How to keep dog houses warm all winter

All dog owners want to make sure their precious pooch stays warm and cozy during the colder months of the year, and nothing beats electricity. Installing a heater, a heated dog bed, or even doing something as simple as placing an electric blanket plugged into an extension cord will do the trick.

But if your dog is a chewer, then cords and wires are a potential hazard, not a solution. If your dog likes to gnaw on everything in sight — or you can’t wire up your dog’s house — don’t worry. There are still plenty of ways to keep your dog warm all winter long.

Heat retention is key

Black and white Border Collie in the snowAccording to the American Kennel Club, a dog’s normal body temperature ranges from 101 to 102.5 F. If your dog’s temperature falls below 99 F, you should take your pooch to the vet right away. Maintaining a warm dog house in the winter is paramount to your dog’s health. Thankfully, it’s easy to do.

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your dog stays nice and toasty when the weather outside turns frightful:

  • Make sure your dog’s house is in good condition. Even the smallest of cracks in the walls can let in the cool winter air and prevent heat retention. You should seal off any cracks, and you might want to consider installing a dog door to block the wind once your dog has retreated inside for the night. It’s an easy, affordable fix that can raise the temperature of your dog’s house by a few degrees.
  • Insulate your dog’s house. Insulation is relatively inexpensive and easy to install, but make sure your dog can’t chew on it. If your dog’s home has hollow walls, you can place the insulation inside. If not, covering up the insulation with panels will keep your dog from chewing through it.
  • Elevate your dog’s home. This is only an effective solution if the ground is colder than the air. If the ground in your area stays warmer, leaving the dog house flush against the soil will add warmth. But if the ground turns icy cold as soon as temperatures drop, elevating your dog’s house can help it retain heat.
  • Invest in comfortable, warm bedding. Cedar chips help to repel fleas and other creepy-crawlies, so lining the floor of your dog’s house with wood chips is an excellent first step. Once you have a solid, insect-repellant base, you can add blankets, towels, and a cozy dog bed to create a warm and inviting environment for your pup.
  • Fill up excess space. Smaller spaces retain more heat, and while roomy dog houses are fantastic at keeping your dog cool during the summer months, all that excess space can sap the warmth right out of the air during the winter. Filling your dog’s house with spare blankets, old towels, or throw pillows is a great way to reduce excess open space, which helps cut down on heat loss when the temperature drops.

Add a little heat to your dog’s home

Irish Setter lying in the snow.
freestocks.org/Pexels

While the previous suggestions all center around heat retention, there are a few neat tricks that can help you add heat to your dog’s home without breaking the bank:

  • Paint it black. Dark colors have been proven to absorb more heat than light colors. Most dog houses come in paler shades of beige or khaki green, so slapping on a few coats of paint will heat up your dog’s home by a few degrees.
  • Make sure your dog’s home gets as much sun exposure as possible. Although the sun’s rays aren’t as warm in winter as they are during summer, relocating the house to a sunny part of your yard is still a great way to warm it up. Another good tip is to make sure the largest size of your dog’s house faces the sun directly to absorb the maximum amount of heat.
  • Become your dog’s next-door neighbor. If you have the space for it, you can try moving your dog’s house next to an exterior wall of your home. Not only will this help to shield your dog’s house from the wind, but you’ll share heat from your own home without having to run electricity outside.

As you can see, heating your dog’s house without using potentially dangerous electricity is easy, inexpensive, and most likely won’t take you longer than a single afternoon to complete. Using a combination of these methods will be even more effective at keeping your dog warm all winter. Just make sure to monitor the temperature of your dog’s house so it doesn’t get too toasty.

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