The doghouse illustrated in Figure 1 is basically a frame of 2”x 2”s with a ½” or ¾” weatherproof plywood exterior. It has an entrance and a hallway that are separated from a sleeping area. The walls, floor and ceiling of the sleeping area are insulated with 1½” Styrofoam sheets which, in turn, are covered on the inside with a panelling of ¼” hardboard or similar material.
Sleeping Area Floorspace
For each inch of your dog’s height (measured from top of shoulder to ground) allow 36 square inches of space. For example. A dog 12 inches tall needs 432 square inches, or a floor area of 16” x 27” = 432 square inches.
Sleeping Area Height
Add 1 to 2 inches to your dog’s measurement when in a sitting position (top of head to the ground), in order to determine the ceiling height. For example, a dog 12” tall will have a sitting height of 14” and the doghouse ceiling should be 15” to 16” high.
Some breeds of dog can live outside during the winter, if they are provided with an insulated doghouse of the proper dimensions. The dimensions of the doghouse are directly proportional to the dog’s size and are critically important if the dog is to maintain warmth in the doghouse with his/her own body heat.
- Dogs should be acclimated to living outside when they are young and the weather is warm.
- During severe weather, dogs may have to be brought inside the family home.
- Aged, young or infirm dogs should not be housed outdoors, especially during cold weather.
- Dogs with short coats are prone to frostbite and cannot endure the cold very easily.
Doghouse exteriors should be finished with a weatherproof material or non-leaded paint. Changing the location of the doghouse will allow you to control the effects of the sun, shade and wind.
Bedding material should be put in the sleeping area; straw is recommended. It is not advisable to use blankets. Change the bedding every 1 to 2 weeks and keep the house interior clean.
Ideally, the roof of the doghouse should be removable to make cleaning the interior of the doghouse easier.
A burlap or canvas outside flap should be used to provide more weather protection in the winter and can be removed in the summer.
The house should be elevated on bricks or cinder blocks to keep the floor dry. It may then be necessary to provide a low base platform which will allow the dog access into the raised house and an area off the ground on which to lie when outside his/her house.
The SaskSPCA recommends that a dog who is kenneled outdoors should have the opportunity to spend time indoors for socializing and play.
Our thanks to the Ontario SPCA for permission to use this material.