Choosing a Doghouse for your Dog

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. March 16, 2017
Choosing a Doghouse for your Dog

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Although we at AnimalWised recommend that dogs live inside the home, not everybody chooses that option. In those cases, and also to offer your dog a second home while it plays in the garden or is outdoors for any other reason, there should be a doghouse.

Choosing a doghouse for your dog is essential if you want it to stay comfortable and safe. In order to help you, in this AnimalWised article we will discuss the best materials, designs and sizes for an outdoors doghouse or kennel. Read on!

You may also be interested in: How Do Cats Choose Their Human?

What is the best material for a doghouse?

Most doghouses or kennels are made of wood, plastic or metal: each of these materials has its pros and cons, as they greatly influence the thermal insulation, resistance and hygiene of the shelter.

1. Wooden doghouses

Wooden doghouses have the great advantage of thermally insulating the interior. Furthermore, this type of doghouse is often more aesthetically pleasing than those made of other materials. Besides, wood is hardier than plastic, especially if the dog has the habit of chewing or biting furniture.

However, among the drawbacks of wood for a doghouse is that it is more difficult to clean and likelier to collect moisture, which can favor the development of fungi, insects and fleas.

If you choose a wooden doghouse for your dog, invest in good quality wood like cedar and waterproof treatments. However, check that the treatment and paint is not toxic as the dog may chew on it and get sick. Plywood is usually treated with toxic chemicals, so it's best to avoid it.

2. Plastic doghouses

Plastic doghouses are becoming increasingly popular. One of the main advantages of plastic is its price, as it is usually cheaper than wood, as well as being lighter and insect-resistant. Its main benefit, however, is that plastic is easy to clean and does not favor the development of fungi. To maintain the doghouse's hygiene you'll just need a little detergent, a hose and good water pressure.

Among the disadvantages of plastic we can find its poor capacity for thermal insulation. These shelters protect dogs from the sun, wind and rain, but the temperature inside is very dependent on the external environment.

3. Metal kennels

Fortunately, metal kennels are becoming less common as doghouses. Their only real advantage is the strength and durability, but only when they are of good quality.

In other aspects, metal kennels are not at all recommendable for dogs. Although they protect the animal from the sun, they do not always protect them from the rain and less so from the wind. In addition, their insulation is so poor that the temperature inside is usually too hot or too cold.

Most dogs avoid using metal huts and prefer to sleep on the floor, so these doghouses are usually a wasted expense. Avoid metal kennels.

Choosing a Doghouse for your Dog - What is the best material for a doghouse?

What is the best design for a doghouse?

The design of the doghouse depends mainly on your particular tastes. However, it is good to take into account three aspects that can help you and your pet: a removable roof, the location of the door and the existence of a portico.

  • If the doghouse has a removable roof you will be able to clean it properly. Instead, a fixed-roof kennel cannot always be cleaned thoroughly. This is important for wooden kennels, as plastic can usually be washed without much trouble, even if it has a fixed roof.
  • It is better if the door of the doghouse is offset to one side and not right in middle. Thus, the place where your dog rests will be protected from the wind. Some kennels have an actual door that opens and closes. Although they are very pretty, doghouses with real doors are not practical. You can get a heavy canvas curtain to hang in the door space to block out the wind but still allow your dog to come in and out at will.
  • Doghouses with a portico will help protect the dog from solar radiation. The overhang of the portico provides shade at the entrance of the house and freshens the space. This type of doghouse is more useful in hot climates and where solar radiation is very intense.
Choosing a Doghouse for your Dog - What is the best design for a doghouse?

What is the best size for a doghouse?

The dog's kennel should not be too big or too small. If it is too small, your dog will not want to get in. If it is too large, it may be uncomfortable and cold for your pet.

  • The length of the doghouse should be slightly greater than the length of your dog, measured from the nose to the base of its tail - not the tip.
  • The height should also be slightly greater than the total height of your dog, including the head, but not much more, but not more than 50%. This means that if your dog is 50 cm tall, its house should not be more than 75 cm tall.
  • The width of the doghouse should allow your dog to turn around and lie curled up, but it is not good for it to be very spacious. Dogs like it best when they can snuggle into something, as it creates a safe, lair-like feeling.

Keep in mind that there must be a mattress or some blankets inside the house. The door must also be roomy enough for your dog to pass through comfortable: it can be slightly lower than your dog's height at the withers, but not by much.

Choosing a Doghouse for your Dog - What is the best size for a doghouse?

Choosing a doghouse: Tips

While the above factors must be taken into account when choosing a doghouse for your dog, this is only a guide and not an absolute prescription. Nowadays there are many inventive and innovative kennels or doghouses in the market, so it's best to do some research into brands and even look for DIY projects.

The doghouses in pet shops come in standard sizes for certain breeds, and that is also going to influence your purchase. Don't miss the following articles:

If you want to read similar articles to Choosing a Doghouse for your Dog, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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