Does Your Dog Need A Dog House?
A dog that spends time outside needs a good dog house. All dogs need and will seek shelter for protection from weather, whether hot, cold, wet, or dry. Also, dogs need their own safe space to feel secure. In the wild, dogs make their own shelter by digging out a den, and they will use small protected grottos or any refuge to raise their pups.
As a responsible dog owner, you need to provide your dog with access to a good shelter at all times. It can be a dog house, or access to your house, garage or enclosed porch.
Whatever it is, the shelter must be free from dangerous materials, and your dog must have suitable bedding, fresh clean water, and good protection from the elements.
Without that kind of shelter, your dog’s health is at risk. This is especially true for short-haired dogs, seniors and very young dogs, and any that have limited mobility.
Five Great Dog Houses
If your dog’s access to shelter is limited in any way, you need to provide a dog house for your dog. It need not be an eyesore. You will find many quality, attractive dog houses available for a reasonable price.
This igloo-shaped dog house is a very popular one. Its domed shape and extended offset entry door is the best design for harsh winters. It will protect your dog from the heaviest winter winds, and the snow will slide right off. For even more protection, it comes with a door flap, and you can purchase replacements for it. You can snap the whole thing together easily without any tools. Made in the United States with heavy plastic, insulated with heavy structural foam, and ventilated with a roof vent to promote healthy air flow, the Petmate Indigo dog house is the best insulated dog house for winter. It will keep your dog warm in winter, cool in the summer, and dry in the wettest weather.
The plastic in this is house has been made with Microban to keep microbes such as bacteria and mold at bay. It has a slightly raised floor that drains any liquid out to the edges. The company offers a soft, vinyl, foam-filled pad that fits perfectly in the house so your dog can rest comfortably, though you will likely want to add more bedding for cozy winter warmth. This house also can safely accommodate a heated dog bed (one that it made for outdoor use, of course).
You can get this house in three different sizes and accommodates dogs up to 28 inches tall. A manufacturer’s warranty is available upon request from the company.
The Petmate Barn Home is shaped like a small barn and resembles a portable dog carrier but it is very solid and well-constructed. It is made in the United States of the same heavy plastic as the Petmate Indigo. In addition to the good quality construction materials, the Barn Home has a couple of design features that make it a good dog house. The top half can be removed for easy cleaning. Also, it has a rain-diverting rim around the entire top half. The raised floor helps keeps things dry, along with the small awning-style roof over the entry door. The rear ventilation helps keep the air circulating well.
This dog house is not well-insulated. It is best used in mild weather climates. For winter use, you need to buy the door flap or make your own. Also, you will want to use warm bedding (consider heated bedding) if you purchase this house, site it with its back facing into the prevailing winter winds, and perhaps situate it next to a structure or straw bales for more wind protection. Help the interior stay dry by placing the house on top of a wood pallet or some patio blocks to keep it entirely off of the ground.
It accommodates dogs up to 90 pounds. For the small and medium sized dogs, this is a very good dog house for a very reasonable price. You can request a manufacturer’s warranty from the company.
This good-looking dog house is a best-seller on Amazon. It is easy to assemble without tools. Over the door is a nameplate where you can personalize the space you’re your dog’s name using the provided decals. The house comes with a two-piece door flap for the entry doorway to help keep out blowing and splashing rain. The floor is crowned to help moisture drain off to the edges.
The house construction is plastic and is not insulated. This house will not provide your dog with strong winter protection unless you take steps to insulate and reinforce it. You can add some insulation by stacking straw bales against the outside of the dog house walls or wrapping a large tarp around it. You can also place the house on top of a pallet or bricks to keep the floor above the cold, wet ground. Be sure to provide plenty of warm bedding as well.
This house is not designed to withstand heavy snow. It is a good choice for an area that is relatively dry with milder winters. It is not well-ventilated, so you will likely have to cut holes in the sides to improve ventilation in hot weather.
A manufacturer’s warranty is available upon request. This dog house is suitable for dogs up to 100 pounds, so most large dogs will find this house comfortable size-wise.
The Trixie Pet Products Dog Club House is made with solid pine finished with a weatherproofing sealer that will keep this house looking good for years. The walls are built with tongue and groove, which provides great protection from drafts. The floor is raised about six inches from the ground so that it stays dry with good airflow underneath. Some customers report that they have reinforced the floor to make it stronger under the weight of their dog. The floor is also removable for cleaning. The entry doorway is off-center, which provides your dog with very good protection from wind and blowing rain and snow. The entire structure is supported by four feet, which are adjustable to compensate for uneven ground. The single panel roof is covered with composite roofing shingles. The roof is hinged, so it can be raised for easy cleaning or propped open for extra ventilation in warmer months.
This house is well-made for any climate and its elevation and roof design makes it the best dog house for hot weather. It comes with the hardware you need for easy assembly. The only tool you will need is a Philips screwdriver.
This house can accommodate any dog weighing up to 95 pounds. It also comes with a one-year warranty.
This cute dog house is made of fir wood with black metal supports and asphalt shingles for the roof. It sits on four adjustable legs, so the floor stays off the ground. The floor is removable and made with slats, which provides drainage when moisture gets inside. The entire house is very easy to assemble.
If you live in an area with harsh winters, you will need to add insulation to this house. The company offers a pad that fits in the house perfectly, but you will need to add comfortable bedding. With a pad and additional bedding, your dog should be protected against drafts and moist air coming up through the floorboards. You may also want to reinforce the floor in the winter with plywood or foam.
For additional protection from the weather blowing into the house through the doorway, position the house if possible up against your house or permanent structure for a wind block. If you can, place it so that the back of it faces into the prevailing wind. For additional protection at the doorway, you should buy a plastic door flap or make a door flap out of an old shower curtain or tarp.
You can extend the longevity of this house by weatherproofing it with a weatherproofing stain or sealer. It should last for years.
Still, for a wood dog house, the price of this one is really great. Warranty information is available upon request.
How to Select the Right Dog House for Your Dog?
As explained at the beginning of this article, a good dog house is beneficial for your dog because it provides needed protection from weather, which is especially important for short haired, young, or senior dogs. Garage access will work for some dogs, but only if the dog has suitable, comfortable bedding and cannot access dangerous materials.
Dogs also need to feel comfortable and secure to get adequate rest. A big open garage may not be suitable for smaller dogs. And a garage filled with chemical fumes is not healthy for anyone, man nor dog.
By now, you should be convinced that your dog would love a nice dog house for the time it spends outside. How do you decide which one is best for your dog? You will need to consider several important factors:
Size of Dog and Size of House
The house you select must be large enough for your dog to enter. The doorway opening should be as high as the top of your dog’s shoulder. The height of walls should be 25-50% taller than your dog’s height from the floor to the top of your dog’s head. Your dog must be able to turn around inside of the house and lie down. That means that the width and length of the walls should be at least as long as your dog from the tip of its nose to the base of its tail. The width and length should be no larger than 25% more than that measurement. If you have a large or jumbo-sized dog, you may need to have one custom-made to accommodate your dog’s size. If your dog is small, you will want to make sure the house you select is small enough to keep the little pup warm in the winter.
Site of the Dog House
Where will the doghouse be situated? If you live in a warm weather climate, consider getting a slightly larger house than is necessary. Try to place it in a shady spot. If you live in a cold weather climate, err on the side of a slightly smaller house, which will retain heat better. Place it where it will be most protected from wind and wet weather. Other important considerations when you situate the dog house include:
Easy access to power for heated bedding if your winters are harsh
Easy access to water, for the dog’s drinking water and for cleaning the house
Easy visibility from your window
Safe from traffic, harsh sun, winter winds, strangers, high water, or other hazards
Each of the dog houses reviewed above have a raised floor. Your dog house needs to have a floor that is off the ground. Without a raised floor, your dog will be wet, dirty, unhealthy, and miserable. You may have noticed from the reviews above that plastic dog houses usually come with a raised plastic floors, and wood dog houses will come with a raised wood floor. A raised floor not only helps keep the dog clean and dry, it will deter parasites and improve the air flow in the house. A raised floor keeps your dog warmer in winter and cooler in summer. If the dog house you select has inadequate flooring, reinforce it with stronger materials if needed. If you replace the flooring, it is very important that you keep it elevated. You can add padding and bedding on top of it for comfort and to further insulate against cold drafts.
Ideally, the entry doorway will be offset from center. The offset doorway provides better protection from harsh sun and blowing winter weather. A doorway that is in the center allows the winter wind and rain to blow straight in, making the entire interior cold, wet, and uncomfortable. In the summer, the sun will beat in, turning the house into an oven. How many times have you seen a dog resting comfortably in the shade outside of its doghouse? With an offset doorway, the dog has three and three-quarters of the house walls to use as protection against the weather. A centered doorway often means none of the walls provide protection. If you select a dog house with a centered doorway, you should protect it by:
Making sure the house is situated so that the entry doorway is sheltered from the prevailing wind and hot sun
Buying a door flap for it
Considering adding an awning- or shed-style roof over the doorway
Taking other appropriate steps to shelter the entry doorway from water, wind, and sun
As you noticed from the reviews above, dog houses are built with different roof designs. The most beautiful of the dog houses may not be the most practical for your climate. For example, the pitched roof and the angled roof designs both have more space to heat in the area above the dog. If you live in a cold climate and the roof is not insulated, you may need to insulate the roof and install a piece of plywood to reduce the airspace above the dog. When the weather warms up, you can remove the plywood to allow more ventilation. Some of the dog houses we reviewed have hinged roofs that can be raised to provide even more air circulation in hot weather. Some dog houses have flat roofs which can double as a rooftop deck for your dog, but flat roofs will not shed rain well. Moreover, if your dog is lounging on the roof, the roof will quickly wear out from the additional wear and tear.
Asphalt and metal provide heavy duty roofing materials. However, if the dog house does not have an insulated roof, it will be hot in the summer and cold in the winter. A metal roof will condensate and make the interior very wet. No matter what material is used for roofing, it needs to be insulated for your dog to be comfortable. Wood shingles provide more insulation than other materials, but none of the dog houses we reviewed come with wood shingles.
Your choice of the best dog house ever for your dog must also consider the materials used in constructing the house. Most ready-made dog houses are made of plastic or wood. Wood breathes and is a better insulator in all climates than plastic. Wood has some drawbacks, such as its potential to attract bugs. Plastic is great because it will not rot nor leak, but it must be adequately vented and it just doesn’t look as nice as wood.
Also, you need to think about whether your dog is likely to chew on its house. If so, a dog house made of thin plastic is not a good choice. A heavy duty plastic may hold up better, but wood may be easier to repair. It will just depend on how destructive your dog is.
The igloo style dog house is the best dog house for winter. The insulation and vents in the Petmate Indigo also makes it a great choice for summer weather, too. If you live in hotter climates with long summers and mild winters, a dog house made of wood with a single-panel hinged roof that props open is likely the best dog house for summer.
Large dogs may not need a heavily insulated house. The best dog house for a Labrador, for example, may not be the best dog house for small dogs. Large, heavy coated dogs need a place to stay dry and out of the wind. Small dogs tend to be sensitive to cold, so they may do better in a dog house that is well insulated, has a door flap, and retains heat. Your choice of bedding will be important for that purpose as well. You may want to install a heated bed in the winter. For the summer months, you can now buy small air conditioners for dog houses.