No matter if you prefer large dog breeds, short-haired dogs, a medium-sized dog, or a pup size dog who fits in your purse, your pet is an extra-large part of your family.
Most dog owners are prepared to do pretty much anything for their furry friend. When winter arrives, this may mean adding insulation to a dog bed or purchasing a heated mat to keep your pet warm. It might mean bringing an outdoor pet inside to warm up, or even letting the pooch hop into the pet owners’ bed for extra warmth.
Some people, though, prefer to keep their pet outdoors year-round. In order to do this, a heated or insulated dog house is likely necessary for those cooler months.
Read on to learn about how to choose an outdoor dog house, types of insulation you might use, and how to best keep your pet warm year-round.
Choose The Dog House That Best Suits Your Pet – And Your Climate
Not all dogs are alike. Nor is every backyard, or budget. When selecting the right pet house with insulation for your pooch, you will want to consider these factors.
Know What To Expect In Your Climate
The temperatures you experience in the winter will obviously vary depending on where you live. The average temperature in February in the United States in 2019 was 32 °F. But, given the country’s size, regions, and climate ranges, it’s not easy to make broad predictions about winter weather.1
Therefore, you may want to rely on your own winter weather experience in your climate. If you are new to your area, you may want to research the climate of past winter months. This information will help you plan for your pet house’s needed level of warmth, bedding, heating, and insulation.
Check the weather each day and night before leaving your pet outside. Some weather conditions just aren’t suitable for certain breeds.
Know What Level Of Insulation Your Dog Will Need
Some dogs are better equipped for the cold than others. For example, short-haired dogs like a labrador retriever will lose body heat more rapidly than dog breeds with two fur coats, such as a golden retriever or Siberian husky.2 There are certain breeds that can’t handle much cold at all.
Here are some factors that may help determine the ability of your pet to keep warm and withstand cold climates:
- General health
- Ability to acclimate
- Physical conditioning
- Coat type and density3
Your veterinarian can help you determine how much heat or insulation will be necessary based on these factors.
What Types Of Insulation And Heating Options Are Available?
There are many different types of dog houses with insulation available. There are also many amenities and types of insulation from which to choose.
Pick from an easy to clean plastic dog house, to an outdoor dog house with foam insulation, to a pet house with a removable roof and a self-closing door. The possibilities are numerous, however, some pet houses may be warmer than others. Choosing the correct dog house will depend on your pet and the type of winter to come.
How To Insulate An Outdoor Dog House
As your dog’s body temperature, or a heating device, helps to keep the pet house warm, insulating the walls, floor, and roof will help retain the structure’s warmth.
Here are some ways dog owners can insulate an outdoor dog house with durable materials:
- Thicken the walls using insulation
- Ensure all holes in the roof, walls, and floor are sealed (unless needed for ventilation)
- Cover the floor with insulating materials
- Raise the dog bed off the ground
- Add blankets or a heated mat
- Keep the dog house inside another shelter like a sunroom or garage4
Types Of Insulation
Whether your outdoor dog house is made of plastic, wood, or some other durable material, you can use the following types of insulation to help it retain heat:
- Foam (polystyrene foam insulation or expanding foam spray)
- Fiberglass insulation
- Mulch (though other easy cleaning options may be more suitable)
- Bubble wrap5
- Soft, water-sealed wood such as kiln-dried cedar6
OK, Everything Is Sealed – But What About The Door?
Obviously, your pet needs to be able to move in and out of their durable kennel through a door. You’ve taken all these steps to make sure your outdoor dog house retains its heat. But you don’t want all that heating effort to vanish through a door that won’t seal or close.
During warm months, a door flap made with rubber or plastic can be an excellent way to keep the elements or unwanted pests out of your outdoor dog house. A door flap can provide much-needed ventilation as well.7
However, in the winter, you may want to create a better door seal.
Therefore, a self-closing door that can shut behind your pooch, yet still allow it to exit, may be the ticket for you. Just be sure that the dog house still allows for some ventilation.8
If you prefer to keep your pet an outdoor pet, make sure you know your climate, the types of insulation options available, and the ability to which your pet can withstand cold temperatures.
If it’s your pets first time using an outdoor house, start by leaving them outside for shorter periods of time. This way you can assess whether or not the dog house is keeping your pet warm enough despite the weather conditions.
Of course, leaving your pet outside on extremely cold days and nights can be dangerous. So if you have concerns whether or not the dog house will be warm enough, you’re better off bringing your pet inside for the night. Lastly, never hesitate to ask your vet for advice on keeping your pet warm during the winter.
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