If you’re a dog owner and your dog enjoys spending a fair amount of time in your backyard, then it’s high time you considered buying your beloved furry friend its own dog house. A dog house can be your pet’s favourite place to be – a place they can feel comfortable and safe in. But that’s only going to happen if you buy an outdoor dog house that’s appropriate for your dog. Picking the perfect dwelling can be quite tedious, as you’ll have to consider various factors, including the size of your dog, the climate where you live and the location of its new house. Dog houses come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and can be made from different materials.
The most common materials dog houses are made of are wood and plastic. There are some metal models as well, but those are usually used for transporting your dog from one point to another. Wood is the most common material used by far, simply because it’s a great insulator, which means your dog will be warm during the colder months, and cool during the warmer ones. Wood models are more expensive than plastic, and ticks and fleas may be a problem. However, that can be easily resolved by adding cedar shavings inside the unit or by buying a cedar wood house. Plastic houses are durable and light, but they don’t absorb odours as well as wood does. Further, they’re easy to clean using water and soap, and they don’t have pores for ticks and fleas to live in.
The size of the dog house is arguably the most important factor you’ll want to consider. This will help you narrow down your choices, as many models will be too small or too large for your dog. You want a dog house that’s big enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lay comfortably in. But bigger is not always better. The best way to determine the right size is to measure your dog’s floor-to-head height while sitting and nose-to-rump length and adding about 8-10 cm to each measurement. Confident dogs who don’t struggle with anxiety or fear can comfortably live in larger houses, but nervous dogs feel safer in smaller houses, as they provide them with a den-like feeling. Further, larger houses will stay cooler in the warmer months, but they’ll also be cooler in the colder months of the year as well.
Outside dog houses are available in three styles – classic, igloo and canopy. Classic houses are popular for their durability and aesthetics, as well as their ability to stay cool during summer, which is important for us living in Australia. Igloo, also known as dome-style houses feature a shorter profile and are usually better for keeping the dog warm in the colder months of the year. Igloo houses usually come with ventilation openings to allow for more fresh air through the house. These houses are also the most stable in high winds. Canopy, or dog gazebo shelters are best suited for extremely hot temperatures when the shade is of greater importance than protection. They’re usually made of fenced-in enclosures with a canvas top, allowing your dog to unwind in the shade and still enjoy the breeze, making them suitable for owners living in dry and hot climates.
While your dog won’t care about what his new house looks like, you’ll want a dog house that appeals to your aesthetic tastes and blends with your home’s exterior. There are no right or wrong choices – you know what you like, so look for a model that speaks to your tastes. However, make sure you don’t sacrifice function for looks. Picking a house that works well for your pet and keeps it safe and dry is more important than picking a house that you think looks nice.
Consider Your Climate
I briefly talked about the role the climate plays in some of the paragraphs above, and the importance of choosing an appropriate dog house for the typical precipitation and temperature patterns can’t be stressed enough. This is the only way to make sure your dog’s new abode will keep him comfortable. For instance, you’ll need to prioritise things like size and insulation if you live in a colder climate, and if you live in a hot climate, you’ll need to prioritise things like ventilation and headroom. If you live in an arid area, you’ll likely be able to get away with a dog house made from unfinished wood. If you live in a rainy area, on the other hand, you’ll probably want to get an outdoor dog house made from plastic.