Choosing a Dog House

Kelly Roper
Dog Houses

Dog houses help keep our canine friends warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry all year long.

About Dog Houses

Dog houses are a lot like human homes. They come in many different sizes and styles, and some are more efficient than others. Let's look at a few of the key points in dog house construction, so that when it comes time to choose, you'll understand how to pick the best one for your pet.

Materials

When it comes to materials, the most durable choices are wood and plastic.

Wood

Wood is the long-time favorite, but it has its pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Wood provides good insulation from heat and cold.
  • It's the easiest material to work with if you're building your own dog house.
  • Wooden dog houses can be very sturdy, a plus if your pet likes to jump on the roof.

Cons:

  • Wood tends to wear over the years, and needs yearly maintenance such as water-proofing, painting, and re-shingling to keep it in working order.
  • Wood is susceptible to termite infestation.
  • It tends to absorb pet odors.
  • Wooden houses are extremely heavy, which is not necessarily a problem unless you need to move the shelter to another location.

Plastic

Heavy-duty plastic is used quite often in modern dog house construction.

Pros:

  • Plastic can be very durable, yet far more light-weight than wood.
  • It doesn't absorb odors the way wood does.
  • Clean up is easily accomplished with soap and a hose.
  • Because it's possible to create designs with injection molding, plastic houses can be purchased in a very wide array of styles.

Cons:

  • Plastic offers some weather insulation, but temperatures may fluctuate more in plastic houses than they do in wooden ones unless additional insulating material is included.
  • Plastic dog houses tend to bleach out under intense sun exposure.

Roofs

Regarding roof construction, it must be slanted to allow run off, and be shingled or insulated in some other way.

Simple is also usually better. Additional gables and dormers can be cute, and make some dog houses look more like real homes, but all of these additions offer places to develop leaks.

Also vent roofs with a few holes placed in the walls just below the roof line.

Doors

Doors need to be large enough to accommodate your dog's adult size. If you will have more than one dog using the house, choose one with a doorway large enough to fit your largest dog, and with enough floor space for both dogs to share.

Doorways also need a wind break to prevent drafts from blowing directly on your pet when it's inside. Some models come equipped with dog doors just like the ones you might install in your own home. These allow your pet easy in and out access, but close behind it to block the weather out.

Floors

Floors should be set slightly higher at the rear of the dog house than they are at the front to allow better drainage if water should get in.

Flooring must be either thick enough to keep it from transferring cold from the ground beneath, or better yet, raised a few inches off the ground.

About Sizing for Your Dog

Your dog's home needs to be large enough to enter comfortably and lie down, but it shouldn't be much larger than that. Your pet doesn't need room to entertain friends and additional space wastes your dog's body heat.

Choose the Right House for Your Dog

Hopefully you now feel armed with the knowledge you need to make an informed selection when you purchase a house for your pet. While you may not find the ideal shelter, you should definitely be able to choose the best model available to you.

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Choosing a Dog House