You’ve heard of man caves and she sheds — is there any reason you shouldn’t give your furry best friend a room of his own, too?
In the wild, animals burrow in dens to protect themselves from the elements and predators. Some species, like wolves, polar bears and red foxes, use maternal dens to give birth and nurture their newborn for the first 10-12 weeks of their life. These temporary homes provide shelter and protection until the youth move on to the next stage of their lives.
Although dogs aren’t recognized as den animals, your pup may enjoy a place in the yard to take a rest and get a drink of fresh water. Whether you want to pay homage to his wild ancestors with a unique design or simply construct a one-of-a-kind structure, here are a few ideas for building a cool dog house that will be the envy of the neighborhood.
What’s beneath your backyard porch? If it’s unused space, why not spend a little time and money to turn it into a functional area for your dog to hang out? Here are the basics:
- Clear out the space. If you haven’t been underneath the porch for awhile, be careful. Remove any debris and signs of other animals, such as rats, raccoons, or feral cats.
- Lay down substrate. Opt for pine or cedar shavings like these from , which are comfortable to lie on and naturally repel fleas and other insects.
- Enclose the area. If you want the area to double as a kennel, use strong fencing material like chain link. Otherwise, feel free to be creative with lattice or other materials that match the exterior of your house.
- Add landscaping if desired. Be sure to choose non-poisonous plants that are easy to care for.
Wine barrel hideaway
Wine barrels can be repurposed into a variety of functional pieces of furniture — and an outdoor dog house is just one unique example. Here’s how:
- Purchase a clean wine barrel. Check your local winery or retail liquor outlet to see if they have one for sale.
- Open one end. You can either remove the end completely or cut a hole just large enough for your pup to step inside.
- Build a base. You’ll be tipping the wine barrel on its side and you don’t want it to roll while Fido is napping.
- Furnish the interior with comfy blankets or natural material like pine or cedar shavings. Either way, choose something you can easily clean.
Pup play station
Create a secret place for your dog to hide away that doubles as a fun climb-and-play station with these two unique ideas:
- Repurpose an empty plastic barrel or corrugated plastic drainage pipe into a dog shelter. Choose a spot in your yard that can be accessed from both sides. Build up each side with fill dirt, then lay sod to create a pathway across the top of the underground dwelling. Close off one end of the barrel or pipe to create a hiding place or keep both ends open so your dogs can run through. Finish the opening(s) with decorative stone to resemble a tunnel entrance or primitive stone cave.
- Transform a plain, plastic dog house into a rock cave. Use leftover landscaping rock to build around the existing shape, securing as you go. Feel free to landscape accordingly, using ivy or other climbing plants to complete the transformation.
Savvy storage shed
Thesefrom Home Depot make great dog houses. Just add a doggy door or two and your pup’s favorite blanket to give him a functional and durable spot to retreat when he’s outside.
Kiddy play sets
Who says human kids should have all the fun? Plastic playhouses for kids can make great indoor and outdoor dog houses for your pampered pet, too. Search online sources for garage sale finds or buy a new one the next time they go on sale, like thison rollback at Walmart. Tuck it away in an unused part of your yard and, if you’re so inclined, add fencing and landscaping to give it more charm.
If you think you’ve exhausted all of the ways to repurpose a wood pallet, think again! A pallet’s wooden slats are the perfect ventilated material for assembling a DIY dog house. Its construction provides a raised platform floor as well as pre-constructed walls. Use another pallet as the roof and cover with tin sheeting to provide protection from the elements.
Does your dog need a dog house?
Dog houses give your pet a temporary place to get out of the weather and rest, no matter the season. If you do decide to provide an outdoor shelter for your dog, choose materials that are suitable for your climate and easy to clean. With a little imagination, you can build a unique structure that reflects your style and personality while creating a safe and comfortable environment for your favorite furry friend.
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