll then need to thread a metal ring or short piece of pipe around the suspended line. A tether can then be used to connect your dog to the sliding ring or pipe.

DIY Dog Run Plans & Examples

Most dog runs need to be custom built to suit your dog and property. However, that doesn’t mean you have to completely reinvent the wheel – check out the plans listed below and tweak them to suit your situation.

1. Shaded Dog Run by DIY Network

The DIY Network provides a detailed set of plans for building a spacious dog run that features a built-in shaded area.

This is a great dog run for small- to medium-sized dogs, but it probably isn’t tall enough to keep large dogs (or impressive leapers) safely contained.

Difficulty Level: Moderate to difficult

Materials Needed:

  • Gravel
  • 4×4 pressure-treated posts
  • 2 x 2s
  • Pressure-treated 2 x 4s
  • Pressure-treated 2 x 6s
  • Landscape timbers
  • Landscape fabric
  • Anti-bacterial rubber floor mat
  • 3″ galvanized screws
  • Plastic-coated wire fencing
  • Corrugated vinyl

Tools Needed:

  • Sledgehammer
  • Cordless drill

2. Cheap and Easy Dog Run by Instructables

These Cheap and Easy Dog Run plans by Instructables are some of the easiest and most affordable dog run plans we found, and they rely on a number of salvaged items that the authors had laying around.

This doesn’t appear to be a particularly escape-proof dog run, so you’ll want to think twice before using this design for Houdini-like hounds.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Materials Needed:

  • Heavy gauge wire livestock panels
  • Aluminum wire
  • Standard chain link fence gate hinges
  • Old metal gate
  • Metal T fence post
  • 9 safety latches or clamps
  • Machine oil

Tools Needed:

  • 4-pound sledgehammer
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Reciprocating saw

3. Chain-Link Dog Run by Family Handyman

This is probably my favorite set of dog run plans as it includes a variety of cool features, such as buried barriers to prevent your dog from digging his way to freedom and a place that allows you to flush-mount your dog’s house.

However, these things also make the run more challenging to build than many of the others listed here.

Difficulty Level: Difficult

Materials Needed:

  • Chain link fencing and gate
  • Concrete
  • Landscape fabric
  • Pea gravel
  • Privacy slats
  • Sand
  • Sunscreen and/or dog house
  • Treated 2x12s

Tools Needed:

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Circular saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Level
  • Lineman’s pliers
  • Post hole digger
  • Spade
  • Tape measure
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shovel
  • Gloves

4. DIY Cable Run by Jenna & Snickers

These DIY plans from Jenna & Snickers will help you make a cable run (sliding tether) that will give your dog quite a bit of room to run without the need for a fence.

These are some of the simplest plans for a dog run we found, and they should be very helpful for owners who lack the interest or skill necessary to construct a fenced dog run.

Difficulty Level: Easy

Materials Needed:

  • Galvanized steel cable
  • Several chain rope clips
  • Two wire rope thimbles
  • Two eye bolt screws
  • One swivel pulley
  • Vinyl coated tie-out cable

Tools Needed:

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Ladder

5. DIY Outdoor Kennel by Youtuber Pete B.

If you just want a simple, easy-to-build dog run, many of the ones previously discussed will fit the bill perfectly.

However, some owners want to go above-and-beyond in an effort to give their dog the most luxurious accommodations possible. And if this sounds like you, this video guide by Youtuber Pete B. will certainly help.

Now, let’s be clear: This is a HUGE project that’ll likely require more time, skill, and funding than the average dog owner is willing or able to invest. But if you want to give your pet a palatial dog run, this video will get you off to a good start.

Alternatively, it is possible to purchase sophisticated outdoor dog kennels like the one demo-ed here. They’ll cost a pretty penny, but they’ll save you a lot of time, effort, and may not even be that much more expensive when you consider supply costs.

Difficulty Level: Difficult

Materials Needed:

You’ll have to watch the video to see all of the materials Pete uses to make his run, but a few of the basic materials needed include:

  • Chain-link fencing
  • Chain-link gate
  • Several 4 x 4 posts to serve as vertical supports
  • Several 2 x 6 posts to serve as the frame for the gate
  • Several 1 x 4 planks to serve as horizontal supports for the fence
  • Assorted hardware
  • Wood chips

Tools Needed:

  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Post hole digger or auger
  • Mallet or post driver
  • Shovel

6. Outdoor Dog Kennel by Red Brand

Red Brand (a company that makes fencing products) provides a great video guide for building a large dog run.

This is not as elaborate as the run described above, but it is still a very nice dog run. And because it is a little simpler than Pete B.’s version, it’ll be easier for most owners to construct.

Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult

Materials Needed:

Red Brand doesn’t provide a clear materials list for this project, so you’ll just need to follow along with the video. However, some of the things you’ll need include:

  • Red Brand fencing (or similar alternative)
  • Several 4 x 4s to serve as vertical supports
  • Several 2 x 4s to serve as horizontal supports
  • Chain-link fence gate
  • Assorted hardware

Tools Needed:

  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Post driver or sledgehammer
  • Tape measure
  • Post hole digger
  • Cordless drill
  • Plumb bob

Note that this video is divided into two parts.

Important Considerations: Is a Dog Run Right for Your Pet?

Now that you understand the basic options available, you can begin trying to decide whether one is right for you, and, if so, which type you want to build.

Each type of dog run presents a different collection of benefits and drawbacks you’ll want to consider when making your choice.

Dog Runs May Damage Your Lawn

If you allow your dog to run, jump, and play in the same place day after day, your lawn will likely start to show signs of damage. You can, however, do a few things to mitigate or avoid this problem:

  • Make the dog run as big as possible to spread out the damage your dog causes.
  • Cover the area with wood chips or some other paw-friendly material (the grass will still die, but it will look better). Also consider using a dog-friendly grass in your yard that’s a bit tougher than the average yard seed.
  • Pave the area with concrete (just be sure to give your dog a few comfortable places to lay down).
  • Move your dog’s tether around periodically to spread out the wear and tear.

Of course, you may not care if your dog tears up the lawn if the run is situated in an inconspicuous location. However, dogs who run around on bare dirt will tend to need more frequent baths than those who play on grass.

Unfenced Dog Runs Leave Your Pet Exposed to External Threats

While a tether-style dog run will usually prevent your dog from wandering off, it won’t protect him from external threats.

This not only includes things like feral or unleashed dogs, but coyotes and other predators too. And, although it sounds like something that only a supervillain in a movie would do, some people may even try to steal your dog.

Small dogs are obviously much more vulnerable to these types of dangers than big dogs, but that doesn’t mean big dogs are immune to these threats. A group of canines could gang up on your pet, and nefarious people may harm your pooch in a number of ways – no matter how big and scary he is.

There’s not much you can do to protect tethered dogs from these kinds of threats, so just be sure to carefully consider the number of feral animals, wild critters, and criminals lurking in your area before implementing a tether-style dog run.

Some Dog Runs Are Easier to Build Than Others

Fenced dog runs can be pretty tricky to build – particularly for those without a lot of construction experience. You’ll need to work with heavy materials and power tools, and you’ll likely need the help of a friend or two to finish the project.

On the other hand, tethered dog runs are often very simple to install.

Sliding tethers require a tiny bit of DIY know-how, but fixed-anchor tethers require you to do little more than drive the anchor into the ground (or attach it to some other structure) and tie your dog to it.

Some Dogs May Chew Through Tethers

Sufficiently motivated dogs can often make quick work of a rope or cord – I once had a dog chew through her seat-belt leash in the time it took me to drive down my driveway!

So, it is important to consider the likelihood that your dog will try to chew through the tether when deciding on a material to use.

If you have a dog who is inclined to chew on things, just be sure to use a steel cable or chain instead of a rope.

Some Dogs May Climb or Jump Over Fences

Unless you build a roof of some type over a fenced dog run, you’ll need to take steps to make sure your dog can’t climb or jump over the fence.

Jumpers can usually be thwarted by simply using a fence that is too tall for your dog to clear – this likely means making the fence at least 6- to 8-feet high (and some dogs may even be able to clear these heights).

Climbers can be more challenging to contain. You can add smooth panels to the inside of the enclosure to help prevent them from getting a grip, or you can use “coyote rollers,” which will prevent most dogs from escaping.

Some Dogs May Dig Under the Fence

While some dogs may try to escape a dog run by going over the fence, others will just try to tunnel beneath it. Fortunately, you can employ a number of strategies to help thwart their escape attempts.

For example, you can:

  • Dig a trench around the perimeter of the dog run so that you can insert the fence a foot or two below ground level.
  • Bend the bottom of the fence in toward the interior of the run to provide additional security.
  • Add gravel or concrete at the bottom of a fence may also discourage dogs from digging their way to freedom.

Square Dog Runs Are Sometimes Better for Multiple Dogs

If you want a dog run that’ll accommodate more than one dog, you’ll likely find that a square layout is better than a long-and-narrow layout.

This will give the dogs more “elbow room” and allow them a bit more freedom during playtime.

Long Dog Runs Make It Easier for Dogs to Stay Comfortable

It is always important to equip your dog’s run with a shelter or dog house so that he can escape rain, snow, and scorching sunshine.

That said, dogs who are forced to spend the bulk of their time hiding in a shelter won’t enjoy the full value a dog run can provide.

So, try to incorporate shaded areas to give your dog space to play in the summer, as well as a few sunny areas, which will provide him with a place to bask in the sunshine on chilly winter mornings.

This is typically easier to accomplish with a long, narrow dog run than it is with a square enclosure. Just be sure to examine your yard carefully before laying out the run, as the sun and shade will shift over the course of the day (as well as over the course of the year).

Dog Run FAQs

Despite the myriad shapes, sizes, and layouts dog runs can take, there are a few common questions that routinely pop up when owners take on the project. We’ll discuss a few of these below.

How big should a dog run be?

This is a common question among dog owners, but it’s difficult to provide a quick-and-easy formula. You’ll just have to take your dog’s size and energy level into consideration, as well as the amount of space you have available.

However, many owners have found that a 10-foot-long, 3-foot-wide dog run provides sufficient space for a small- to medium-sized dog.

Personally, I feel like this is a bit small, but this is probably a good starting point, and you can only make a run as big as your budget and space allow.

How much does it cost to build a dog run?

Dog runs fluctuate wildly in price.

If you just want an anchored tether, you can probably complete the project for $20 to $40. If you have a garage full of odds and ends, you may be able to reduce the cost even more by scavenging for parts and components.

On the other hand, you could easily spend thousands of dollars making a large and luxurious outdoor kennel with attached housing enclosures and heating elements.

Cost-conscious owners can certainly construct a dog run for less, and exceptionally creative and innovative owners can probably build a fenced dog run for less than $200.

What is the best flooring for a dog run?

It is important to incorporate an appropriate ground cover or floor when designing a dog run. Doing so will not only prevent your dog from turning the run into a dirty mess, but it’ll also ensure that his paws remain comfortable while he’s getting some exercise.

Some of the best options include:

  • Grass is fantastic for your dog’s paws, although you may find it necessary to reseed the area once a year or so, as repeated use will kill some of the grass.
  • Pine bark or cypress mulch are both relatively comfortable for your dog’s feet. They’re also typically rather affordable materials, and they’ll help keep the dirt covered. However, you’ll likely find that the mulch ends up “escaping” from the run, so you’ll need to tidy up the area from time to time.
  • Astroturf or outdoor carpet is another viable choice. These materials may be a bit expensive, but they’ll last for years and provide a comfortable and cushioned running surface for your dog.
  • A thick layer of pine straw will likely help protect the ground while also being gentle on your dog’s paws. The pine straw will break down over time (and some of it will end up outside of the dog run), but pine straw is typically very affordable and easy to spread. While it’s great for a dog run as well as insulation for a dog house, it’s not a good choice for dog bedding – there are better materials for that!
  • Concrete is an affordable and supremely durable surface for a dog run. It is also easy to keep clean (you can just hose it off periodically). Concrete may be a bit rough on your dog’s paws, so you may want to incorporate some padded or soft areas in the run. Nevertheless, most dogs will be able to adapt to a concrete dog run.

Can you feed a dog while he’s in his run?

You can, but it isn’t the best idea.

For starters, leaving food outside will invariably attract rodents and other critters. It will also cause headaches for you, as you’ll need to go back and forth between your kitchen – where you’ll wash and fill your dog’s bowl – and the run.

Remember, the primary purpose of a dog run is to provide your dog with an area to get exercise. Dog runs shouldn’t be used as long-term accommodations for your pet.

That being said – you should always provide your dog with water, especially when he’s running about in his custom dog run!

How long can you leave your dog in a run?

Again, dog runs aren’t designed to provide long-term housing for your pet.

You’ll want to use a dog run to give your pet a chance to run around and get some exercise when you can’t take him to the park or when you are busy with other things.

There are a variety of factors that you’ll need to consider when deciding how long you can leave your dog in his run, including:

  • climate & weather
  • your dog’s toelrance for high and low temperatures
  • your dog’s exercise needs
  • desire for human companionship

But generally speaking, most dogs should be fine hanging out in their run for at least an hour, and some may be happy running around for 3 or 4 hours at a time.

Just be sure that your dog always has water and shelter to protect him from the elements.

***

Dog runs are a great way to give your dog a fun and safe place to play and exercise, and they work really well with most pets. Just be sure to customize the DIY dog run plans you decide to use to suit your property and your pet’s needs.

Have you ever built a dog run? We’d love to hear about it!

Tell us about the basic layout, the size, and the materials you used during the construction process. Your experiences may give other owners dog run design ideas of their own!

Want more DIY doggie projects? Check out our articles on:

  • DIY Dog Crates
  • DIY Dog Agility Courses
  • DIY Dog Bowl Stand

How To Insulate a Plastic Dog House

If your dog spends a lot of time hanging out in the backyard, it is important to make sure he has a good dog house that’ll give him a way to retreat from temperature extremes.

If you are starting from scratch, the easiest thing to do is just set your dog up with a dog house that is specifically designed to keep him warm.

We’ve talked about these kinds of dog houses before, so take a look at our guide to the best winter dog houses if this sounds like a good option for you and your pet.

You can physically warm up your dog’s house in a few different ways too – whether you want to use electricity to heat your dog’s house or not, there are several possibilities. The downside is that some of these methods are a bit complicated, so they aren’t viable options for all owners.

However, most owners should be able to insulate their dog’s house without too much effort. This will help keep your dog warmer in the winter, and it won’t cost you a fortune either.

We’ll talk about eight different ways – which primarily differ in terms of the materials you’ll need to use — to do so below.

Different Ways to Insulate Your Dog’s House

Note that a few of these options are pretty straightforward, while others are a bit more unusual and creative. We’ve tried to list the various options from the simplest to the most unusual.

It’s also important to point out that many of these insulating materials will need to be covered to prevent your dog from getting into physical contact with them.

The best way to do so is by cutting out wood or plastic panels which can then be installed on top of the insulating material. Alternatively, if your dog’s house has hollow walls, you can often stuff the insulating material inside this space.

1. Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation – the pink stuff you see in your attic – is a great option for your dog’s house.

It’s reasonably affordable and very easy to install; plus it’ll keep your dog’s house cozier than many of the other materials on this list.

And, unlike many other materials, you won’t need to use a table saw to cut it – a pair of heavy-duty scissors will suffice.

However, fiberglass insulation is pretty irritating to the skin (and lungs, if the fibers become airborne), so you’ll need to take precautions while you work with this material.

Additionally, you’ll want to keep the insulation sealed up in a way that prevents your dog from coming in contact with it. If your dog’s house features hollow walls, you can just stuff it inside.

If the walls of your dog’s house are solid, you’ll need to tack or staple the fiberglass fabric to the inside of the walls and then cover it with plastic or wood panels.

2. Reflective Foil

There are several types of reflective foil on the market, which will help reflect your dog’s body heat right back at him.

Reflective insulation products are likely the best option for many dog owners as they’re easy to install, relatively affordable, and highly effective.

In fact, these types of foils can be used in conjunction with most other types of insulation. For example, if you wanted to use fiberglass insulation and foil, you could begin by adhering the foil to the inside walls of your dog’s house, followed by a layer of fiberglass foam, and then wood or plastic panels to keep the fiberglass in place.

3. Bubble Wrap

Because it is essentially nothing more than a bunch of tiny air pockets, bubble wrap can make a great insulator. It’s also easy to install and won’t require you to use any special tools.

Note that we’re not talking about the bubble wrap that is used to package the stuff you buy on Amazon (although that would also work if you don’t have anything else available). We’re talking about special bubble wrap that is coated in a thin layer of aluminum and designed specifically for insulating applications.

You could tack, staple, or glue the bubble wrap in place. Just be sure that you seal up the bubble wrap behind some wood or plastic panels to prevent your dog from chewing it up or otherwise damaging it.

4. Polystyrene Foam

Polystyrene foam – better known by the brand name Styrofoam – is one of the most obvious materials to use when trying to insulate your dog’s house.

After all, polystyrene foam is used in a variety of insulating products, ranging from coffee cups to drink coolers. It’s also pretty cheap, readily available, and easy to work with.

However, Styrofoam is not the most durable material around, and it won’t last long in your dog’s house if you leave it exposed (some dogs may even chew on it, which is certainly not ideal).

The best way to use Styrofoam to insulate your dog’s house is by cutting a series of foam panels that match the inside walls, ceiling, and floor of the house. Tack, staple, or glue the panels in place, and then cover each panel with a similar-sized piece of wood or durable plastic.

5. Expanding Foam Spray

Foam sprays are pretty nifty products that will work really well for insulating your dog’s house. Admittedly, this will not be an especially affordable option for insulating large dog houses, but it may be cost effective for keeping small dog houses warm.

If you’re not sure why type to use, Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealant is a good choice to start with.

You’ll want to start by cutting out a set of wood or plastic panels and attaching them to the inside of your dog’s house. You’ll need to leave a space in between the panels and the walls, as well as a few holes to spray the foam through.

If your dog’s house has hollow walls, you can forego making the panels and just fill the internal cavity with the foam. Just be sure to plan before you spray, as the foam will start expanding immediately.

6. Carpet

Carpet is another viable option for insulating your dog’s house.

It isn’t going to transform your dog’s house into a sauna, but it will help cut the winter chill a little bit – especially if you use some on the ground as well as the walls and ceiling.

Carpet isn’t extraordinarily cheap, but you won’t need much to cover the inside of your dog’s house. You may even be able to obtain discounted carpet from a local supplier if you are willing to use whatever color or pattern they have laying around, and you don’t mind working with odd sizes and pieces.

It’s probably wisest to use an outdoor carpet for the sake of durability, but long-fibered indoor carpets will trap more air, and therefore provide more warmth for your pet.

Stapling the carpet into place is probably the best way to install it, but you may be able to adhere lightweight carpets to the walls with a strong glue or adhesive.

7. Wood

By itself, wood isn’t a fantastic insulator, but it is better than nothing, and it is pretty easy to install a set of wood panels in your dog’s house.

Additionally, if you maintain a small air gap between the dog house walls and the wooden panels you install, it’ll help provide additional insulating value.

To install the walls, just measure the interior dimensions of the doghouse and cut a panel for each of the three walls, as well as the roof and floor. Just be sure that you apply a high-quality water sealant to the wood before installing it. This will not only help the wood last longer, but it’ll also improve the insulating properties of the wood too.

The best woods to use in this application are soft woods, as they typically contain more small air pockets than hardwoods. So, look for pine or cedar lumber when using wood to insulate your dog’s house.

8. Water

This is admittedly an odd recommendation, but water is actually a very effective insulator.

It takes a lot of energy to warm water up, but once you do, it stays warm much longer than a similar quantity of air does. Water is also safe and essentially free, so it is definitely an attractive option to consider. However, because it is a liquid, it’s a bit tricky to use.

The best solution is probably to use a bunch of small water bottles and then use wood or plastic panels to keep the water bottles in place. You’ll have to use a bit of ingenuity when arranging the bottles, and you’ll want to ensure the cover panels fit snuggly to keep the bottles from shifting.

The water may freeze in really cold weather, but ice is also a pretty decent insulator, and you’ll want to bring your dog indoors in sub-freezing temperatures anyway. It’s also a good idea to empty a little of the water from each bottle before you install them, which will reduce the chances that they’ll burst if the water freezes.

Don’t Forget About the Cold Ground!

Insulating the walls and ceiling of your dog’s house is important, but it is also important to insulate your pooch from the cold ground below. This is typically easier than insulating the walls, and there are plenty of things you can use for this purpose.

Some of the best things to cover the floor of your dog’s house with include:

  • A cold-weather dog bed
  • Carpet
  • Mulch
  • Linens
  • Rugs
  • Newspaper

We’ve written an entire guide for selecting good dog house bedding before, so give it a read when you’re considering the best bedding options for your pup.

How Cold Is Too Cold For An Outdoor Dog?

It is important to note that insulation alone may not keep your dog comfortable if the temperatures drop very low. In fact, your dog may even suffer from hypothermia – which can potentially be fatal — if left outside in extremely low temperatures.

The exact temperature at which you’ll need to allow your dog to come inside and warm up varies based on a variety of factors, but the guidelines presented below will help you act in your dog’s best interest.

45 Degrees Fahrenheit

Most dogs should be comfortable outside until the temperatures dip below the 45-degree mark. At this point, you’ll want to start keeping a good eye on your dog.

Temperatures below 45 degrees may cause older or arthritic dogs to experience muscle stiffness, and short-haired or small-bodied dogs may become quite chilly.

32 Degrees Fahrenheit

Freezing temperatures can represent a threat for many dogs, especially those who have short hair, small bodies, or are simply poorly suited for cold temperatures. Hypothermia and frostbite become possible at such temperatures, and only the best-insulated and cold-tolerant dogs should be left outside in these temperatures.

20 Degrees Fahrenheit

Once temperatures fall into the 20-degree range, hypothermia becomes a very real possibility for all dogs. Small, elderly, sick, or short-haired dogs are very likely to suffer from hypothermia if left outdoors in such low temperatures, and even long-haired breeds may struggle to remain warm. Generally speaking, you’ll need to bring your pet indoors if the temperature falls to 20 degrees.

Obviously, you’ll need to use your judgment to determine when the temperatures are too low for your dog to remain outdoors.

For example, you probably don’t want to force your whippet or beagle to sleep outdoors when the temperatures are expected to dip below 45 or 50 degrees – even if your dog has a really warm dog house.

On the other hand, if the temperature is 30 degrees when you are leaving for work, but the forecast calls for sunny skies and rising temperatures, it is probably safe to let your 100-pound malamute hang out in the backyard (assuming he has a well-insulated dog house).

Just be sure to err on the side of caution – there’s rarely a compelling reason to keep your dog outdoors when the temperatures fall, and the ramifications for doing so can be quite tragic. So, just act in your pet’s best interest and consult with your vet if you are unsure of your dog’s cold tolerance.

Insulating your dog’s house is a great way to help keep Fido warm during the winter, but realize that insulation alone may not be sufficient if you live in an area with extremely low temperatures. So, it is important to monitor the temperature in the dog house regularly and always allow your pet to come inside if it gets too cold outside.

Do you have any other ideas for insulating a dog house? Be sure to share them with us in the comments below. We may even incorporate your suggestions into a future article update!

Buying and setting up the best dog house for winter helps your dog avoid dog hypothermia. This condition occurs during cold days when the dog’s body temperature drops below 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The body of your dog cannot heat itself up efficiently and quickly becomes colder, before a lethal shut down.

During cold days, dog owners must ensure their dogs are offered sufficient insulation using dog house heaters or simply, by installing a winter dog house. These insulated dog houses are engineered to block cold air streams from sneaking into your dog’s nest.

When Is It too Cold for Dogs in Winter?

As soon as a dog moves slower and starts shivering, it is time to offer external help to warm up the dog’s body. There are plenty of signs indicating that a dog is suffering from cold weather:

  • shivering – your dog’s body shakes for long periods of times
  • lethargy – your dog moves a lot less and shows signs of abnormal fatigue and listlessness
  • snuggling – excessive snuggling is a sign that your dog seeks warmth rather than cuddles
  • frostbites – freezing of the dog’s skin layers, generally affecting extremities, due to prolonged exposure to the cold
  • skin color change – blue-ish shades on your dog’s normally-pink tummy skin

If your dog lives outdoors throughout the year, you do want to monitor them closely during the coldest days of the year. Regular outdoor kennels won’t protect your day as well against harsh elements. Check for frostbites and color changes. If your dog shows barks or whines a lot, you will need to install a dog house heater outdoors or use a winter dog house indoors. More than low temperatures, wintertime is also a period in which blizzard, rain, and snowstorms can attack a dog’s organism.

List of the top 10 best insulated dog houses for winter.

Products Insulation Rating Price
1. ASL Solutions Insulated Dog Palace + Floor Heater Unbeatable! $$$$$
2. DP Hunter Dog House + Floor Heater Awesome! $$$$$
3. Pets Imperial Insulated Wooden Dog Kennel Awesome! $$$$
4. Petmate Indigo with Microban Great $$
5. Petsfit Insulation Kit Great $$
6. Confidence Pet Waterproof Outdoor Dog Kennel Decent $$$
7. TANGKULA Weather-Proof Dog House Outdoor Decent $$
8. Petmate Barnhome III Dog House Decent $
9. Animals Favorite Dog House Very Poor $
10. Best Pet Supplies, Inc. Indoor Tent Bed Very Poor $

For cheaper options, you may decide to go with a dog house heat lamp as a safe external source of heat. Regardless of the product category, most heating sources are electrically-powered. Therefore, safety is very important to avoid burning a dog’s skin, to electric hazards (e.g. cord chewing).

Regular Dog Houses vs Insulated Winter Dog Houses

The main goal of an insulated winter dog house is to isolate your dog’s home from outside. Dog bodies naturally heat up their immediate surroundings, as long as very little external air enters the area. Holes must be shut, walls should be thicker, and beddings should encourage heat retention. Insulated dog houses focus on the flooring, too, to avoid the passing of cold temperature from the ground to the dog house.

There is no deal kennel for winter since you also want your dog to be able to go in and out of their house — therefore it cannot be completely locked. Depending on your dog’s size, you may need to add fleece blankets and thermal mats to offer additional levels of protection against the subzero temperatures.

Materials and Designed Used

Buying a dog house for winter is a matter of understanding what measures do you want the dog house to take care of. Ideally, you want thick walls made from insulating materials and flooring that is designed to block the cold. Some materials and designs are better than others to protect against cold weather.

For instance, metal is bad for winter time as it keeps the cold. Obviously, grid-like dog crates and soft dog crates are useless against cold weather. If you are using an indoor playpen you should move it to a warm room or insulate it further.

Igloo-type dog houses are recommended due to their thicker walls. Additionally, raised floors help to trap the cold air between the bottom part of the house and the ground. Adding a fleece or sherpa blanket should further insulate the dog house floor.

Closable Door

Regardless of the heat inside the dog house, if the door is wide open, it will get cold again within seconds. Ideally, find a dog house with a flap or make a DIY thick curtain for your dog’s crate to stop cold air streams from entering the dog house.

Ideally, you want to shelter the dog house in a garage or within your own home. If you do so, the closed kennel door can matter a little less since it is already sheltered from air drafts.

Size of the dog

Small dogs require a lot more warmth due to their lack of body fat and thinner muscle mass. Additionally, small dogs such as Chihuahuas lack a thick coat that would otherwise help with warmth. Big dogs too can lack such furry coats and should also be taken care of accordingly. Greyhounds are great examples of large and impressive dogs that get cold very fast when not active. A fleece blanket or snuggly coat should both help to compensate for their lack of natural insulation.

Buying an outdoor winter dog house can also be challenging for giant breeds but our selection of reviewed products below cater for all types of dogs. Giant dog houses may be pricier, though.

Durable

Winter is harsh on dogs and on gears. Cold, dirt, mud, snow, rain, rust, mold, and a heap of other potential issues to occur. Depending on where you place your dog’s winter igloo, you may need to check it is in good shape weekly. Storms and strong winds can often deteriorate dog houses very quickly. The same goes for rain.

Hygiene is also important so you should probably wash up and completely dry your dog’s beddings regularly. Dampness keeps the cold for longer and cancels any insulation you may have built.

Can I use a dog house heater in my dog house?

Dog house heaters can be safely installed inside or right outside a regular outdoor dog house as long as safety instructions are followed. Most heaters manufactured for dog houses are encased within a protective housing. This is to make sure dogs’ hair and skin do not get burnt by accident.

However, you should not use heaters made for humans to heat up a dog house. Dogs may suffocate if the heat becomes too high. Dog house heaters have their own thermostat and mechanisms to reduce or stop the heating once a certain temperature is reached.

Top 10 Best Dog Houses for Winter

Review: Top 10 Best Insulated Dog Houses!

There is no specific product line labeled as “winter dog houses”. However, some products are clearly engineered in ways that make them winter-friendly. A winter-friendly kennel offers several improvements and comforts to help dogs spend a warm winter, even outdoors. That said, you should also use common sense to add warm beddings and potentially a dog house heater for extremely low temperatures.

Here is our list of the top 10 best winter dog houses with short reviews for each!

1. ASL Solutions Deluxe Insulated Dog Palace with Floor Heater

— Top #1 Dog House for Winter

73 Reviews $300.22 Buy on Amazon

The ASL Insulated Winter Dog House is by far the absolute best dog house for winter. Every little detail has been engineered to comfortably protect your dog from cold weather and harsh elements.

An electrically-operated floor heater is embedded in this palace in order to provide sustained warmth regardless of how freezing it is outdoors. Additionally, to retain the heat, each wall is stuffed with professional-grade styrofoam EPS material. It is thermal insulation and water barrier used in most real-life buildings that your winter dog house now includes.

Every dog house should also engineer a perfectly well-fitted dog in order to keep cold air outside. The ASL Solutions Dog Palace comes with a self-closing insulated door. There is no spare space between the frame and the door itself, unlike most flaps out there. The self-closing front door boasts a see-through window which helps anxious dogs see what is happening outside. Complete isolation doesn’t work well with all dogs! Additionally, to enhance training your dog to get used to its new winter home, you can remove the upper half of the entire palace!

Lastly, cleaning is an easy task as the floor is slightly sloped towards a drain hole from which water can evacuate. We recommend you to use some lukewarm to warm water to rinse the interior of the dog house. Let it air dry during the day so it is able to accommodate your dog at night.

2. DP Hunter Dog House with Floor Heater

— Great Insulated Dog House!

15 Reviews $260.30 Buy on Amazon

The DP Hunter brand provides high-quality pet products. This dog house is the perfect subzero dog house for multiple reasons. It comes with its own 30-watt heater that safely rests on the floor. Additionally, walls and ceiling are filled up with premium EPS insulation foam leaving your dogs perfectly cozy during the harshest days. This weather-proof dog house comes with a fantastic durable polystyrene exterior that further insulates the interior. When temperatures drop to extreme lows, this winter dog house will not disappoint.

Pets do not have to feel enclosed in a tiny space as the house is equipped with a self-closing door that comes with its own viewing window. Your dog can still have the pleasure of looking out around his surroundings while comfortably lounging in his hot spot. Window panels are adjustable and self-storing for simplicity. They are designed to reposition themselves depending on the season. During the colder months, they remain in a closed position, and in the warmer months into a cross ventilation position. Therefore, this deluxe dog house provides the protection your dog needs and craves without any of the hassles.

The floor remains raised above four inches off the ground, keeping the place dry as well as a draining hold with a slight slope. The mat, which features a built-in thermostat, is water-resistant and can be used for outdoor use, kennels, or garages.

3. Pets Imperial Insulated Wooden Dog Kennel

— Popular Insulated Wooden Dog House

Sale 73 Reviews $299.99 $159.99 Buy on Amazon

Wood is one of the best materials to use during cold nights because it naturally keeps warmth inside. This wooden winter dog shelter is a great option with professional insulation consisting of:

  • a layer of timber (tongue and groove),
  • a layer of Styrofoam, and
  • a layer of plywood board

This is a dog house designed to last for years even when being mistreated by the rain, snow and wind storms. The door may be the only little problem with this outdoor kennel. They decided to use flaps instead of a self-closing fitted door. However, thanks to the overall built quality, it is not a big problem though.

The manufacturer has not clearly expressed waterproof claims so I would recommend you to shelter this wooden dog house under a covered area. Better be safe than sorry, especially since this is not a cheap product.

The floor is removable to promote an easy and regular cleaning routine. This dog house can be well-ventilated by opening the roof via unlocking two locking arms. This makes this product a year-around great pick despite having walls 150% thicker than most other kennels on the marketplace today.

4. Petmate Indigo with Microban

— Best Dog Igloo House!

706 Reviews $244.87 Buy on Amazon

The Petmate winter dog house is ingeniously igloo-shaped and provides the most year-round housing for your dog. With an easy to clean design and expansive space inside, this homey cottage features some heavy-duty construction that provides the perfect insulation for any weather condition. Whether it’s hot or cold, this indigo dog house provides an offset doorway for easy entrance and exit for your pet’s convenience.

The roof ventilation provides maximum comfort for your pets as the unique design allows fresh air to circulate its premises. The Petmate dog house comes in medium, large, or extra-large sizes to fit any type of breed and size of the dog. The advanced Microban antimicrobial protection prevents odors and stains while keeping your pet’s home clean.

The inside of the Petmate features raised floors and side moats to keep liquids drained off encouraging a dry, comfortable resting place. The snap design is easily integrated into the product to allow for a simple assembly without needing any additional tools. For maximum comfort, Petmate provides accessories for added convenience including an Indigo-branded door and mat, which can be purchased separately.

Made in the USA, your pet can now live at ease during any time of the year while enjoying air in the summer, and heat during the winter. It can even be shaded and protected from wind and rain. Users appreciate the durability this winter dog house offers.

5. Petsfit Insulation Kit

— Best Insulation Kit for Petsfit Dog Houses

Sale 765 Reviews $100.00 $89.99 Buy on Amazon

The Petsfit insulation kit is not a dog house, but rather an insulation kit that comes with the Petsfit Wooden Dog House. The actual dog house that this kit is used for measures 41.3 inches in length, 25.8 inches in width, and 30 inches in height, however, this insulation kit fits in a Petsfit 45.6 in by 30.9 in by 32.1 dog house. The dog house is sold separately.

With this handy kit, buyers can be sure their dog house is getting the perfect insulation for subzero temperatures. The piece fits snuggly and keeps the inside nice and warm during those cold nights. It adds a sense of coziness and comfort for your dog’s enjoyment.

The material is easily removable and can be washed for sheer convenience. The insulation design is filled with an EPE foam that makes it easier to handle and provides the right fit for a leisurely rest. Just open the zippers to place or remove the foam. One of the most appreciated features is how easy it is to install as it comes in its own carry case for simple storage. A very sturdy bed kit, this Petsfit product can last a lifetime.

6. Confidence Pet Waterproof Outdoor Dog Kennel

— Great Insulated Dog House!

465 Reviews $119.99 Buy on Amazon

This outdoor kennel made by Confidence Pet is an innovative waterproof dog house. It provides ample room inside and has earned its spot at the top of the list. Users who have bought this dog house confirm that this pet house does not leak and provides the needed sturdiness any dog owner is looking for.

Its plastic construction makes it an ideal dog house for easy and effective cleaning, as well as a quick set up and assembly. It is a very appealing house that resembles a conservative, suburban home. The durable and tough plastic material creates a comfortable and personal space for your pets. The ingenious design is built to withstand all weather conditions. It features an entrance of medium size that measures 10.5 x 17 inches. Large and extra-large house entrances are also available for purchase that measure 12.5 x 20.5 inches and 14.1 x 24.6 inches, respectively.

The waterproof dog house provides a hygienic way for your dog’s “home away from home” settlement. It can beat those rainy days during outdoor use. When it’s extra cold outside, just throw a warm blanket over it to add additional insulation. Dog owners can also decorate by adding pillows inside.

7. TANGKULA Weather-Proof Dog House Outdoor

— Great Waterproof Dog House

Not ideal for cold weather, this dog house promotes waterproofing above all else. From the manufacturing of the roof to the raised floor, TANGKULA produces a wonderful outdoor kennel for rainy days. The angles of attack are manifold:

  • dodging the rain
  • evacuating water
  • promoting dryness

Meaning, the floor has been intentionally raised off the ground to encourage air circulation. That way, the floor stays dry and warm during cold days, and naturally cooler during warm days. This kennel uses the natural thermal properties of wood to perfection!

The main drawback to using it as an actual winter dog house is its open entrance. You would need to block and insulate the front door yourself using a thick blanket or by cutting out a flap. If your dog naturally enjoys cold weather, then such an open door won’t be a problem at all. If you have a small dog or one with a shorter coat, you will need to block the cold air from entering your dog’s palace.

8. Petmate Barnhome III Dog House

— Winter Dog House For Travel Days

Sale 908 Reviews $73.99 $62.77 Buy on Amazon

An ideal temporary bad weather shelter for dogs while traveling, this dog house is not a definitive solution. Instead, you can bring it while camping, trekking or even just when you go for a long walk in the woods. The casing is made of sturdy PVC so your dog is totally safe from the elements. Insulation-wise, this pet house may not perform well at all.

With its low price tag and its overall great quality of manufacturing, the Petmate Barnhome III is a good option for days you are on-the-go. It is super easy to clean just by rinsing it and you can store it away within seconds. It comes in different sizes but would be more adapted for small to medium breeds. Large and giant dogs may feel a little tight inside.

9. Animals Favorite Dog House

145 Reviews $48.49 Buy on Amazon

Thanks to a stabilized temperature and a raised floor, this outdoor dog house for winter will offer decent insulation against the mild cold. This is a good dog house for autumnal weather. Because of this lack of styrofoam and self-closing front door, this dog house is not the best candidate for geographical areas in which temperatures drop very low.

With a price nearly six times cheaper than the best winter-proof dog houses we recommend, it leaves you some spare budget to invest in a thermal heating pad and some blankets. Because of its small size, you should not install any dog heated inside this outdoor kennel.

On average, customers needed five to ten minutes to assemble the seven parts that make up this dog house. It is easy to do even for the least handy ones amongst you. This is not made of heavy-duty PVC so owners of heavy chewers should invest in sturdier and more premium insulated dog houses.

10. Best Pet Supplies, Inc. Tent Bed for Pets

— Best Indoor Dog Tent for Chilly Days

Sale 2,927 Reviews $29.99 $25.97 Buy on Amazon

Only for indoors and for small dogs! Your dog’s resting space couldn’t get any comfier than with this sleek-designed winter dog house. Ultimately created with your pet’s ease in mind, this tent bed features soft plush from top to bottom and side to side. With its faux suede material, corduroy and linen, your loved ones are bound to get lost in time while resting inside this haven.

The soft poly-foam lining gives this tent an all-around soft feel while keeping your puppies warm. This house is great for indoors. It is ok for outdoor use unless the weather permits otherwise, as these winter dog houses can easily get dirty or wet from the rain. Their decorative design matches any interior of the home as they are inspired by elegance for pet design. Colors can be chosen based on the décor of your home so that they will match.

The house provides ample 19 x 19 x 19-inch dimensions inside to accommodate your pets, providing a sense of security and ultimate privacy from outside influences. This tent is so easy to maintain it can be washed in the machine without ruining its original shape. It is also easy to carry and travel with as it acts as a plush, soft crate. This durable dog house is made to last a really long time. These dome beds do not collapse and fall over as other soft dog beds tend to do and come in a varied range of sizes to accommodate any breed. They also come with comfy pillows so your pet can comfortably get some shut-eye.

How to build a DIY dog house for winter?

Building a DIY winter-proof dog house requires thicker and insulation-friendly materials. Thick wood of high quality is ideal for the walls, while bricks and wood could be used for the flooring. Raise the floor to trap cold air between the ground and the house’s floor. Remember to completely seal the edges where walls meet as these often allow cold air to come in. If you can buy insulation foam materials, wrap it around the house’s roof, walls and floor to enhance heat retention.

An important part is to turn the front door as a flap. That way, cold air is blocked outside of the home and the dog’s natural body heat warms up the house. For adequate ventilation, you may use tiny holes in strategic spots so fresh air still comes in. If the winter-proof dog house is not sheltered in a garage or covered area, reinforce the roof using a waterproof lining. Heavy rain can degrade any regular flooring within a few hours, especially when the dampness is sustained for days or weeks.

Check out the below video as it offers great insights on building and proofing your DIY dog house!

How to care for dogs in winter?

Cold weather makes dog bodies burn a lot more calories in order to constantly elevate their body temperature. Therefore, a dog needs a lot more calories during cold days. Providing more frequent meals to your dog may be better than your usual daily single large meal. That way, the calories from their diet can be used more efficiently throughout the day.

Using a heated dog bowl will also allow your dog to drink warm water throughout the day and night, and prevent the liquid from freezing if left outside. Add-ons such as dog blankets and heating mats definitely better your dog’s life during winter. When dealing with any electrical appliance, indoor or outdoor, take precautions to avoid obvious dramatic accidents.

Additional Winter Dog House Equipment

Recommended additional items for kennel houses during winter

Dog House Furnace

Sale 605 Reviews $189.95 $129.95 Buy on Amazon

The obvious quick fix for any dog owner is to buy and install a dog house furnace. I would love to hate these but they do work extremely well and do what they say they do. They are moderately priced but do last for several years. Good dog house heaters such as the Akoma Hound Furnace, need you to manually install them within your dog’s kennel. While most people are happy doing it, others who are not very handy will hesitate. If you have a large kennel or some kennel runs, such heaters are perfect and professional-grade.

Thermal Pads

Thermal pads are flat heating devices placed under a dog bed or acting as dog beds. Products vary in design but the most important distinction to pay attention to is their heating mechanism. A lot of heating pads are electrically powered and require to be plugged. While others use special materials to offer a self-heating and heat-retention mechanism. For these, the dog’s natural body heat bounces back as soon as it leaves the dog’s body.

Thermal mats and thermal pads for dogs are simpler to use and a lot cheaper to buy. However, heating pads may be insufficient during very harsh cold weather when temperatures enter the sub-zero zone.

Heated Dog Bowls

Sale 386 Reviews $34.99 $28.99 Buy on Amazon

Dogs should remain hydrated whether it is hot or cold outside. Yet, too many dog owners forget that water will freeze when left outdoors so using a heated dog bowl is a must. Do not boil the water and leave it out as it represents a danger for the dog who tries to drink it right away, and will eventually cool down and freeze after dozens of minutes.

When buying a heated dog bowl, be sure to see what low-temperature limits it has. Ideally, pick a product that remains intact even at 20 degrees below zero F.

Fleece Blankets

Thermal blankets for dogs are cheap and easy to stock up. They can be washed with regular clothes, and you can pile them up on a dog bed for more heat retention. Dog blankets come in so many shapes, sizes, and materials. You need to try a few before finding the one(s) that your dog really loves to be snuggled up in. Fleece, sherpa and microfiber plush are great materials during cold weather and they won’t set you back by much. When you place an order, plan ahead and buy a couple of sets so you have one ready to be used while the other set is in the laundry.

Kennel Heat Lamps

Heat lamps are specially-designed lamps that emit heat rather than visible light. Infrared heat lamps are a great way to provide an external source of heat controlled environment for dogs, puppies, and small animals like chickens. Farmers have been using these infrared lamps for years in order to maintain their coop temperature constant.

Heated Outdoor Dog Houses

While most dog houses are purchased for their looks and comfort, if you expect very cold temperatures you may want to consider buying a heated outdoor dog house instead. Indeed, these outdoor kennels come with a heating system that will provide a sustainable source of warmth for your outdoor-living dog. They generally come with a floor heater embedded or special foam panels.

The 3 Best Dog Houses For Cold Weather

This may go without saying, but insulation is the key thing to look for when shopping for the best dog houses for cold weather. While it’s usually best to keep your dogs inside during winter months, if you are not able to, providing your pup with an insulated outdoor dog house where he or she can get away from the rainy and cold weather is the next best thing. And, as you’ve probably encountered thus far, not every outdoor dog shelter is designed for cold climates.

Ideally, every part of the house from the floor to the walls and ceilings should have insulation. You also want to make sure any dog house you consider purchasing for cold weather is elevated above the ground, weatherproof to withstand the moisture from rain and snow, and fitted with a closing door or door flap to keep out the wind.

When deciding on what size to buy for your dog, the general rule of thumb is that a dog house should be at least 25 percent longer and wider than your dog’s own measurements. They should also have enough space to be able to turn around easily. Lastly, providing your dog with a self-regulating heating pad inside his dog house will help make them as comfortable as possible during the winter months.

With that in mind, here are some of the best dog houses for cold weather you can buy.

1. Best For Small To Medium Dogs

  • Interior size: 19 x 25 x 17 inches

This DP Hunter dog house is designed with petite-to-medium dogs in mind and is smaller than many other dog houses on the market. It’s raised 4 inches off the ground and boasts foam insulation in the walls and ceiling. It’s also built with a water-resistant polystyrene plastic exterior and a removable, slightly sloped floor with a drain hole and an internal-thermostat-cld heating mat to safely keep your pup warm.

However, please note: If your dog is a chewer, you will likely need to cover up the heating mat since it’s external and not built into floor. Otherwise, your dog may be inclined to nibble on it. (One Amazon reviewer recommended covering the mat with tile, although this will likely reduce some of the effectiveness of the heater.) As a bonus, this dog house comes with a lifetime warranty against cracking and breaking and can be used year-round. In warmer months, simply remove the heating pad and open up the windows for ventilation.

2. Best For Large Dogs

  • Interior size: 39 x 25 x 27 inches

This large dog house has a cozy, wood cabin appearance, and it’s great for dogs under 154 pounds. While it’s not specifically mentioned by the manufacturers, many reviewers have mentioned that the lumber exterior is water-resistant. The inside walls are composed of timber, Styrofoam, and plywood insulation for maximum insulation and protection against the elements. In fact, the manufacturer claims that the walls are 150 percent thicker than those of other outdoor dog kennels.

Additionally, the house is raised 2 inches above ground and has plastic caps on its feet to keep the wood from rotting. Its floor is removable, and its roof can also be opened up for easy access to the inside, making it easy to clean. The entrance is simple to use and covered in plastic flaps to block the wind. For the affordable price point, all these features make this shelter a great deal. Plus, you can always purchase a dog-safe heating pad for extra warmth. For example, two of these popular heating pads for dogs should lay nicely on the floor of this house.

3. Best For Tall Dogs

  • Interior size: 24 x 35.5 x 30.5 inches

For taller dogs, especially breeds like Greyhounds and Whippets, this “dog palace” by ASL Solutions is the best choice. Although the width is smaller than other houses on this list, this dog house is extra deep and tall, standing over 2.5 feet in height.

The entire structure is raised 4 inches off the ground, and it contains a superior amount of insulation to keep your pup toasty on chilly nights. The plastic exterior is insulated with 2 to 4 inches of recycled foam in every panel of its construction including the floor. (Although, if you live in a really cold climate, you might want to consider purchasing the company’s separate floor heater as well.) This home’s self-closing door is also a great feature, as it even contains a small window so your dog can gaze out.

Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle’s editorial and sales departments.

Best Dog Houses for Winter: Lodging For Canines in Cold Weather!

Although it is generally preferable to allow your dog to sleep inside at night, this isn’t possible in all situations.

In such cases, you’ll want to provide your pup with the next best thing: a high-quality doghouse, so he can stay warm, comfortable and dry through the night.

This is especially important in the winter when the temperatures fall and the cold winds howl.

Below, we’ll discuss some of the things you want in a dog house, recommend a few of the best available models and even discuss how you can make your own doghouse if you can’t find a commercial product to your liking.

See our quick picks below, or keep reading for full reviews and more detailed winter weather info!

Quick Picks: Best Winter Dog Houses

Preview Product Price
Petsfit Solid Wood Outdoor Dog House for Large Dogsup to 80 lb, 1-Year Warranty

Rating

696 Reviews

$199.99 Buy on Amazon
ASL Solutions Deluxe Insulated Dog Palace with Floor Heater (38.5″ x 31.5″ x…

Rating

28 Reviews

$288.00 Buy on Amazon
CozyCatFurniture Cedar House for Outdoor or Feral Cats, Thermal-ply Insulation,…

Rating

13 Reviews

$199.93 Buy on Amazon
Climate Master Plus Insulated Dog House w Door – Extra Large

Rating

1 Reviews

$1,679.90 Buy on Amazon

Important Features for Winter Dog Houses

Any company can slap together a few planks of wood or plastic, cover it in a cute paint job and start selling them around the country, but you’ll need a high-quality dog house to ensure your canine enjoys the comfort he deserves.

There are big differences between good dog houses and their not-so-good counterparts, so it is important to be selective when making your choice.

Accordingly, you’ll want to make sure that any dog house you select:

Adequately blocks the wind. Just like you’ll catch a chill if your house has a draft, your dog will feel colder if the wind is blowing into his abode. Make sure that there are no large gaps in the house and that your dog can completely avoid the wind blowing in the door. Double plastic flap doors are often a great way to keep the chill out and warm air in.

Keeps your pooch dry. If your dog gets wet, he can become seriously – even dangerously – chilled. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that any house you purchase for him has a solid roof that does not leak. It is also important to select a house that won’t allow water to splash or drip in from the door.

Allows your dog to enter and exit easily. Your dog will feel most comfortable using his house if he can easily pass through the door; if he has trouble doing so, he may be reluctant to enter it. This essentially means that you must measure your dog carefully and compare his height and width against the size of the door.

Provides your dog with an appropriate amount of space. You want your dog to have enough space to lay comfortably inside the house, but you don’t want the house to be too large, as this will prevent him from staying as warm as he would in a smaller house. The house should be just large enough to allow him to stand comfortably and turn around inside.

Is well-built, sturdy, and safe. You don’t want the house to collapse with your dog inside, nor do you want him to become injured on sharp objects, so be sure to prioritize quality and craftsmanship when making your selection.

Has adjustable feet to raise it off the ground. Dog houses that sit directly on the ground often rot more quickly than those that are raised a few inches above the soil (sitting directly against the cold ground also makes the dog house chillier). Additionally, adjustable feet allow you to keep the house level on uneven ground. If you choose a house without feet, you may want to put a piece of thick plastic under the house as a moisture barrier.

The Best Winter Dog Houses for Canines in Cold Weather

There aren’t a ton of time-tested, owner-approved dog houses on the market that are likely to keep your dog toasty during the winter. However, we did find two dog houses that we feel confident recommending to our readers: One that is adequate for mild temperatures and windy locations, and another that should keep your dog warm in extremely cold climates.

1. Petsfit Dog House

About: The Petsfit Dog House is a moderately insulated dog house that is a good choice for owners living in areas with relatively mild winters. It features a fairly conventional design, but it comes with a few features that will certainly help keep your dog warmer in the winter.

Product

$129.99

Rating

709 Reviews

Details

  • Inner Size of the room: 16.5″X18″x16″. Door Dimension: 9″ X 13″. More details, please refer to the…
  • Fit small dogs smaller than standard Poodles standard)., Please order Size 33″lx25″wx23″h if you…
  • Weatherproof pet home keeps pets safe and dry in extreme conditions
  • Made from kiln dried cedar and treated with natural color stain, easily assemble with pre-drilled…

Features: The Petsfit Dog House is made from kiln-dried cedar planks, which are available in three sizes and two colors (Red and Light Grey). Although there is no insulation included, you can purchase an optional insulation kit.

This house is raised off the ground and some of the sizes come with a plastic door flap to block the wind – both of which will help keep the house more comfortable in the winter.

The house also features a hinged roof, which can be opened for easy access, and the screw holes are all pre-drilled. This makes the house easier to assemble than many other options on the market.

PROS: Most owners who tried the Petsfit Dog House liked the product and recommended it to other owners. Several owners specifically praised the hinged roof, quality of construction and the house’s aesthetics. Several owners reported that it kept their dog warm in very cold temperatures.

CONS: A few owners complained that the floor slats do not contact each other, so there are small gaps through which air can pass. This is apparently a purposeful design choice, intended to make the house more comfortable in the summer, and it is easy to rectify by placing a blanket or bed on the floor.

2. ASL Solutions Deluxe Insulated Dog Palace with Floor Heater

About: The ASL Solutions Dog Palace is one of the best-insulated dog houses available, and it is designed with a number of different features to help keep your dog warm in the winter. Additionally, this house features all of the things you’d want in any dog house, including easy-to-clean surfaces and great aesthetics.

$288.00

Rating

28 Reviews

  • Lifetime Warranty against cracking and breaking / Self-closing door with viewing window
  • Sloped floor with drain for easy cleaning / Dimensions: 31.5W x 47.5D x 38.5H in.
  • EPS Foam insulation in walls and ceiling / Raised floor to keep interior dry
  • Ideal for use in all weather conditions / Designed for medium to large dogs

Features: The ASL Solutions Dog Palace is made from insulated polystyrene walls, which will help retain your dog’s body heat. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg: It also comes with a floor heater and a self-closing door to help keep that heat inside.

A US-made product, the Dog Palace is well-built and designed to accommodate large dogs, such as Labrador retrievers and St. Bernards. Additionally, the ASL Solutions Dog Palace is backed by a lifetime warranty against cracking and breakage. Also, unlike some dog houses which are light enough to blow around in the wind, the Dog Palace weighs more than 60 pounds, so it will stay where you put it.

PROS: The ASL Solutions Dog Palace received very positive reviews from the owners who tried it. Most found that it was easy to assemble, easy to clean and warm enough to keep their dog comfortable at very low temperatures. Additionally, most dogs seem to love the house – especially the included viewing window built into the self-closing door.

CONS: The only complaints from owners related to assembly, so this is probably not the ideal home for owners who aren’t good at assembling furniture and similar items. It is also rather expensive, but this is to be expected of a premium dog house.

Honorable Mentions

There are a number of other dog houses designed to keep dogs warm in the winter, but lack the number of owner reviews we like to see before recommending a product.

However, the following dog houses may still warrant consideration – just be sure to scrutinize the information provided by the manufacturer carefully before making your choice. You may also consider making adjustments or upgrading the dog houses yourself to make them more winter proof.

We found three different houses that deserve consideration and recognition in the honorable mention category:

1. CozyCatFurniture Insulated Cat House

Yes, the CozyCatFurniture Insulated House is actually a house designed for cats, but it may be a great choice for small dogs too. Made from rot- and insect-resistant cedar planks, this Canadian-made house features Thermal-Ply insulation in the floors, walls, and ceiling to help keep your pet cozy. A door flap and a back door are optional features available with the unit.

The door opening is only 7 inches wide and 9 inches tall, but this will likely accommodate Chihuahuas, Yorkies, and other small breeds comfortably. The small size of the door will also help to keep the wind from blowing in the door. The few owners who shared their impressions of the house had mostly positive things to say about it.

$199.93

Rating

13 Reviews

  • WATERPROOF OUTDOOR CAT HOUSE: Optional Back Door and Vinyl Flaps are Available.
  • NATURAL CEDAR CONSTRUCTION: The wood of choice for long-lasting outdoor use.
  • 1/2″ THICK THERMAL-PLY INSULATION: It is placed inside the floor, walls and ceiling.
  • EASY ASSEMBLY: The cat house ships UNASSEMBLED. Simple instructions included for fast assembly with…

2. Climate Master Plus Insulated Dog House

The Climate Master Plus Insulated Dog House appears to be one of the best dog houses available for owners living in cold climates, and the only thing that prevents us from wholeheartedly recommending it is the lack of user reviews.

Although the house looks like most other dog houses, the walls are actually made from PanelAbode™ Laminated Engineered Panels to provide optimum levels of insulation. It also features a locking, all-weather door and several weather seals to help prevent drafts. The roof is also removable, which makes cleaning the house interior quick and easy.

Sale −$316.09 $1,679.90

Rating

1 Reviews

  • The extra large insulated dog house is designed specifically for large dog breeds weighing up to…
  • External Dimensions – 44 3/4 Width x 47″ Depth x 49 1/4″
  • Internal Dimesnsions – 36 1/2″ Width x 38″ Depth x 43 1/4″
  • Weight – 160 lbs

3. Dogeden Open Yard Series Dog House

The Dogeden Open Yard Series Dog House features an unusual and intriguing design.

This house actually forms more of a burrow than a proper dog house, and it requires you to dig a small pit in your yard during installation. This enables your dog to crawl through the door and retreat to a comfortable and cozy underground chamber.

This semi-subterranean design mimics the types of burrows and dens wild animals use, and it relies on the ground to insulate your pet.

It features a 3-inch lip that sits above ground level and prevents water from entering the house. This house looks great and probably keeps dogs very warm, so we’d love to hear from owners who’ve tried it out.

Winter Dog House Accessories: Other Things to Consider

Even if you provide your dog with the warmest dog house you can find, he may still shiver and suffer through exceptionally cold nights. But there are a few items that you can use to help keep him even warmer and perfectly comfy in his canine castle.

Some of the most important things to consider for your dog’s house include:

A Heated Bed

A heated bed is a great way to give your pup a comfortable sleeping place and keep warm at the same time. Heated beds can provide therapeutic benefits for dogs with ailing joints, arthritis or hip dysplasia. We’ve covered heated dog beds before, so be sure to check out our comprehensive review to find some of the best options.

You’ll want to be sure to select a bed that is suitable for outdoor use and that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines explicitly to prevent your pup from being shocked or burned. You may even want to select a self-heating bed, which requires no electricity.

A Heated Mat

Heated mats work similarly to heated beds, but they are a better option for dogs who don’t like beds and owners who’ve already provided their dog with a cozy bed to sleep in. The Milliard Indoor/Outdoor Heated Pet Pad and the Farm Innovators Heated Pet Mat are both great options for these types of situations.

However, while electricity can definitely do wonders for warming up your dog, it’s really not a safe option for chewers.As when using a heated bed, you’ll want to keep safety at the forefront of your mind – especially as it relates to the cords associated with heat mats and beds.

Some owners try to protect the cord by threading it through a steel or PVC pipe. You could also bury the cord, and thread it up through a hole drilled into the floor of the dog house. Another option would be to use conduit to keep the cord protected. In all three cases, the basic idea is the same: Prevent your dog from having access to the cords.

A Water Bowl

You don’t want your pup to be parched during the night, so it is always a good idea to place a water bowl right outside his house. Be sure to use a wide, heavy dish to help prevent spills (the Ethical Stoneware Dog Dish is a great option), and you may want to select an ice-free water bowl if the temperatures in your area drop below the freezing point.

The K&H Pet Products Thermal-Bowl fits the bill perfectly, is designed to keep your pet’s water from freezing. It’ll prevent freezing down to -20 degrees Fahrenheit, and comes in sizes ranging from 32 ounces to 1.5 gallons.

Blankets, Litter or Bedding For Dog House Insulation

It usually makes sense to cover the floor of your dog’s house with a bit of extra insulation. The easiest way to do so is by covering the bottom of your pet’s house with a good indoor-outdoor blanket (or even several).

You can use any old blanket you like, but if you want it to last and provide the best possible comfort for your pet, consider one designed specifically for outdoor use. The KritterWorld Microplush Sherpa Snuggle Blanket is a great choice, as it is available in several sizes and colors, it’s designed for outdoor use, and it is machine washable and dryable.

You can also take the old-school approach, and use a littler-style product to help cushion and insulate your dog’s home (you can actually put the litter under your dog’s blanket for the ultimate in canine comfort). Avoid hays or grasses, as they frequently harbor bacteria and parasites; instead, opt for wood shavings.

Pine and cedar are the most popular choices, as they are relatively inexpensive, they exhibit pest-repelling properties, and they smell nice too. However, these odors are sometimes quite strong in enclosed spaces, and some dogs suffer from respiratory ailments after sleeping on shavings (particularly cedar shavings). You can read up on more pros and cons of various dog house bedding options here.

Additionally, shavings can be quite dangerous for puppies and pregnant or whelping females, so they should be avoided in such cases.

Also make sure to insulate the space between the ground and your dog’s house (which will hopefully be raised so it’s not resting against the cold ground). A bit of Mylar (discussed further below) would help radiate your dog’s body heat back into the house, or you could use a piece of Styrofoam to help insulate the house.

You can also find insulation boards made from a combination of Styrofoam (or a similar material) and Mylar at most big box home improvement stores. This will allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds and keep your pooch’s house quite warm.

Want to really make sure your dog is snug and cozy? Make sure to read our full list of strategies to heat your dog’s winter dog house up without electricity.

A Durable and Safe Chew Toy

You want to ensure your dog is adequately stimulated – especially if he spends lots of time in his house during the day.

To keep your pup amused, toss a safe and durable chew toy inside to give him something to do and help prevent him from chewing on his house.

Check out our article on good chew toys for pit bulls to peruse a few of the toughest (and therefore safest) chew toys around. But if you’re in a hurry, and just want a quick recommendation, it’s hard to go wrong with something like the Goughnuts Maxx 50 Stick or a Kong Rubber Ball Extreme.

DIY Solutions: Building Your Own Dog House

If you possess a few basic tools, basic carpentry skills, and a bit of time you can build your own dog house.

You’ll usually be able to save a few bucks by doing so, and it gives you the chance to construct a house that meets the specific needs of you and your mutt. And as long as you keep your dog’s safety in mind, it’s a pretty low-risk project with little downside.

You’ll probably want to start with a good design or blueprint if you aren’t a design- or construction-oriented professional. Fortunately, they aren’t hard to come by; check these out for some great ideas:

  • Basic Dog House – These plans are great for owners interested in building a basic, no-frills dog house.
  • Extreme A-Frame House – Some owners may simply like the aesthetics of this design, but it may provide extra value for owners living in snowy climates (the A-frame roof design will shed snow effectively).
  • Insulated Dog House – A great choice for owners who need to provide their pup with an extremely warm house, these plans uses Styrofoam to help insulate the walls.

This list also includes a number of other plans and designs, if none of the three listed above tickle your fancy.

The actual building procedure will vary based on the plans you choose, but you’ll want to keep a few basic things in mind while building your own doghouse:

Assemble all of the necessary tools and materials at the outset. Part of the reason that celebrity carpenters make things look so easy is that they set up everything before they get started. This prevents you from having to drop what you’re doing and go searching through your garage for something during the middle of your project.

Don’t exceed your skillset. Picking an unnecessarily difficult project will only set you up for frustration and failure. If you have to go buy a circular saw and a tape measure to build the house, you may want to go with a cute little barn-style house, rather than the two-story Victorian mansion.

Measure twice; cut once. This is just a helpful adage to keep in mind when building anything. After all, you can always remove more material, but it is pretty tough to make a plank longer, for example.

Double and triple check for hazards. Before you let your dog begin using the house, be sure that you go over the entire structure with a fine-toothed comb to ensure there are no nails or sharp surfaces that may injure your pet. It is also important to look for small gaps, which may pinch your pooch.

Watch out for water. Moisture will seep into most woods over time, which will lead to decay. Avoid this by using rot- and insect-resistant woods – cedar is the most common choice – or selecting a paint or waterproofing agent that is safe for dogs (although you’ll still want to allow any fumes to dissipate before allowing your dog to go inside the house).

Select a style with a strong roof. Some dogs love to embrace their inner Billy goat and end up spending lots of time hanging out on top of their dog house, Snoopy-style. Accordingly, you’ll want to ensure the roof is strong enough to support your dog’s weight, if you suspect he’ll use the roof as a perch.

Leave a small hole for an electric cord. If you plan to use a heated bed or mat, may want to drill a small hole near the floor of the house. This will keep the house tidier and safer, and it isn’t very hard to do. Just be sure that the hole is large enough that the end of the electric cord can pass through it easily. You may also want to insulate around the whole to get a nice seal and prevent cold air coming through via the cord opening.

Consider using Mylar. Mylar is a thin, reflective film that is used to make “survival blankets” and in the construction of self-heating dog beds. It works by reflecting the infrared rays emitted by your dog’s body right back at him. Obviously, you’ll need to use the Mylar in a way that precludes your dog from chewing on it, but there are dozens of ways you could conceivably incorporate into the construction of a doghouse.

***

Have you found a good doghouse that keeps your pup warm in the winter? Did you build your dog his own custom home?

Tell us about your purchase or project, and let us know how it has worked for you. Does your dog appear to stay warm enough? What would you have done differently, were you to have the chance?

We’d also love for you to share any great plans you’ve found or hacks you’ve developed to keep your canine cozy.

Being able to provide shelter for your dog is a necessity if you want to keep him happy and healthy. He may have fun romping around outside and taking in all of the wonderful smells. Not to mention that you get to keep the inside of your home free of fur. Whether your dog simply does better outdoors or your home is too small for them, it’s important that you provide some kind of shelter that he can use. This is even more essential during the cold winter months, when he is at risk for hypothermia and frostbite.

Even cold weather dog breeds that do well in winter need some kind of shelter from the ice and snow so that their health is not being jeopardized. In this article, there are tips and how-to on winterizing your dog house, as well as building one from scratch.

Contents

Hypothermia and frostbite

Winter can be a cruel time for those who are exposed to the elements, and the same is true of your dog. Hypothermia sets in when your dog’s internal temperature is abnormally low. This can result in damage to your dog’s central nervous system. The heart and rate of blood flow are also affected, as they begin to slow in an attempt to preserve themselves. Signs of hypothermia include an irregular heartbeat, impaired consciousness, and irregular breathing.

If you see that your dog is acting lethargic or being slower than normal, then you should seek medical attention immediately.

Frostbite is a more difficult condition to diagnose, due to your dog’s fur. Your dogs extremities should be checked on a regular basis, such as their ears, tail and paws. If they feel extremely cold, then they are suffering from frostbite. This is when the body retracts the blood flowing into the extremities in order to keep the core temperature regular. This means that ice crystals can form in your dog’s blood and lead to damage in his veins and arteries.

To make sure Rover is protected while outside (for his regular walk or for a quick play in the snow), you should protect his body with a Dog Blanket Coat that covers the back, the chest, and the belly. This coat is recommended especially if your dog’s hair is short and rare.

Where to put your dog house

Even though his shelter may be prepared for winter, taking the extra steps to pick a spot that maximizes on the insulation of the dog house ensures that he reaps all of the rewards. First, the opening of the dog shelter should face a direction that doesn’t directly point into the wind. Wind chill can be even colder than the surrounding temperatures, and the insulation will do no good if the wind is blowing directly into his home.

If this proves to be difficult, you can cover the entrance of the shelter with scraps of carpeting, old bathmats, or plastic sheeting. Secondly, choose a part of the yard that is not prone to flooding. When the ice and snow melts, the yard can become quite wet and swampy. Choosing elevated areas will ensure that he’s dry and avoid the inside of his shelter from becoming wet as well.

With nowhere to be dry, your dog can have hypothermia set in very quickly if he is always wet and cold. Thirdly, the dog shelter should be raised from the ground through the use of some kind of platform.

The flat inside surface of the shelter is in constant contact with the ground, which makes it quite easy for the inside of the dog house to become cold. Elevation from the ground causes the house to retain more heat, making it easier for your dog to stay warm.

Winterizing a dog house

If you already have a doghouse in place in your yard, then there are some extra purchases that you can make in order to help your dog stay warm during the winter. Many doghouses that you can purchase at the store are already insulated for both cold and summer months, but it helps to go that extra step to maximize the comfort of your dog.

These options are cost-effective solutions that will protect the health of your dog and ensure that he is comfortable. They can also be switched around if your dog isn’t particular about any of the additions that are made.

  • Insulation: many dog houses are already equipped with a variety of insulation materials, but you can always add your own. Check that the dog house that you’ve purchased has insulation in all parts of the shelter. If not, then you’re probably going to have to add your own, especially in the floor. Styrofoam sheets or polystyrene foam can be used between the walls of the dog house, and make great insulating material.
    However, if you want to offer your dog a cozy home even during the worst winter days, you should consider a Dog House Insulation Kit. This will keep the cold outside while Rover can keep warm inside.
    Be sure to check your dog’s house for any holes or weak spots, as the last thing you need is for your dog to start using the insulation as his new chew toy. Not only will that undo all of your work, but it can also make your dog very sick.
  • Heating pads and units: if you worry that the insulation alone won’t be enough to keep your dog warm, then you can always choose to include heating pads or heating units within the dog shelter to help. Heating pads should be no bigger than the size of the shelter interior, and should not be left on at all times. Doing so can leave your dog at risk for being burned or becoming dehydrated.
    Heating pads should be no bigger than the size of the shelter interior, and should not be left on at all times. Doing so can leave your dog at risk for being burned or becoming dehydrated.
    Heating units can be added to warm the exterior of the house, which will radiate to within. If possible, you can put these devices on some kind of timer so that it only warms up when the dog needs it. No matter which option you choose, it’s important that the cords be hidden from your dog in order to avoid the risk of chewing. An electrocuted dog should be the least of your worries during the winter season.
  • Bedding: choosing bedding that’s cheap such as sheets and fabric bedding may seem like the easy option, but they’re not going to keep your dog warm if they get wet. Lining the bottom of the shelter with straw and/or cedar shavings will do well to keep your dog both warm and dry. They’re quite cheap, and come in quite large bags, meaning that they can be used over and over again. Be aware that you’re going to have to change the bedding on a regular basis — once every two to three weeks — in order to provide constantly clean and warm bedding for your dog.
  • Water: it’s easy for your dog’s water bowl to freeze during the winter, and he’s going to need a constant supply of fresh water during the day. You can choose to change his water every few hours, or you can splurge a little and decide to get a heated water bowl to prevent his water from freezing. These are easy to find in any pet store, and should not be placed in the middle of your dog’s bedding.

How to install styrofoam sheets

If you’re eager to learn how to place Styrofoam sheets of polystyrene insulation into your dog’s house, it’s a lot easier than you think.

It will help to trap your dog’s heat within the dog house so that he can stay warm even on those really cold days.

These steps are best fit for a wooden dog house that is square.

  1. The first thing you’ll need to do is remove the front wall of the dog house. This gives you easy access to the inside so that you can measure everything properly. Using a measuring tape, measure the dimensions of the inside.
  2. The next step is to mark the dimensions into the panels of the insulation using a straight edge.
  3. The panels should then be cut out of the foam using a utility knife. This ensures that the edges are straight and will fit together when placed inside the dog house.
  4. The foam panels are then stapled to the outside of the dog house using a staple gun. The inside should be checked to make sure that the staples haven’t gone all the way through so that your dog won’t be injured.
  5. Another foam panel should be stapled to the front wall of your dog house. Laying the wall flat on the ground can make this a lot easier, and a hole should be cut in the shape of the entrance. In order to avoid rough edges, you should smooth them down with sandpaper.
  6. Once the front wall is reattached to your dog house, you should start cutting panels of 1/4-inch plywood in order to cover the foam. The panels should be at least three inches wider than the wall itself so that it can cover the corners of the foam.
  7. Using a staple gun, staple the plywood to the foam. You can paint if desired. Examine the areas between the walls, floor and ceiling of the dog house. If there are any gaps and/or cracks, then you can fill them using a caulk gun and caulk to keep the cold air from seeping in those these faults.

Building a dog heater out of a paint can

If you don’t want to spend the money to buy a heater for your dog’s house, you can build on yourself from a few simple materials. All you’ll need is

  • one 100 watt flood light
  • a paint can
  • an extension cord
  • a lamp base
  • wire clamp
  • a drill
  • a hole saw equal or slightly larger than the hole in an electrical box
  • jigsaw
  • drill bits
  • corner brackets
  • screws and nuts
  • 1/2-inch wood screws
  • wire strippers

These materials will help to keep your dog’s house at roughly 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter.

Be aware that if you have no electrical experience, you may be putting your dog at risk if an electrical fire starts. Keep an eye on the house for a few hours after everything is installed to make sure that it is in working order.

  1. Using a marker, trace the outer lip of the pain can where you’d like to mount it in the dog house. Using a drill, drill a hole somewhere along the traced line. Use the jigsaw to cut along the traced line. Smooth done the frayed edges with a file or a saw.
  2. Use your hole saw to cut a hole in the center of the paint can. The hole should be bigger than your wire clamp. Align the center hole of the electrical box with the one drilled in the can and mark the holes for the electrical box on the outside of the can using a marker. Holes should be drilled to mount the box to the inside of the can using bolts and nuts. Washers can be used to lock them in place.
  3. Mount the wire clamp in the center hole with the clamping part facing out. Then remove the end of your extension cord that usually plugs into the wall. Strip each of the wires bare with wire strippers about half an inch down from the end.
  4. The stripped end of your cord should be strung through the wire clamp and pull it out through the open end of the can. Twist the end of your hot wire and bend it clockwise into a hook. This should be hooked around the brass screw on the back of the lamp base and tightened to it. The same should be done with the white wire and it should be hooked to the silver screw.
  5. Loosen one of the screws that are holding the electrical box in place and hook the green wire (the bare ground wire) around it, and tighten it in place. The lamp base should then be attached to the electrical box using the two screws that it came with.
  6. The corner brackets should be mounted on the outside of the can using the drilled holes and secured in place with the screws and bolts.
  7. Mount the lighting to the ceiling of the dog house using the wood screws and the other sides of the corner brackets. Screw in the light bulb to test. If it is not, then recheck step four to see that your wiring has been done correctly.

You can see how to make a paint can heater here:

And You must watch all the video in this articles, very useful stuff!

Building an insulating dog house from scratch

If you want to feel really accomplished and build your own dog house from scratch, then it’s quite easy to do if you have the right tools and a lot of patience. You may require some help in the building process, as well as getting the parts that you’ll need to build the perfect, warm dog house for your dog.

This is a two-partition dog house, so that your dog has the choice of looking outside, or seeking shelter in a separate part of the house to sleep or relax.

  1. The first and most important step is to measure your dog. The dog house that you’ll want to build has to be big enough for your dog to turn around in, but small enough that it will retain his body heat and keep him warm. The measurements that you should use are:
    • width: dog’s length + 12 inches
    • length: dog’s length + 18 inches
    • height at front: dog’s height + 9 inches
    • height at back: dog’s height + 3 inches
  2. The dog house will be built with a sloping roof to promote rain runoff so that the roof is less prone to leaking.
  3. The second step is to get some 2x4s that have been pressure-treated. This means that they aren’t going to warp or splinter after extended outdoor use. However, be aware that such wood is bad for pets if there is skin contact, so these should always be covered in the final steps of the building process. The 2x4s should be cut to the dimensions taken earlier according to the width and length in order to build the base. The ends of the 2x4s should be butted together and affixed with screws that are weather-resistant.
  4. Cut a floor panel to fit over the 2x4s out of a piece of 3/4-inch plywood. Secure to the base of the dog house with weather-resistant screws.
  5. In order to cut the sides of the dog house, they’re going to have to match exactly, or you’re going to end up with a crooked roof and gaps between the roof and the wall. In order to cut identical angles, tape the two pieces of plywood together so that they’re secure. Using a clamp, secure a straight edge to the wood, and cut along the edge with a circular saw or saber saw. Now both sides of the dog house will have the same declining angle for the roof.
  6. The sides of the dog house should then be secured to the base using some more weather-resistant screws. Ensure that they are perpendicular to the base when they’re being attached so that the roof can be attached properly.
  7. Next, the corner braces need to be added in order to make the dog house sturdy. This also prevents drafts from occurring, so your dog can stay warm. Simply screw together two strips of plywood to create each brace. The corner braces should then be attached to each corner of the sides, front and back panels with weather-resistant screws.
  8. The next step is installing the partition wall. This is where most of your dog’s body heat will be trapped when he isn’t by the entrance, so that he can stay warm during the winter. The partition wall should be secured to the base, and a plywood panel that has been cut at the same angle as the sides should be attached to the partition.
  9. In order to maximize the heat-retaining ability of your dog’s home, insulation should be installed. Foam insulation can be cut to the dimensions of the walls of the dog’s home, and then covered with plywood in order to secure in place and prevent your dog from chewing on or eating it. The insulation can be attached using a staple gun or glue.
  10. Before installing the front wall onto the dog house, you’ll need to measure an opening for your dog. Using the measurements you took earlier, the height should be a few inches above your dog’s back, and the width should be your dog’s width plus 3 inches. The opening should be centered in the panel of wood and then cut out with a saber saw. The front wall can then be attached using corner braces and then sanding the edges smooth in order to prevent splinters and snagging on collars.
  11. When cutting the roof, make sure that it is longer and wider than the base. This ensure that the rain falls away from the perimeter of the dog house and won’t pool around the base. The roof is secured to the back wall of the shelter using a weather-resistant piano hinge. This makes it easy for you to get inside and do any necessary cleaning. Once in place, the roof is covered with tar paper and a metal drip edge is added around its perimeter.
  12. Lastly, the shingles are added to the roof to make it waterproof. The roofing nails should be long enough to attach them to the wood properly, but short enough that your dog can’t get at the sharp ends. Starting at the bottom edge of the roof, overlap the shingles on each row as you work your way to the top to create a waterproof seal. Roofing cement should be added to the top edge in order to seal out any moisture.

To build other kinds of insulated dog houses for winter, here are a few more tutorials:

When it comes to keeping your dog happy and healthy, it’s important that you also take the weather into account. It can be easy to forget that your dog can get cold because of the layer of fur he has on his body. However, by building or modifying an outdoor shelter that you already have, you can ensure that his body temperature is maintained, so that he won’t suffer the effects of hypothermia and/or frostbite.

If after reading this entire tutorial you realized that building a dog house is more difficult than you thought, you should consider buying one. There is a wide range of dog house models on the market and Rover can even have a premium design.

However, if your dog is small in size, you shouldn’t leave him outside during winter. He doesn’t occupy much space anyways and a cute little Dog Bed House should be enough to accommodate all his needs. Also, if you decide that there are days when the big dog should also stay inside, you can purchase a portable shelter that is easily collapsible and it doesn’t take too long to put together. This will keep Rover safe and your rugs will be out of danger.

How to Build a Custom Insulated Dog House

RON HAZELTON:
Charles and Amy Trusty live in a suburban area here with sons Zack and Zane and their family pet, Sebastian. Hardly out of the puppy stage, Sebastian is growing too rambunctious to spend long hours inside the house. So today, I’m going to help the Trustys build Sebastian a sturdy home of his own.

Hey Sebastian, what a good boy. He’s a Border Collie, right?
CHARLES TRUSTY:
Yeah, sure is.
RON HAZELTON:
And they really like to run, don’t they?
AMY TRUSTY:
Yes, he has a lot of energy and that’s why we’re wanting to make him an outside dog.
RON HAZELTON:
Well, he’s got a great backyard here. Where were you thinking about putting the doghouse?
CHARLES TRUSTY:
Up here against the back of the house.
RON HAZELTON:
A couple things I want to keep in mind as we design this. We want to make it large enough so that he’s not cramped, he has plenty of room to move around in there, but small enough so that it will contain his body heat and keep him warm in cooler weather.

To figure out the right dimensions, I need to take some measurements and measuring a Border Collie is a challenging task.

Come here. I won’t hurt you. It’s just a tape measure. Here, Sebastian, look.

According to the American Humane Society, the height of a doghouse should be the height of the dog plus 9 inches. The length should be the dog’s length plus 18 inches. And the width, his length plus 12 inches.

Length 32.
CHARLES TRUSTY:
All right.
RON HAZELTON:
Boy, okay — 32 by 22.

My plans call for a cozy insulated, two-room house that will permit Sebastian to see outside or to be completely sheltered. We’ll add a slanted roof for rain runoff.

So here we’ve got all the pieces for the frame base. Now, this is pressure-treated lumber because it’s going to be in direct contact with the ground. One thing to keep in mind though when you’re building pet structures is you don’t want the pets to come in contact with pressure-treated lumber. It’s not healthy for them.

So this is all going to be covered over. Sebastian won’t have — won’t touch this, but it will keep this from rotting out because it’s sitting on the ground.

Amy draws clearance holes for three-inch rust-resistant deck screws, which will hold the frame together.

Now we’re ready to cut several sheets of plywood which will be used for the floor, roof and walls.

Amy, I bet you haven’t used a circular saw.
AMY TRUSTY:
I have never used —

RON HAZELTON:
Why do I have a feeling you’ve never used it?
AMY TRUSTY:
It looks a little intimidating.
RON HAZELTON:
Yeah.
AMY TRUSTY:
Yes.
RON HAZELTON:
It is. No, it’s not.

It’s really not. Come over here. Come over here. The main thing is let gravity do part of the work here, the base of this, just let it sit on top of the plywood. All you have to do is push this through and apply just some gentle pressure up against this straight edge.

Amy cuts as far as she can reach, then hands off to Charles to complete the cut. In order to have a slanted roof, our side walls must be angled at the top. To accomplish this, I plant the straight edge at the desired angle. Amy and Charles once again use the circular saw to make the cut.

With all our plywood panels trimmed to size, it’s time to assemble the doghouse. We start with the floor.

Well, the question is, does it fit?
CHARLES TRUSTY:
It seems to fit.
RON HAZELTON:
Oh, it looks good.
AMY TRUSTY:
It looks pretty good.
RON HAZELTON:
To attach the floor to the base, Amy drills pilot holes about every 10 inches and Charles follows behind, driving in screws.

Now this is what you call a doghouse-raising.

Wall number two. Now these L-shaped pieces that you guys put together, I want to put right in here, just like this.

We’ve assembled these corner braces by screwing a couple of 2 x 4s together. We’ll first attach the braces to the side walls, then fasten the front and back walls to the braces. These corner braces will reinforce the walls and block drafts from blowing through.
With Charles and Amy busy putting up the exterior walls, I’m installing a frame for the interior partition.

We attach a plywood skin to the frame and a support post, then just as the doghouse begins to take shape, threatening storm clouds roll in, followed by a true Midwest thunderstorm.

So we’ve moved in here in the garage and actually, this is not a bad time to put this down off the table and onto the floor. It’s probably going to be easier to reach it this way. I’ve also added a couple of braces here, here and here.

Now we’re ready to put our insulation in. We’re going to be using this. This is rigid foam insulation. We’ve actually glued two pieces together — a one-inch piece and a half-inch piece and we’re going to start by dropping this right inside our frames.

So just grab something over there that looks like it might fit and we’ll see if it indeed it does.
AMY TRUSTY:
It’s like putting a puzzle together.
RON HAZELTON:
Yeah, this is —
CHARLES TRUSTY:
I’ve got the wrong piece.
RON HAZELTON:
Next, we cover the insulation with quarter-inch plywood panels.

— keep Sebastian from snacking on that insulation. Why don’t we start right here, Charles.
CHARLES TRUSTY:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
Right here. Amy, right here. And then, work your way down. I’m telling you, it’s feeling snug as a bug in here right now. Start at the bottom, guys.
CHARLES TRUSTY:
Okay.
RON HAZELTON:
So do you think Sebastian’s going to be happy in here?
AMY TRUSTY:
Well, if Sebastian isn’t, I’m sure our four-year-old will be.
RON HAZELTON:
You know, that thought occurred to me. This is almost a playhouse, if it was much bigger. All right. You know, could we call Sebastian for just a second?
AMY TRUSTY:
Sure.

RON HAZELTON:
I wanted to consult with him about this.
AMY TRUSTY:
Sebastian, all right.
RON HAZELTON:
Hey, buds, listen, I wanted to decide how high to make your door. So what do you think? I’m thinking like something maybe just above your back, right here. Would this be okay up here? Right up here?
AMY TRUSTY:
Oh, yeah. Oh, that’s nice. All right, great.
RON HAZELTON:
He says yes.

With Sebastian’s specifications outlined on the wall, Amy cuts the doorway out with a jigsaw and we screw the final wall section into place. Next, the roof goes on. We allow a slight overhang to keep rain runoff away from the walls, then cover the plywood with water-resistant roofing felt or tar paper which we attach with staple tackers.

We also add a drip cap along the edges of the roof. This L-shaped piece of metal prevents water from seeping under the shingles and into the edge of the plywood.

All right, time to do a little painting now.

Finally, we nail our shingles into place, starting at the bottom and overlapping each row.

Well done.

Well, the rain’s stopped and we’ve moved the doghouse out in the yard where it’s going to live and we’ve added a hinge along the rear edge of the roof. The reason for that is, it makes it real easy to clean by simply lifting up the front edge like this. Well, Charles, I think we did a pretty good job.
CHARLES TRUSTY:
It looks great to me.
RON HAZELTON:
But actually, we’re not the ones who are going to live in here, so I think we ought to ask the guy who is. Hey, Sebastian.
CHARLES TRUSTY:
Come here, boy.
RON HAZELTON:
Want to try this out?

AMY TRUSTY:
Come on —

RON HAZELTON:
How about a little food.
AMY TRUSTY:
Look at this.
RON HAZELTON:
Just sort of a — yeah, yeah, a welcoming dinner in there. How about that?
AMY TRUSTY:
Oh, great.
RON HAZELTON:
Nothing like having dinner in your new house. Well, guys, that was fun. I liked working with you.
AMY TRUSTY:
We had a —
RON HAZELTON:
You were great with the tools.

AMY TRUSTY:
Thanks. We had a great time.
CHARLES TRUSTY:
We had an excellent time.
RON HAZELTON:
And I think he’s going to like the new house.
CHARLES TRUSTY:
He will.
AMY TRUSTY:
He definitely will.
RON HAZELTON:
And just remember, if you have to go to the doghouse now, well, it’s not such a bad deal.
CHARLES TRUSTY:
No.

The 9 Best Dog Houses to Buy in 2020

Where there’s a dog, there should be a place to accommodate the dog! When it came to my Richy the Labrador, I actually had had to make this decision twice: first for a fluff ball of puppy and then for the grown good boy. It might be that I just got lucky with him; he didn’t get picky with either of his new houses and took to them with delight. More pleasant, though, would be the thought that it was I whose choice of the dog shelter brand was deliberate. But what was it that I did?

In This Article

Best 3 Dog Houses

Petsfit Outdoor Dog House

  • Good ventilation with spaced bottom floor slats
  • Pre-drilled holes for easier and faster assembly
  • 12 mm thick cedar with anti-rot properties will last a minimum of 3 years outdoor
  • Waterbased paint is great for weather protection and not harmful to your pet
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Indoor Outdoor Dog House Small to Medium Pet All Weather Doghouse Puppy Shelter

  • Very affordable
  • Durable tear-resistant plastic
  • Fast assembly
  • Made comfortable
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Best Pet Supplies, Inc. Tent Bed for Pets

  • Blend into your house’s interior
  • Warm and cozy corduroy beige plush
  • Machine washable
  • Nicely stitched for maximum durability
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You may like to consider these points when making a purchase:

  • Coziness and warmness of your dog’s new dwelling with respect to the season;
  • Correct size – make sure you allow for the measured length and width of your dog plus 30%;
  • Robust and tear-proof construction – goes without saying if your dog is (hyper)active.

My first purchase was a small indoor doghouse and the next one was a bulky insulated shelter for outdoor use. To find them, I did an awful lot of research on the Internet. Below are the best picks I came across when looking for those kennels.

Dog Houses for Large Dogs

Petsfit Outdoor Dog House

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • Good ventilation with spaced bottom floor slats
  • Pre-drilled holes for easier and faster assembly
  • 12 mm thick cedar with anti-rot properties will last a minimum of 3 years outdoor
  • Waterbased paint is great for weather protection and not harmful to your pet

This one is a big and sturdy doghouse, which is good news to owners of larger dogs. The Petsfit Dog House stands off the ground, which keeps your dog’s bed dry in case there is some rainwater collected under it. Its shingled roof can be removed, allowing you access to the house’s interior to clean it and freshen up the bedding. The house is excellent for hot summer days because its slatted floor doesn’t prevent air from circulating freely and cooling the insides. In the cold weather, you should cover those slates with a warm blanket to make your doggo really comfy.

PROS CONS
+ Big size – Wooden parts could use more thickness
+ Sturdy design
+ Made of cedar

Buy on Amazon

A4Pet Outdoor Dog House

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • Sold in three different sizes
  • Good protection from moisture due to a raised floor
  • Removable bottom floor for easier cleaning
  • Simplified assembly

Another good option for big and clumsy pets. The waterproof roof is slanted and seems capable of living through more than a couple rainy years. Its bottom floor is made of slats with gaps between them, so airing will be OK. However, you’ll definitely need to insulate this floor in the winter, as well as adding a cover and/or winterizing the walls. Overall, the house welcomes modifications – you might easily replace the floor, add a tarp flap to the door opening or improve its habitability otherwise.

PROS CONS
+ Replaceable parts – Quite cold in the winter
+ Ideal for medium size dogs
+ Easy to clean

Buy on Amazon

Precision Pet Outback Log Exterior Dog House

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • Sturdy wooden construction
  • Raised floor installed on plastic legs
  • Weather-resistant walls and sloped asphalt roof
  • Looks stylish with its natural wood color

Ready for the best buy in a colder season? Not only does this dog cabin repel water but it also keeps your pet warm. Humidity and chilly wind won’t bother your dog as there is an extra space for them to snuggle. The lid may be screwed-on or attached to hinges (not supplied) so that you don’t have to crawl into the kennel to change out the bedding.

PROS CONS
+ Plastic feet protect the wood – No insulation
+ Wind and rain protection
+ Attractive-looking

Buy on Amazon

Insulated Dog Houses

Confidence Pet Waterproof Plastic Dog Kennel

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • Energy-efficient plastic for a comfortable accommodation
  • Plenty of personal space for your pet
  • Designed to withstand all kinds of weather
  • Fast setup

This plastic dog kennel by Confidence Pet boasts toughness and durability. Its hygienic plastic walls save energy, which is essential for a pet dwelling that is meant to live through both warm and cold seasons. It will help you to accommodate your dog out of the home; multiple sizes are available.

PROS CONS
+ All-weather construction – Insulation is not exactly good
+ Medium to extra large
+ Lightweight

Buy on Amazon

Suncast DH250 Dog House

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • For pets up to 70 pounds
  • Hard-wearing resin design with crowned floor
  • Assembled by simply snapping parts together
  • Vinyl door included

With its simple elegance, this pet house by Suncast is one of the best values for the money I’ve seen. You can install it in minutes by snapping the pieces together and it’s good-looking in the result. Even though not very thick, the plastic seems tough. When using the assembled house outdoors, make sure you have attached the included door flaps to protect your pet from rain dripping in.

PROS CONS
+ Nice plastic quality – Pieces may not fit tightly and require gluing
+ Quite roomy
+ Good bang for the buck

Buy on Amazon

Indoor Outdoor Dog House Small to Medium Pet All Weather Doghouse Puppy Shelter

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • Very affordable
  • Durable tear-resistant plastic
  • Fast assembly
  • Made comfortable

Another well-put-together kennel that will suit most dog breeds, including French bulldog and pit bull. The polymer material is firm and inflexible; it holds screws nicely, so you can go for some extra construction solidity with a screwdriver. It’s perfect for humid areas – as opposed to wood, plastic won’t rot and degrade as quickly. Also, the house is elevated to not let your pet soak in rainwater. However, its entrance is large, so a door flap would be quite appropriate.

PROS CONS
+ Long-lasting plastic – No door flap supplied
+ Vents on the sides
+ Solid upgradable construction

Buy on Amazon

Cheap Dog Houses

Best Pet Supplies, Inc. Tent Bed for Pets

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • Blend into your house’s interior
  • Warm and cozy corduroy beige plush
  • Machine washable
  • Nicely stitched for maximum durability

An awesome inexpensive cave-bed for your pet. That’s what puppies or kittens will appreciate for sure: this bed is warm, comfy on the inside, does not collapse, and the pillow is very soft. It’s also well stitched, thickly padded and looks great among other furniture in your apartment.

PROS CONS
+ Super-soft beige plush – A larger dog won’t fit
+ Easy to wash
+ Stays up

Buy on Amazon

Best Pet Supplies, Inc. Portable Indoor Pet House/Bed

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • Tasteful look
  • Variety of color schemes
  • No fuss disassembly
  • Easy to move around

This cozy house consists of four soft walls and flooring. Its roof comes stabilized with a plastic rod in the top part. Thanks to the roof zipper, you can put the house together in the proper shape with just a few movements – the same goes for its disassembly. Inside the pet den, the cushion fits nicely and snugly; it lies there unattached and flips over, allowing you to change the color.

PROS CONS
+ Premium materials – Not for overly active pets
+ Plush is easy to wash
+ Compatible with traveling

Buy on Amazon

SENYEPETS Soft Indoor Small – X-Large Dog Houses

Photo: Amazon

Primary features:

  • A variety of sizes available
  • Round edges for better pet security
  • Nicely matches with a number of mats and pads
  • Easy to carry

An adorable and practical product to give your doggo some personal pet zone. This SENYEPETS house is great for dogs who like to nest cozily and sleep a lot. Its construction manages the pieces with a type of connections called ‘magic tape links’, promising to stabilize and fortify the house. The bedding is removable, while the whole polyester thing sits tightly on its non-skid bottom.

PROS CONS
+ XXL available – May collapse under heavier pets
+ Plain design
+ Non-slip bottom

Buy on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions

Is an Underground Dog House Safe for Your Dog?

Not only is it safe but also makes good use of natural climate control. The idea behind this kind of dog den is that ground temperatures fluctuate only minimally throughout the year, remaining in a range of 55-60 degrees. While air temperatures on the surface get higher or lower with the season, an underground kennel will mimic a hole in the earth, naturally dug up and insulated. As a result, your pet will benefit from the colder ground in the summer, his/her dwelling counteracting heat magnification; the house will also stay warmer in the chilly environment.

Luxury Dog House – Do You Really Need It?

As a rule, luxury doghouses include front porch, pergola, and detachable side deck. It also usually feature superior materials and unmatched insulation. But hey, let’s be honest – dogs often appreciate simple things. You might build a palace for your loving pet yet he/she will enjoy sleeping on your doormat better. Not all dogs care for being pampered because many of them still remember the wild thing they used to be.

Wooden or Plastic – Which One is Better?

Wood is a traditional heat-insulating material that also has a stylish look. Nevertheless, modern plastic makes for a decent match to many cheaper types of wood and even beats them in that it doesn’t rot. Depending on the plastic quality, it may also be less chewable. Oak, cedar, and hevea are the best wood for a pet house if you can afford them; however, make sure that you use a non-toxic paint on the kennel to not get your canine friend into trouble.

10 Brilliant Built-In Indoor Dog Houses

For many of us, our dogs aren’t just pets, they’re our fur-babies and an important, cherished part of the family. So, we don’t want to treat them like some wild animal that lives and sleeps outside all the time. They deserve a safe and comfortable space of their own inside our homes. While most people simply let their dogs choose wherever they want to sleep in the house, some people are creating something much more special. Kind of like a tiny bedroom, people are finding nooks and crannies that can be transformed into built-in indoor dog houses. It’s brilliant! Here are 10 to inspire you to create your own. Look for any place you can find – just enough space to make a little cubby for the dog to comfortably fit in. This looks like they may have a lost a little floor space in a closet behind the doggy area, but it’s a small price to pay for a happy puppy. A kitchen is a great place for the puppy to relax because dogs are usually very social animals and kitchens are the Grand Central Station of the house. They want to be around their people, so this puts them right at the center of things. This is A LOT of space for these pups. Most people aren’t going to have this much room to devote to the dogs, so these pooches are definitely pampered! The under cabinet bed looks cozy and we LOVE the doggy shower! It might not be very easy to keep clean, but it sure would be convenient! This is a great example of finding some unused space. No matter how small your house, you can probably find a place for a built-in puppy cubby. We love that they put up some artwork for their dog to appreciate while he’s lounging! We bet these dogs love to relax in their bed as the family eats at the dining table. We’re not sure how they get in and out of the top of this one, but they sure look comfortable! [houzz=http://www.houzz.com/ This under the stairs deluxe doggy bed is quite amazing. We love the mural – and the pull-out water and food bowl drawers are genius! Barkitecture at it’s finest! Here’s a perfect example of a contemporary, beautiful, and thoughtfully designed doghouse.

Ready to make your own built-in indoor dog house? Be sure to use pet-preferred paints* to protect your fur-baby’s health! Toxics in traditional paints aren’t only harmful to humans.

*Formulated without harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and toluene which can cause sickness, irritation and respiratory issues.

From there you will need to figure out exactly what the dimensions of the dog house should be, what type of materials you plan to use, and where exactly you are going to build this thing in your backyard.

Another thing to consider is what kind of roof you wish to install on the dog house, what color you wish to paint it, and so on. Make sure that all the materials you are using are dog friendly.

Things to consider when drawing up plans are the size of the dog, ventilation and insulation, safe from whatever elements affect your area most frequently, and the aesthetics.

Important Dog House Considerations

​Size

You want to make a dog house that is big enough to fit your dogs, but isn’t overly big. The general rule of thumb is to create a space large enough for your dog to stand up, stretch out, and turn around completely in.

Air Flow

It’ll be too hot inside if there is not any proper ventilation installed. Good ventilation will save your dogs from overheating during the summer months, and insulation will help keep your dog warm during the colder months. If you are building a more basic dog house, then you only need to be concerned with ventilation.

The Elements

Whether it rains, snows, or the sun shines all day. Determine what type of weather is most common in your area, and include some details in your plans on ways to fight the elements. Some common ideas include building a platform and/or large roof if it rains frequently.

Materials

Since this for your dogs, you’ll want to avoid using pressure-treated wood. A nice alternative would be untreated softwood or plywood.

Next, you’ll need to head down to your local hardware store and collect your materials. Once you have everything to begin building just head on into that backyard and get to it! Remember that their new dog house will be in your backyard, so make sure you like the plan before you get started.

Here are 5 Excellent Dog Plans To Check Out

Ron Hazelton

Ron’s website gives you detailed step-by-step instructions for building a doghouse that will stand through any sort of weather. If you are looking for more detail oriented projects, then I would highly recommend browsing through Ron’s website.

Tool Crib

Tool Crib gives you a list of 24 various dog house plans, each with their own specific perks and designs. The list is quite short for each dog house design, but gets straight to the point. If you’re just sifting through the internet in search of ideas to help brainstorm, then give this website a look.

Grit

If you don’t know where to start in drawing up your dog house plans, then this is a website you should check out. The article details all the various factors that you need to be aware of when you start building a doghouse, such as the ventilation, materials used, and so on.

MyOutdoorPlans

This website gives you highly detailed instructions for building a standard large-sized doghouse. The post includes what specific supplies and materials you will need to use, and also gives the reader the exact dimensions for the doghouse. If you are someone who is looking for a minimal effort project this is for you.

Lowes

On top of being an incredibly helpful home improvement store, this business also has multiple pages on their website devoted to building dog houses. The webpage describes different easy-to-build doghouses for different sizes, what materials and tools you will need, and a step-by-step instruction manual. This plan is great if you are someone who is looking to give minimal to a moderate effort.

All in all – hopefully this has been helpful getting you set up to start your big dog house build! If you’re really ambitious and plan to make your own dog bed too, be sure to check out our list of the 15 best DIY dog beds as well. ​