As man’s best friend, your beloved canine should have a dog house that protects it from the weather and gives it a place to rest. So throw your dog a bone and build a shelter that gives new meaning to being in the dog house. Here’s how to do it yourself!
Which Materials to Use
The most popular material you can use for your dog house is wood, due to its workability and its relatively inexpensive cost. Properly insulated, wooden dog houses will keep your canine companion cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Plastic dog houses give you a lightweight, easy-to-clean option. Most plastic houses need little if any construction; you may need to snap a few panels together if your house isn’t already in one piece. Made out of aluminum or stainless steel, metal dog houses are almost indestructible since your dog can’t chew it and the house won’t rot.
Tip: Whatever type of material you choose, make sure that the construction materials are free of toxins. This is particularly important if you have a puppy that chews on everything.
Wooden Dog House Designs
For wooden dog houses, the designs are endless. The traditional house looks like human homes and includes a peaked roof. Contemporary, or modern, dog houses feature unique and custom-made designs, often mimicking the latest trends in luxury.
Tip: Bigger is not always better in reference to a dog house. Canines tend to feel more secure in a snug environment. You don’t have to get as fancy as some of these palaces.
Building a Dog House
Even if you have rudimentary building skills, you can build your own dog house. Depending upon the complexity, the project can take half a day to several days to complete and won’t break your bank.
To build a dog house for small- to medium-size dogs, which typically weigh around 50 pounds, you should buy a single sheet of ¾-inch-thick plywood, 2x4s, and 2x2s. Decay-resistant woods, such as redwood and cedar, work best. Transfer the pattern to the plywood, and make sure to leave space between the pieces.
Step One: Construct the Floor
A raised floor helps prevent water from seeping in when it rains. Cut the 2×4 wood boards into four pieces for the base, with two at 22.5 inches long and two at 23 inches long. Place the longer boards at the end and use wood screws to secure the smaller boards inside. This forms a rectangle. Make sure the base is square, and fasten the bottom piece to the base with wood screws.
Step Two: Cut the Walls
Cut out the rectangular walls from the plywood, with each side measuring 26 inches long and 16 inches wide. The triangle section, which goes above the rectangle wall, has the two sides measuring 12 inches with the base 24 inches. You need two pieces of each for the front and back. When cutting the door, leave a 3-inch lip at the bottom. Use a round object, such as a mixing bowl, to trace a round arch for the door.
Use the 2×2, and cut eight pieces for the framing. Four corner framing pieces are 15 inches long while four roofing pieces are 13 inches. Screw the 15-inch framing pieces to the inside of each side frame. Screw the side panels to the base. Use screws to attach the front and back panels to the floor.
Tip: Drill a few nickel-sized holes on the side of the house’s walls. That way the hot air in the summer can escape and the inside can dry out in the winter.
Step Three: Attach the Roof
Cut the roof panels from the 2×2, with dimensions of 32 inches long and 30 inches wide. Screw the 13-inch pieces you cut in the previous step. Place them on the inside of the front and back panels so they form a triangle. Screw the roof panels to the framing pieces so the roof forms a peak.
Step Four: Top It Off
Install shingles on the roof to finish off the traditional design. Don’t worry about roofing felt, unless you believe the house isn’t complete without it. Staple the paper to the roof in a single sheet and go up one side and down the other. For the shingles, place the first row upside-down along the bottom of the roof’s edges and secure them with short roofing nails. Directly on top of the row, nail the shingles in place in the desired pattern.
If you don’t want to use shingles, use aluminum flashing where the two roof panels meet. Use roofing cement or silicone caulk along the bottom, and nail the flashing in place.
Tip: With either option, make sure the nails do not protrude into the interior of the dog house where they could hurt your pet.
Step Five: Personalize It
If your dog really is a member of the family, you can prime and paint his dog house to look just like yours. Use quality exterior latex house paint if you decide to paint. Otherwise, treat the wood with linseed oil if your dog likes to chew.
Step Six: Accessorize
Make sure your pooch has enough padding inside. Use hay, straw, or cedar shavings for bedding. You can use blankets or pillows, but you must check them often. If they get wet, mildew can form.
After all that work you put into building a dog house, your sleeping dog will surely lie in comfort.
Questions about building a dog house for your furry friend? Ask us in the comments section below.