If your dog sleeps outside in his or her own house then insulating a dog house is absolutely essential for winter. Your dog should be warm and comfortable all year round but even more so when the colder weather comes.
As we have already reviewed the Best Dog Houses for Indoor and Outdoors, I wanted to provide a quick guide on how best to insulate a dog house for winter. I am no professional so please feel free to do your own research, but these are the quickest and best solutions I have found that work for me.
How To: Insulating A Dog House For Winter
There are two key areas we are going to focus on in this article.
- How To Insulate an Existing Dog House
- Buying a New Dog House that is already insulated
Throughout we will try to provide you the best information that will help you have the best insulated dog house for your dog in any weather conditions.
Insulating an Existing Dog House
First, check that your dog house is in good condition. Insulating a worn, rotten dog house is not ideal- if you are capable then repair your dog house first. Follow these quick steps to try and have the best insulated dog house;
- Repair any damage and fill any holes
Initially the best form of repair is to waterproof the dog house before insulating. Buying a waterproof gap filler will help support this. Checking all around the dog house and filling up any areas on the walls, floors or roof to ensure that the dog house can keep any heat in and the cold / rain out. Caulking and ply wood generally works for small or larger holes.
- Raising the Dog House
Raising the dog house from the floor is a great way of protecting the floor. Several surfaces can be a big deterent to your dog house floor. Concrete is a very poor insulator along with snow and ice (for obvious reasons). Grass is also a poor surface for a dog house due to it getting cold and wet.
Raising the floor using joists etc will really help with the insulation. A couple of pieces of 2×4 and make a simple frame for the house to sit on will be great. Another great based are wooden pallets which can be picked up for local scrap yards.
- Insulating all around the Dog House
Using 2×4 build a simple frame on all the flat surfaces (floor, walls and roof). Polystyrene or Styrofoam are the best materials to use when insulating your dog house.
Once you have completed your wooden frame then simply place the Styrofoam or polystyrene in and use a stapler to fix it. Place a ply sheet over the top of the insulation and then nail down. This will ensure the insulation is buried behind the ply sheets and keeps your house insulated well.
- Lining the Floor
Now, the best way to line the floor of a dog house is to use some straw.
A good healthy, parasite free, straw is a great insulator for any dogs as it doesn’t get or freeze. Dogs love sleeping on straw.
Purchase a nice thick thermal blanket over the stray layer to prevent movement.
- Doggie Flap / Door
Dog Flaps or Doors are a great addition to your house and even greater for a dog house. These will help prevent the rain and wind from getting in your house.
There are many videos and instructions to make your own dog flap or door or simply purchase a pre-made one.
- final Safety Checks
Final checks for loose nails and screws or splinters is a must. The last thing you want to do is insulate the whole dog house and then your dog get injured on a stray nail.
How to Make and Keep a Dog House Warm in the Winter
Adding a commercial style heater in to a dog house can be a quick way to get a dog house to stay warm. The problem with this is the cost associated to doing this. Finding a more suitable and cost effective way of keeping your dog house warm can be challenging. Keeping the dog house dry and warm inside is also a challenge. There are many quick and simple ways of doing this.
Placement of the Dog House
Moving your dog house to the warmest part of the garden or house is the simplest way to improve the temperature. Keeping the house sheltered from the wind will also make a huge difference.
The best option is to find an area where there is a significant amount of sunlight that will warm the dog house up accordingly. If wind is not a factor then you could always look into some solar panels that can simply fit on your dog house and use the sunlight to continue to warm up the house. As solar panels require sunlight, night time heat is a little more difficult in this scenario.
Insulating the House
Dogs are great at generating their own body heat which in turn keeps the dog house and blankets warm. If you insulate your dog house correctly, it will manage to stay warm for a much longer time. Covering all holes and gaps in the dog house with the right amount of insulation will prevent any warm air escaping.
Raising the dog house away from the floor and then insulating with straw and a blanket will ensure the dog is warm at all times. The comfort of the blanket and the warmth your dog generates will help keep the house and your dog warm and comfortable in the coldest of temperatures.
Using an Industrial Heater
Many manufacturers of heaters now have simple plug and play heaters which are great accessory for a dog house. Heat mats are also another great accessory that can simply be plugged in and will warm your doggie up from below. This is great if covered with a blanket so your doggie doesn’t get too warm and stays comfortable. Keep monitoring the electrical outlet when using these type of blankets as you don’t want your doggie chewing through the wire. Also, ensure the temperature is not set too high so your doggie doesn’t get burnt.
Purchasing a heated dog house will prevent such accidents but this might not be the right option as it is more costly.
Lights can be a great source of heat especially in such a small space like a dog house. Incandescent bulbs are the best bulbs to use if your dog cannot reach the bulb with its head or come in to contact with it at all. Fitting a fire proof surround on the bulb is another great way to keep your doggie safe from burns.
There are pet specific bulbs available which are red bulbs. These are much safer than white bulbs as they can prevent your doggie from lack of sleep due to the brightness.
Heat from your house is also another great way of giving your doggie house some warmth. A Dryer hose is a safe way of extracting heat from the home (using a fan) and pushing it through the hose into to doggie house. Drill a hole larger enough to take the aluminium hose. Then connect the hose to the dog house and your house. Heat will flow through the hose into the dog house. You can increase the amount of heat by using a fan to blow more warm air.