Though dogs have their fur coats to keep them warm and enjoy playing in the snow, you need to winterize their kennels as they are still at risk of hypothermia or frostbite. All dog breeds need protection from the harsh cold, even those that do well in winter and cold climates.
If the dog house you bought has no built-in installation, you will have to modify the existing house or invest in some insulation products. You can insulate the floors with straws, wood shavings, or a blanket and Styrofoam sheets for the walls. You can also install dog house heaters and heating mats. Read the article below for more inexpensive ways to keep your dog warm during the winter.
Ensure the dog has enough space
The dog produces body heat, which warms up the air around it. An insulated doghouse should not be three times more than the size of the dog. It allows the dog to warm the kennel and also have enough space to move around.
The dog needs shelter with enough space to move around and lie down; however, too much space during cold climate may not be appropriate. There will be too much room to contain the heat in the dog house. If your dog house is well insulated but still too big, you should section it off using a plywood board for sleeping. Then move the bedding to the sleeping section for more coziness.
Positioning the kennel away from wind direction
The insulation may do no good if the wind is blowing directly to the dog house. Proper positioning of the dog house maximizes all the other insulation steps below.
The kennel door should face away from the open and against the wind. Place the dog house on the part of the yard that is not prone to flooding.
Raised flooring to avoid ground contact
It would be best if you also raised the kennel a few feet off the ground. Close contact with the ground allows the cold to seep through the flooring into the dog house. Use a wooden pallet as a platform bigger or the same size as the kennel. You can also raise the dog house by screwing in four wooden stilts on the kennel’s bottom corners. Alternatively, you can place the kennel on your house’s front porch with the kennel opening facing the side.
Fix holes and crevices on the roof and walls
Have someone shine a light over and around your dog house and examine cracks, crevices, and openings on the roof, walls, and floor. If there are cracks, the light will shine through. Then seal these cracks with waterproof silicone caulk. The purpose is to prevent heat produced by the dog from leaking to the outside. It also prevents wind chill from blowing into the kennel.
Cover the doorway
Hang a waterproof or rubber doormat on the doorway with some screw to keep the cold air out and the kennel’s warmth. The material should be solid enough to prevent the cold air from blowing in but flexible enough to allow the dog to move through it.
Insulation of floors and walls
Insulation works to keep the heat in and the cold out. There are several materials you can use to insulate the floors and keep the warmth produced by the dog’s body heat inside the dog house of your dog house. You can use wood shavings, straws, fiberglass, bubble wrap, reflective foil, polystyrene foam, mover’s blanket, or insulated bedding. Fill the floor up to 6 inches with wood savings or straws. The shavings will need to be changed once every two to three weeks.
Styrofoam sheet insulation
To properly insulate a square dog house with Styrofoam, you’ll have to disassemble the dog house and then follow the steps below:
- Remove one side of the walls and measure the dimensions.
- Cut the Styrofoam using a utility knife to the exact measurements of the walls.
- Staple the Styrofoam using a staple gun on both sides of the walls.
- Reassemble the walls of the dog house back into replace.
- Screw plywood of 1/4 inches thick over the Styrofoam on the outside.
- Check for rough edges and sand them down and if staples are sticking out, hammer them down. If there are any gaps, fill them in with silicone caulk.
Reflective foil for reflection
Reflective foil is a good material that reflects back your dog’s body heat. You line the inner walls and roof of the dog house with the foil. For effectiveness, it can be used in conjunction with other insulation materials like fiberglass. You may also use a unique bubble wrap that is lined with aluminum for insulation. The air pockets allow the heat to be maintained inside the dog house.
Heating pads and units
Dog house heaters are the easiest ways to keep your dog warm throughout the winter. Dog heaters and heater pads produce heat, which increases the overall temperature of the room. They are also safe if installed and used correctly.
Heating units are mounted on the roof; therefore, no sleeping space is lost. You should also put a timer to protect your dog from overheating or accidental burns.
A heating pad is a mat which has in-built heating elements inside. It can be placed under the dog’s bedding or on the walls to warm up the kennel. Remember to keep cords away and covered by chew-proof material.
Heated water dish
You shouldn’t also forget that the dog’s water bowl can freeze during winter, and you have to keep changing the water several times a day. You can invest in a heated water dish available at local pet stores, preventing the dog’s drinking water from being too cold or freezing. Do not keep the heated water dish closer to the wood shavings.
Try a dog house insulation kit
When winterizing comes last minute, and there is no time for house modifications, you can grab your dog an insulation kit. Insulation kits come in different varieties, but they all control the dog house’s temperature. Some can be used of their own while others are used inside the dog house.
Kindly note that insulating your dog house is essential during winter months and during extremely cold nights. If taking these measures is more complicated than you thought, you can always buy an insulated winter dog house to be used during the season. If your dog is small, you can have the dog sleep indoors. With a bit of extra planning and the tips above, your dog will be cozy and warm during the winter.
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