Getting Started With Dog Houses: Advice For the DIY Inclined

diy dog houses
Forget chalet chic, think more kennel perfection. Here are some tips to help you build the best dog house ever.

Feeling fancy? Dreaming of the perfect little home for your outdoor dog? You need to consider a few things before you get building! Just because the housing market is not favoring us humans doesn’t mean you should let your pup sleep in a sad dog house!

Read our other article regarding tiny dog houses.

Consider the Size of Your Dog

DIY dog houses sizes

First things first, a Chihuahua needs a smaller dog house than big dogs like German Shepherds. Actually, not all dogs are outdoors dogs. If you live in Canada like us, there is no way anyone would let you keep your Chi in an outdoor doggie house. Little known fact: the door of the house doesn’t need to fit your dog’s entire height. No need to take into consideration the full height of your dog (from the ground to the top of its head). Dogs can fit through most doggie doors with ease. The width of the door should be just enough to accommodate the dog to keep it warm inside. Inside, the house should be large enough for the dog to stand at full height, move around, turn around and lie down. Your dog doesn’t need a Mac-mansion. A larger-than-needed home is not good for the dog’s retention of body heat during cold days.

Weatherproof Dog Houses

Some dog houses come with hinged roofs. This feature allows owners to raise the roof during hot and humid weather. This flexibility provides adequate air flow to flush out warm air and allow fresh or cool air to enter. In some cases, the roof is adjustable. You can lower it to create a cozier space for your pup. Asphalt shingles are only good if you have good insulation between the roof and the house. Prefer a model with a slanted roof to help rainwater drain properly.  Avoid building or buying barn or peak style roofs. They attract  hornets, wasps and other insects and prevent heat retention. Wind walls can be installed in the dog house to break the wind and help your pet stay warm. The house should also be a reasonable distance off the ground to keep it dry. Some dog houses come with air conditioning or heating. Of course, this costs a lot more than a regular dog house.


DIY dog houses doors

The front door of the dog house should be located to one side instead of in the middle. This helps protect your dog from the elements. Some models are designed with removable doors, or with no doors at all. Using a door will help keep the dog house warmer during cold months. An awning type cover can also be used over the opening for added shade and protection.

Go For Something Easy To Clean And Maintain

  • Removable or adjustable roofs
  • Doors, partitions
  • Wind walls
  • Flexibility in cleaning
  • Restrict use of paint, stains, or water sealers for the outside of the house

Use Wood

DIY dog houses made of wood

You should avoid buying a plastic or metal dog house. It’s not a good idea because they get too hot during the summer and too cold in the winter. We read somewhere on a forum that natural western red cedar wood is the best. It offers the best insulation for dogs: warm in the winter and cooler in teh summer. Red cedar wood oils are also natural tick, flea and termite repellant. If you choose to use this wood, you should also know that it’s very low maintenance. Sprinkling red cedar wood chips or shavings in the bedding also helps keep most bugs out. Wooden roofs are also great to keep the temperature just right.

Keep The Dog House Elevated

DIY dog houses should be elevated

Putting your dog house in direct contact with the ground is not a good idea. It increases the likelihood that your pup will be cold and wet. It also raises the possibility of infestation from flea eggs that hatch in the soil. You can use bricks, rocks or stones arranged in a level and stable manner to elevate the house. The elevation will allow air to flow beneath the house. It prevents moisture from building up in the dog house.

Vet bills are expensive. Be responsible and make sure you take good care of your dog. This includes picking or building the right dog house for your pup.

You could build your own doghouse

build your own DIY dog house

Building your own dog house means that you can tailor it to your pet’s specific needs or preferences. It also means that you get to show off your design skills to the entire neighborhood. A dog house should be large enough. Your dog should be able to turn around but it shouldn’t be too big. It must be build to help your dog retain body heat. Most dog houses available for sale in pet stores are a fairly standard size. If you have a particularly large or small dog, store bought models are far from ideal. Building your own dog house is a creative solution to this prickly problem.

There are a few things to remember when buying the materials for your doghouse: 

  • Make sure the doghouse is raised from the ground to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood
  • Ensure that you purchase exterior grade plywood and not pressure treated plywood. The latter is treated with chemicals which may be harmful to your dog if chewed.

After that, get the size right, the wood right and the elevation just right and you’re pretty much set. After that, you can let loose and make it Pinterest perfect for your pooch.


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