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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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How to Make a Doghouse Warm in the Winter

By Phyllis Benson
 

Overview

When your dog is outside in winter, she needs a warm doghouse where she can take refuge from inclement weather. A dog that is cold is in danger of hypothermia. The doghouse may keep her dry, but it must also keep her body temperature normal. If she is too cold and her body temperature falls below 99 degrees Fahrenheit, she may begin shivering, become lethargic and, in severe cases, die. A warm doghouse helps her stay healthy whether she is outside for a few hours or all day. Simple projects can make her doghouse winter-warm.

Step 1

Move the doghouse to a sheltered location. This can be the wind-sheltered side of your house, on a covered patio or inside the garage. Keep the doghouse off cold ground or concrete by placing it on a thick pad of wood chips, straw or insulation. A wood pallet is inexpensive, can be insulated with rigid foam sheets within the pallet shell and holds most doghouses 3 to 4 inches off the ground.

Step 2

Weatherproof the doghouse. Use an outside covering such as house wrap over the roof and walls. This synthetic, woven barrier blocks air and moisture from the doghouse while trapping your dog’s body heat inside. It attaches easily with staples or special sealing tape, is removable for warm weather ventilation and can be reused the following winter. Follow installation instructions so that water does not run behind the house wrap and cause mold or wood rot.

Step 3

Insulate the doghouse. Hang carpet from hooks along the walls and fit carpet to the floor for temporary or seasonal insulation. For permanent insulation, use rigid foam sheets or foil-faced insulation. Staple or glue the insulation to the ceiling and walls and then cover with canvas, plywood or panels to keep your dog from chewing or tearing the insulation. The ideal doghouse is large enough for dog movement but small enough to retain body heat, so choose insulation that maintains the interior dimensions, such as thick foam insulation for an overly large doghouse and thin foil-enclosed bubble insulation for a small doghouse.

Step 4

Protect the doghouse entrance. Install a doghouse door such as a vinyl or carpet flap to keep cold wind out of the doghouse. Or make a lean-to with a sloping roof over the doghouse entrance to keep out wind and rain while allowing your dog protected access. If she is an agility dog, anchor agility tubing or an open-ended barrel for protected doorway entry.

Step 5

Heat the doghouse. Products include electric floor heating pads or wall-mounted pet heaters. If your dog gnaws cords, enclose the electric cord in PVC tubing or conduit for safety. Do not use electric bed or doghouse pads if your dog chews bedding. Choose nonelectric alternatives such as microwaveable pads that emit heat for several hours.
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