If you’re someone who treats your canine companion as a member of the family, you want the best for your dog. This includes the food you offer, the toys you buy, and the shelter provided when your dog ventures outside. Spoiling your dog with their very own pooch palace can protect them from inclement weather and offer a practical retreat when necessary. Find out why you should build an outdoor dog house and take away a couple of tips when you start construction.
Benefits of Building an Outdoor Dog House
A major benefit of constructing your own dog house is designing and implementing specific needs your canine might have. These houses can protect your pooch from the outside elements, including hot or cold temperatures, due to their insulating matter. They can also give an area for dogs to rest after running around outside.
What to Consider Before Building and Outdoor Dog House
1. Determine the Size of Your Dog House
An important piece to consider when you build a dog house is that it must fit your dog. If your dog is a puppy, consider that your beloved canine will grow. You don’t want to spend time and money constructing a dog house to have your dog outgrow it in just a few months. However, avoid making the dog house too large since a smaller house can be warmed with your dog’s natural body heat during the winter months.
Your dog needs enough space to get inside the house, turn around, and lay down. Think of the space as the size of a crate you would use for your pet indoors. Dogs prefer spaces that are cozy, not open or airy. A good size would have the height of your dog plus 9 inches, the length of your dog plus 18 inches, and the width of your dog plus 12 inches.
2. Know Your Pet’s Habits
You know your dog’s behavior the best. Does your pooch like to keep tabs on his surroundings? If so, build an outdoor dog house with a flat roof instead of one with an overhang or eaves to ensure full visibility. Does your dog pant a lot or have a tendency to over-heat? Then be sure to avoid shingles for their roof, as they can attract and hold heat from the summer sun. Instead, use an exterior plywood panel as a roof and treat it with a nontoxic stain, such as linseed oil. Whatever your pooch’s preferences are, building the best house for your dog means paying attention to all their creature comforts, and planning for them accordingly.
3. Consider the Weather
Putting a door on the dog house can give your dog extra warmth in the winter. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency urges owners to not leave puppies, smaller dogs, or older dogs outside when temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. However, during summer, remove the dog house door to increase ventilation.
Unlike people, dogs don’t care if they need to duck to enter their house, so you can build the door smaller than their total height. Place the door off-center to the front of the house. That way your dog has more privacy and more protection from severe weather. If you want the door to close, use magnetized flaps since these let your pet get in and out easily while keeping the inside warm.
You should also place the house off the ground to prevent water from entering on the rainiest of days. In addition, the raised floor will keep the interior warmer during the cold months. Think about having a floor that slopes toward the door opening, as this can help the melted snow and rain water collected on your dog’s coat drain out of the house.
Tip: To give proper ventilation, drill several nickel-sized holes on the side of the house’s walls. This gives the hot air a place to escape in the summer and the interior a chance to dry out in the winter.
4. Find an Ideal Location
If possible, place your dog house in the coolest, shadiest part of your yard. The more time your dog house spends in the shade, the longer it lasts. Try to situate the house against a wall of your house or garage to protect it from the wind. For houses that have doors, place the doorway east to protect the house from approaching storms.
5. Narrow Down Your Materials
The cheaper and more lightweight choice is building a plastic dog house. These types are easier to transport, don’t rot, and don’t need refinishing. They’re also the easier option to clean since all you need to do is wipe or hose them down.
The more popular option is the wooden dog house due to its insulation and better protection against the outside elements. These types of houses tend to look like a real home with their square design on the front and back along with rectangular sides. Often, these types of dog houses have shingles atop a triangular-shaped roof. Wood can withstand high temperatures and humidity as well as insulate your dog when temperatures dip. Most wooden dog houses use cedar, pine, or fir wood in construction.
Tip: Use wood that has a non-toxic sealant or stain. This ensures that the house is water-resistant and free of harmful chemicals.
6. Add Accessories
Unless you plan to bring them in daily, avoid using blankets or towels for added cushion. Leaving these items outside can attract pests or grow mold if they get damp. Instead, use straw or wood shavings to give extra padding and insulation inside the dog house. Use cedar shavings, as this type of wood repels fleas and ticks. Replace the bedding weekly. Another option is a moisture-proof foam bad, which you can cover with wood shavings. Also, consider purchasing a high-quality water bowl that can withstand inclement weather, and change the water often in the winter and summer.
Tip: Affixing a retractable or removable roof can make it easier to clean the interior, whether it involves changing out the bedding, cleaning out mud, or ridding the house of bugs.
The Bottom Line
When building an outdoor dog house, don’t be afraid to get creative. If you need some inspiration, check out some of these posh palaces for your pooch. But a simple design works just as well. Either way, your pampered pet will stay comfortable in his own home away from home.