It is widely believed that animals accustomed to living outside fully adapt to weather conditions and temperature changes. As such, warming up a doghouse for the winter can often be perceived as an owners’ whim, a desire to emphasize their ostentatious care for their pet. The truth is, dogs may suffer from cold and heat no less than people, while the risk of getting a cold can be even twice higher than that of its owners.
Before the arrival of frosts and windy weather, it is essential to sufficiently insulate the doghouse. As a responsible pet owner, you should do this quickly enough and, at the same time qualitatively, since many breeds simply cannot tolerate the extreme colds and discomfort they entail.
There are two options to keep your pet warm during cold winter months: you can either add insulation to an existing doghouse or build a new one with your own hands. The latter requires a maximum of a couple of days and minimal costs but provides quite tangible benefits.
Below are several valuable tips on how to provide your pet with a warm backyard doghouse for winter.
Essential Steps to Build an Insulated Doghouse on Your Own
Building a doghouse from scratch is the most optimal option, as this way, you make it with your dog’s size and height in mind, as well as its breed’s specific needs. Here are several steps you should follow when building a doghouse in your backyard:
- If you’re going to make a doghouse from wood, make sure to treat it with a pet-safe wood preservative.
- Check each part of the doghouse structure for cracks and holes and, if necessary, eliminate them by using mounting foam. Also, make sure the doghouse is completely sealed.
- Add thermal insulation material to the floor, and lay the finishing flooring. Waterproof the wall cladding if necessary, and attach insulation material to the doghouse’s walls.
- The last is the insulation measures of the roof.
In addition to the insulation, you can also use some additional ways to heat up the dog house. For example, the best inverter generator will enable using heating pads, heater boxes (so-called doghouse furnaces), or heated dog beds safely.
When it comes to the size and structure of the doghouse, you should consider the following:
- The height of the inner part of the doghouse is usually equal to its width. The dog should be able to stand at full height. The ceiling, after its surface is insulated, should not reach your dog’s withers.
- The length or depth of the doghouse should ensure that your dog can lie down and stretch its front paws.
- The doghouse’s entrance should be with a threshold, but you can also add a heavy-duty vinyl flap door to trap warmth inside and keep the snow and wet outside.
Consider the Doghouse’s Location
Where you place the doghouse also impacts how warm it will be inside. Try to find the sunniest spot in your backyard and place it there, allowing the doghouse to reap the benefits of solar gain. In addition, you may also want to paint it a darker color to increase the absorption of the warmth from the sun. Lastly, ensure that the doghouse’s door is turned away from the cold winds.
Choose Insulation Materials
Usually, there are two major concerns you need to address when choosing the material for the insulation of the dog house. First of all, the insulation should be relatively harmless to avoid allergic reactions and aggressive behavior in your dog. Secondly, the material should not absorb moisture as it will lose its insulating qualities over time.
There are several options to consider, and each of them has its own pros and cons:
- Foam plastic. It is a good option to insulate the house easily. You don’t need waterproofing since the foam is resistant to environmental factors. Considering that, in any case, the dog will try to scratch or crack the insulating material, cladding is necessary. It is better to choose styrofoam for the insulation of the booth.
- This material is completely natural, meaning that it is safe for the pet, making it an ideal yet affordable option for warming the booth. Given that it has a good level of vapor permeability – prevents the accumulation of moisture in the booth – waterproofing measures are not required. Using felt, there is also no need to do cladding – it would be enough to fix the material with nails.
- Mineral wool. The most popular material used for insulation. However, there are several nuances you need to take into account if you want to use it for insulation. A dog can chew or tear the insulation material with its claws at any time, and it will lose its properties. Given the structure of the mineral wool, if the material gets into the pet’s digestive system, it can threaten its health. Waterproofing of the material and cladding are also mandatory measures, regardless of whether the finishing is carried out inside or outside the house.
- Other materials. Among the most popular are polyethylene and penofol, as they have good thermal insulation properties and can be easily secured outside using a stapler. Some other materials that can be used for insulation are laminate, isolon, and even ordinary sintepon.
As such, you can use whatever option suits your budget, but make sure the insulation material is securely attached and safe for your pet to be around.
The Bottom Line
The quality of your pet’s life directly depends on how you provide for its needs. As a responsible pet owner, you should give your dog an insulated, safe place in your backyard that will keep your dog warm during the winter months.
First of all, make sure to adjust the structure of the doghouse to your dog’s breed size and needs. Then, you need to take the selection of insulation materials seriously to ensure they are pet-safe. Lastly, make sure not to overdo it – with too thick insulation layers, the doghouse might become too tight for your pet to be there. Good luck!