Even the most well-built dog houses can be difficult to keep at an appropriate temperature. We all just want our pets to be comfortable no matter where they are, but it’s a little more difficult when they’re outside. If they’ll be spending a lot of time in their dog house, you’ll need to make the right adjustments for the climate that you live in. Unfortunately, heat exhaustion and heat stroke have been commonly noted in the news during the most recent summers. You’ll definitely want to take every precaution available to keep your dog from being negatively impacted by the ever changing weather.
Even the hottest climates tend to vary, you’ll need to plan ahead for moisture and humidity.
Tips for the Warmer Seasons
As we’ve suggested in our previous blogs, your dog house should have a raised floor; this means that there is room for air to navigate between the bottom surface and the ground. During the spring and the summer, the best thing to do would be to purchase large blocks of ice and place them beneath the house. As the ice melts and evaporates, cool air will come up from the ground. Since your pet will spend their time lying down or sleeping in their house, they’ll be able to better regulate their body temperature. You don’t want to set the bottom of any dog house directly on top of ice as metals houses are likely to rust, whereas plastic and wood may start to grow bacteria.
Wooden dog houses are the best choice of material if you live in hotter climates. Since wood contains natural pockets of air within its fibers soyour dog doesn't have to deal with humidity build up. Metal and plastic might give off a bit of stifling feeling, since the structures are designed to be completely solid and non-porous. The downside is that they’re less protected from chewing from younger dogs. Insulation can also be added to wood houses, which furthers the cooling effect, and the screen vents serve as a double-purpose to keep the dog house warm during the winter.
Your Pet Needs Plenty of Shade
Your dog house should be placed under a shaded area such as a tree, or some type of overhang that blocks the sun and doesn’t absorb heat radiation. When positioned out of direct sunlight, the temperature in your pup’s home should be about 10 degrees cooler.
You Can Use Electronic Methods As Well
While you’ll have to be a little more cautious about safety, it’s now possible to install fans and air conditioners to your dog house. They’re fairly easy to put in place, and because they’re so small they won’t rack up your electricity bill. When you add the fresh air being pumped into a small space with cooling ice blocks and elevation, things start to feel pretty good inside! Fans are a much safer option, and there are solar powered varieties available as well.
They do have their perks, but an air conditioner or fan shouldn’t ever be used as a replacement for non-electric forms of temperature control. Even if you have the air running all day for your dog, you should always have a backup method in case of a power outage or malfunction.
Cooling Beds are Another Great Option
You’ve probably already got an awesome bed for your dog, but there’s no harm in some extra comfort. Look for beds that contain gel pads within the lining, preferably one you can take out and freeze. The cooler temperature beneath your dog’s bed will feel amazing, and while it may disperse over time, you can always throw into a cooler or freezer for reuse. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of having to freeze it, self-cooling and pressure activated mats are available through Amazon and your general pet supply stores.
“Water” Your Dog House
It may sound strange at first, but pouring water over the roof of your dog house and the area around it also helps to keep things nice and cool. A light sprinkle is fine, but don’t overdo it as too much moisture can invited unwanted guests.
Don't forget about winter weather! Most dogs do fare better in the cold, but you should still be prepared! Pets who are left outside in freezing temperatures can still get frostbite, or succumb to hypothermia.
Keep Your Dog Out of the Wind
A breeze in the summer feels amazing, but cold gust of wind during the winter can actually be painful, as we’ve all experienced. Even though your dog has a thick coat of fur, they still need protection from the elements. If possible, get an L-shaped dog house where your pet has a corner space to hide from harsh gusts of air. If you don’t have a house with this shape, just be sure the back of the house is facing the wind. This way rain, snow, hail and sleet won’t constantly be blown into the entrance.
Consider Buying a Heating Pad
You don’t need a fancy one, and you don’t need to scour endless aisles and websites for something as a simple heating pad. You can quickly find battery powdered heating pads with adjustable settings on Amazon. As a general rule of the thumb, keep it on a medium to low setting, and if you aren’t home its best to just keep it toward the lowest. When you feel it at first, it may not seem warm enough. However you have to remember that your dog, who is covered in fur, will be lying on top of it for long periods of time; they’ll warm up eventually if they stay there long enough.
Under no circumstances should your pet ever be directly in contact with a heating pad. Place blankets, towels, or another soft layer between them. This prevents the heat from burning their skin, and adds another layer of warmth to your dog’s bedding.
Use Straw for Better Insulation
Since winter only comes once a year, straw is an excellent way to stay warm and serves as a biodegradable form of insulation. Place dried hay and grass in the area that you’d normally use for ice in the summer time. If your dog doesn’t mind, you can also get a pile of straw, spread an even layer over the floor, and place blankets and bedding over the top. It’s soft, and stays incredibly warm whether it’s day or not. However, it’s probably not a good idea to keep hay and heating pads together; use one or the other to prevent the risk of a fire.
Make Sure You Have the Correct Size
No matter where you live or what the temperature looks like, the most important thing is that your dog house is the correct size for your pet. A house that’s too big is going to waste too much air conditioning, or release too much heat. If you’ve already put the money into a new dog house that ended up being too big, it’s still doable in the winter time. Extra bedding, straw, and insulation takes up enough space to keep heat from dissipating.
Upkeep and Maintenance
During the winter season, you’ll have to work a little harder to keep the area maintained since there’s going to be so many items inside of the dog house. Every week or so you may or may not have to replace the straw insulation depending on how much moisture it’s gathered and how much of a mess has been made. The best thing to do is simply sweep it all out, and put in a fresh batch so that cleanliness doesn’t become an issue. If it snows a lot, blankets are inevitably going to gather water as your dog walks over them with wet paws. Wash towels and other cloth forms of bedding as often as necessary, your dog needs a safe, dry space to lie down on and wet blankets can lower their body temperature.
If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not your dog house is comfortable, just take a look at the conditions and ask yourself if you’d be okay with spending the night inside of it. Our pets depend on us to make the right judgement call for their well-being, so think it through before you decide there is enough protection from the weather. Our fur kids are just as susceptible to the elements as we are, and they need the right kind of shelter!