How to Heat a Doghouse and Keep Your Pup Warm All Winter
All of us who are pup parents stress out about those winter days when the air temperature and wind chill drive us humans indoors, but our dogs want to go out and play. How do we provide them with a warm, cozy spot to get safely out of the weather when they are not yet ready to come back inside? The solution: An outdoor heated doghouse.
If that sounds complicated and/or expensive, tell your anxiety to take a chill pill—we've got lots of ideas for how to heat a doghouse on a budget. From the most basic heating techniques to going all out with a solar heated doghouse, the ideas and products below for ways to heat a doghouse with and without electricity are sure to keep your furry family member warm and toasty between nipping at snowflakes as they fall, digging tunnels, and running laps to make tracks in all the fresh snow.
It's important to keep safety in mind when heating a doghouse. These are just a few basic tips:
- Make sure your dog is not allergic or sensitive to different types of natural bedding such as straw or wood shavings.
- Choose weatherproof, chew-resistant dog beds.
- Cover any insulation that is not safe to ingest with a layer of plywood to keep your dog from eating or chewing it.
- Be sure that any item with a cord has a protective covering to keep the cord safe and intact.
We like heated doghouses as a warm refuge for dogs who are outside with their owners or to enjoy time in the fresh air during the day, rather an overnight solution for family pets who should be kept indoors. Remember, if it's too cold for you outside, it's too cold for your dog!
8 Ways to Heat a Doghouse
1. Consider your doghouse's location.
Make sure your outdoor doghouse is in a sunny spot where it can reap the benefits of solar gain. Painting the house a dark color will increase the warmth the house absorbs from the sun. While you're at it, be sure the door of the house is protected from (or at least turned away from) chilly winds.
2. Trap heat.
Your dog's house should be a cozy den for your pup where his own body heat will warm the space. If his house is large but your pooch is small, make it easier for him to naturally warm the house by sectioning off a small space as his den. Similarly, if your dog's house has a large opening—be that a doorway or a window—all the heat his body is generating isn't staying inside the house. Add a heavy-duty vinyl flap door to trap warmth inside the doghouse and keep the weather and wet outside.
Shop now: Trixie Pet Products Plastic Door, $11; amazon.com
3. Movin’ on up.
Raising your doghouse off the ground by a few inches will give you a climate control solution in both hot summers and cold winters. Allowing air flow beneath the floor will cool the house on hot days. During cold months, stuff the space between the ground and the doghouse floor with straw or hay. Note, do not use hay or straw inside the house, only outside, as these materials can serve as habitat for fleas or mites. Plan to replace the exterior insulation as needed—it will start to decompose once it gets wet.
Shop now: GoDecor Waterproof Large Pet Dog House, $100; walmart.com
4. Add insulation.
amazon.comIf your pup’s outdoor doghouse is drafty, he will appreciate you taking the time to insulate it. You can use traditional home insulation products, such as pet-safe caulk to fill gaps and foam board, aluminum foil bubble insulation, or rolls of fiberglass insulation to line the floor, walls, and ceiling. For the safety of your dog, install plywood or another solid surface over the insulation to keep him safe from chewing and ingesting it.
Alternatively, buy an outdoor doghouse kit that offers a removable, washable, foam insulation insert that easily assembles with zippers, slips inside the doghouse, and attaches with Velcro.
Shop now: Precision Pet by Petmate Log Cabin Dog House Insulation Kit, $179; amazon.com
5. Choose warm bedding.
There are low-cost ways to give your pup a comfortable place to rest. Add cedar or pine shavings to the interior of his doghouse and the wood shavings will hold body heat, giving your dog a warm spot. These wood chips are natural insect repellants and can help keep fleas and other bugs at bay. But keep an eye out for sneezing or other signs your dog might be sensitive to the scent. Also, wood shavings are not appropriate for pregnant dogs or puppies.
Looking for something softer? Give your dog towels, sheets, blankets, or even rugs (like a bathmat) to cozy up his outdoor abode. Bonus: the items will smell like you, so he’ll be especially happy to snuggle up.
A heated dog bed is another option that will trap and hold your dog’s body heat. Made of thick insulation encased in faux wool and corduroy, it heats up without electricity and keeps your pup cozy and warm using only his own body heat.
Shop now: Aspen Pet Self-Warming Bolster Cat & Dog Bed, $71; chewy.com
6. Add a heating pad.
Consider a warmer to help heat your doghouse. Here’s a simple, low-tech, DIY doghouse heater: Make a heating pad by filling a sock with uncooked rice. Tie a knot or use a zip tie to close the sock and microwave it for a few minutes before placing it in the doghouse. Granted, this is a short-term fix, but one that works and doesn’t need to be plugged in! For something that keeps up the heat (and does plug in), consider a heat lamp mounted to the ceiling. Or, a heating pad placed on the floor to spread heat throughout the doghouse to keep your pooch comfortable.
Shop now: Original Lectro-Kennel Outdoor Heated Pad, $80; amazon.com
7. Add a furnace for Fido.
You have a furnace to heat your house; why not one for your beloved hound? Heaters designed for doghouses have safety features to protect your dog from burns and have chew-proof cord covers to keep him safe. These mini-furnaces have various temperature settings, mount on the wall or ceiling, and warm the doghouse to a specified temperature.
Shop now: ClimateRight Electric Heater for Dog Houses, $100; amazon.com
8. Power up, naturally.
Instead of running extension cords or electrical wires to your doghouse, capture the power of the sun to create energy and have a solar heated doghouse. Even the largest doghouses can utilize solar power with a small, inexpensive set-up. Simply install solar panels on the roof (or in a sunny spot where your dog can’t chew them), attach an inverter, and plug in anything that requires power—a heater, a warming mat, or a heated water bowl.
Shop now: Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit, $160; amazon.com