How To Build Your Own Dog House
Veterinarian Approved on July 18, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Before starting to build a dog house for your dog, there are a few factors that should be taken into consideration.
* The Size of the Dog House
The size of your dog at its full grown height, should determine how large his dog house should be. Your dog should be able to stand up inside at full height, turn around and lie down in a stretching position without any part of his body, paws or tail touching neither the sides nor the roof of the dog house. Make sure that the width of the door is wide enough for your dog to walk comfortable in and out of. Keep in mind that if your dog will be spending time outside in his dog house during the cooler winter months, that an overly large dog house will compromise your dog’s retention of body heat.
* The Weather
Dog houses that have hinged roofs are becoming quite popular. The hinges allow the roof to be raised during hot weather, allowing cooler air to flush out stagnant warm air. Some of these roofs can also be lowered to create a smaller space for your dog to lie in that will help him preserve his body heat. Try not to use asphalt shingles when building the roof of your dog’s house, unless you are able to provide adequate insulation between the roof and the main area of the dog house. A great idea is to build a slanted roof. This will help to ensure easy drain off of rain and snow. However, never build or buy a dog house that has a peaked roof, as they attract wasps and hornets who love to build their nests in the peaked crevices and they also prevent heat retention. Something else to consider when building a dog house is to add in wind walls. These help to break the wind and work to keep the dog house warmer in the winter. Don’t forget to build the house a few inches off the ground in order to keep it properly dry and away from any flea eggs that can hatch in the soil. This will also cause air to flow beneath the house and will then prevent any moisture from sticking to the bottom of the dog house. If you have extra money to spend, you should consider adding a heater or air conditioner into the dog house, especially if your dog will be spending most of its time in it.
* Door Location
When building your dog’s house, do not place the front door in the middle of the house. Instead, place the front door to one side of the front of the house, as this will help to prevent your dog from being directly exposed to adverse weather conditions. You can even design your dog’s house to have removable front doors. These can then be removed during the summertime and put back on during the winter months. Another alternative is to build an awning over the top of the front door of the dog house for added shade and protection from the wind, rain and sun.
A very important aspect to any dog house, whether you build it yourself or decided to buy one instead, is to make sure that it does not require high maintenance. A good dog house should be quick and easy to clean. Consider adding removable or adjustable roofs and front doors, wind walls and an awning over the front door. Avoid using certain types of paint, wood stains, or water sealers for the outside of the house as these can inadvertently make the house appear dirtier quicker and you will find that you are constantly cleaning the outside of your dog’s new house.
Stay away from using or buying plastic and metal dog houses because they can become quite hot inside during the summer and very cold inside during the winter. Using natural western red cedar would is the most preferred type of wood to use as it offers the best summer and winter insulation. An added bonus is that red cedar wood oils are natural insect repellants of fleas, ticks, ants and termites. Red cedar wood houses are virtually maintenance free on the outside but can also be painted or stained as well. Place a dog bed that has been filled with red cedar wood chips or shavings into your dog’s house upon completion as they will help prevent insect infestation from creeping into your dog’s bed.
Photo Credit: brandongreer
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan