Keeping your dog safe and healthy is always on the mind of any loving dog owner. When the chills of winter arrive, taking ample care of your dog becomes even more important.
If your furry pet is an indoor loving one, and well trained, keeping it in your well heated house makes caring for them much easier. This is not the case,however, for outdoor dog breeds.
Exposing your favorite pets to the crushing icy winds and frosty snow could be very dangerous.
And while it is true that dogs can readjust their external body temperature to a certain extent, just as humans do, winter demands that their body receives externally sourced heat.
During winter, exposed dogs are at the risk of hypothermia, frostbite and the likes.
A summer dog house is sufficient to shield your dog from the sun’s heat. In winter however, these summer dog houses simply won’t suffice.
Luckily some adjustments can be made to the dog house in preparation for winter to keep your dog warm and safe.
Common Dog House Heating Methods
You could opt to upgrade the dog house to a super warm dog house. These are dog houses specially designed to keep your dogs warm throughout winter’s unforgiving subzero temperatures.
If you are not keen on spending the bucks to get an entirely new house just for winter’s sake, you could purchase a heater.
Buying a small electric heater for your dog house is one of the more popular ways to keep your dog safe and warm during winter.
You could also put a heated bed into the mix, to ensure the dog has a warm comfy bed to lie on through the nights.
Besides the above-mentioned items there are a few other electric appliances you can purchase to keep your dog and its house warm.
Electric heated dog mats are also a viable option. Small electric infrared heat bulbs also do a pretty good job keeping the dog house warm.
An electric underfloor heating system can be installed to constantly keep the dog house warm.
All these options suggested have one thing in common, however. They are all electric.
Heating your dog house using electric equipment means more energy consumption for your house. And this means more money.
Many dog owners simply do not have this luxury. An alternative solution could be to do some DIY wiring for a dog house heating system, as this could prove cheaper.
Nevertheless, cheap wiring not done professionally could leave wires exposed to your dog. Over enthusiastic dogs that just love to chew could snatch at the wiring and suffer a fatal dose of electric shock.
So basically, it’s either you spend your money on professional wiring and installation of heating equipment in the dog house or you consider heating up the dog house without electricity.
Heating up your dog house without electricity could appear a farfetched concept when you consider it on the surface.
Yet, this is not only commonly done by dog owners, but it is highly suggested. You will be keeping your dog safe and warm during winter and saving energy at the same time.
The Right Dog House Temperature
The comfortable temperature range for dogs is the same for humans. If your dog has thick and long fur an ambient temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit is suitable for them.
A well heated or warm dog house doesn’t just keep the dog warm, it also keeps them mentally active and healthy.
Dogs are sensitive to changes in temperature and climate. Their sensitivity to changes in temperature can have an influence on their temperament and behaviour.
Very cold temperatures could make dogs irritated and increase anxiety levels.
It’s important that the temperature within the dog house is always checked at intervals to ensure that it is fairly constant and comfortable for the dog.
It’s also even more important if you keep puppies in the dog house that the temperature is kept constant and high enough.
Puppies require more warmth and protection during cold winter months than adult dogs. And this is because they are more susceptible to hypothermia and frostbite during these periods.
Ways To Keep Your Dog House Warm Without Electricity
There are a number of ways to keep your dog’s house warm without having to break your bank. In this section we’ll consider three ways to do this.
Insulate The Dog House
Insulating the dog house is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep the dog house warm. Insulating the dog house will involve a combination of methods.
Step 1: Close up all Holes and Gaps
Look out for holes and gaps in the floor, roof and walls of the dog house. Holes allow cold air into the house, by blocking them off you improve the insulation of the dog house.
Check for card pots and latch mechanisms, as holes can easily be found in them. Use wood filings, plastic sheets and poly fill glue to fill up these holes.
Step 2: Insulate The Walls
The walls have to be well insulated. This will keep heat within the dog house and prevent it from escaping to the surroundings.
To do this, you can make use of a 1-inch foil backed insulation foam. You could decide to use a thicker board if desired, but a 1-inch thick board should suffice.
Place these boards on the walls of the dog house. There will have to be a protective cover for the insulation boards.
Plywood boards or any sort of panels can be used as a protective cover for the insulation boards. This will prevent the dog from chewing the insulation board.
The outside walls should be wrapped in Tyvek or TYPAR. These materials block moisture from getting into the dog house.
They also ensure that existing heat is retained within the dog house. Wrapping the walls with TYPAR will consolidate the insulation of the dog house.
Step 3: Insulate The Roof
Just as was done for the walls of the dog house, the roof of the house has to be insulated.
It’s even more important to do so because the roof is likely to accumulate snow during winter.
Therefore it must be protected against moisture and heat loss. For the roof installation, fix a rigid foam insulation in the roof of the dog house.
To ensure that this foam is not chewed off by your dog, cover it with plywood boards or any available panels that can do the job.
The outside of the roof should be covered with TYPAR. This would retain heat within the dog house and keep away moisture from the rain or snow.
Step 4: Raise The Floor Of The Dog House
It’s important that you get rid of moisture entering the dog house through the floor. One way to get rid of this is to raise the floor of the dog house. This will prevent mud and water from entering the house.
The raised platform will allow air to circulate underneath the house, thereby eliminating moisture. The floor can be raised by using flat concrete blocks.
Step 5: Install A Door
It’s important that a door is installed in the dog house. This will protect the rain and snow from getting into the dog house.
A closed door will also help to retain heat within the house. Let the door be one that can swing open in both directions.
This makes it easier for the dog to move in and out of the dog house whilst minimizing the entry of cold air.
The door should be fitted with a self-close mechanism like a spring to ensure that it is closed at all times to retain warmth within the dog house.
Add Heat To The Dog House
There are a few ways to add heat to the dog house without installing electrical appliances. Let’s consider a few.
Transfer Heat from your Home to the Dog House
Build the dog house in such a way that it is attached to your home and the wall of the dog house is connected to a wall in your house.
This way, the heat that passes through the wall of your house will also be transferred into the dog house.
For optimum heat transfer, let the wall that is attached to the dog house be the thinnest wall in your home. A thinner wall aids heat transfer rate to the dog house.
Pass Hot Air From Your House To The Dog House
A transfer of hot air from your house to the dog house is another way to keep the dog house warm.
To do this, you will need a flexible dryer duct. What the dryer duct does is to absorb hot air away from your house and redirect it to the dog house.
The duct should have a fan mechanism installed on it to force air over the pipe. The hot air will cut out cold air finding its way to the dog house.
This keeps the dog house warm. This method of heat transfer is usually slow, but eventually the dog house space will be properly heated.
Pump Hot Water To The Dog House
You can channel hot water from your house towards the dog house. This can be done with the use of hot water pipes. This is probably the most effective heating method possible.
The hot water pipes will act as heat exchangers, making the space very warm, as they pass hot water through the walls of the dog house.
It’s vital that the pipes are properly coated. This prevents the dogs from chewing on them.
The coating ensures that the dogs are not allowed to come in direct contact with the hot pipes as this can result in serious injuries.
Use A Hot Water Bottle Or A Microwavable Cushion
You can fill plastic water bottles with warm water and put them in the dog house. Avoid putting boiling water in the bottles because spill-over boiling water will cause serious harm to your dog.
The bottle can be covered with a soft sock and put on the dog’s bed. This bottle will then transfer heat to the bed.
On the other hand, a microwaveable cushion is a small cushion that can be warmed by placing it in a microwave oven.
They are usually made of thick insulative fabrics and could be filled with grains. Microwaveable cushions can easily be purchased online as well.
All you need to do with them is to warm them up in a microwave oven and place it in your dog house.
Use Solar Heating
One of the most effective ways to introduce heat to your dog house is through solar heating. Here are two effective methods.
Using Thermal Mass
This is a simple way of making the best use of a simple solar heating mechanism for your dog houses.
A thermal mass is any good heat conductor with a dark surface. It absorbs the heat from the sun in the day.
And because of the nature of the material, it slowly dissipates this heat into the dog house when the temperature drops.
Thermal masses could be incorporated in the construction of the dog house, most preferably the floors.
Some good options of thermal masses are concrete slabs or blocks, stone, tiles and rammed earth.
Install Solar Panel Systems
This is one of the most effective but possibly the most expensive solutions. Solar panels can be mounted on the roof of the dog house.
The solar panels will absorb heat from the sun during the day. And this heat is then passed through a network of pipes that are filled with water.
The hot water pipes are heated up and act as a sort of thermal mass, keeping the inside of the dog house warm.
Even when the sun goes down, the heat absorbed by the thermal mass or the walls of the dog house slowly dissipates into the dog house overnight.
This ensures the dog house is kept warm on cold nights.
Other Ways To Keep The Dog House Warm
There are many other ways you can ensure your dog house is kept warm without need for electric solutions. Let’s consider a few.
- Rice filled sacks can be used as improvised microwaveable cushions. The sacks should be warmed to ample heat in the microwave and placed on the dog’s bed in the dog house.
Be careful not to heat the rice filled sacks so that it’s too hot. If the sack is too hot, it could hurt the dog.
- Fill up the dog house with blankets, pillows and hot water bottles. The idea behind this is to reduce the amount of open space within the dog house. More spaces could trap air and compromise the warmth of the dog house.
- Paint the dog house with a dark color. Dark objects heat up faster and retain the heat absorbed. They dissipate absorbed heat very slowly. Consider painting your dog house with dark colors ranging from black to forest green or navy blue.
We have been able to show you that you can go out of your way to ensure your favorite pet is kept warm and safe throughout winter’s cold without having to break the bank.
Many of these suggestions are simple DIY ideas you can work in in very little or no time. Now, let us quickly run through some non-electric heating options that you must avoid.
Non-Electric Heating Options That Are Not Advisable
At this point, it must also be said that not all non-electric heating solutions are ideal to solve the dog house heating conundrum.
For instance, using gas heaters will appear to be a suitable alternative for expensive electric heaters.
But, consider that gas heaters are fueled by highly inflammable propane gas. This is a serious fire hazard.
Even more so, when you consider that the gas heater will be kept in a dog house where constant supervision is nearly impossible.
Some 12 V battery powered heaters are also used to heat dog houses. These aren’t actually designed to heat a dog house.
Oftentimes the battery is connected to a cigarette lighter. The lighter has to be modified to supply heat to the dog house. However, this really isn’t the problem.
The issue is that a 12 V DC battery cannot supply nearly enough heating power to keep the dog house as warm as an electric heater will do. In simple terms, using a 12 V battery heater is a waste of time.
This same problem is applicable to battery operated infrared light bulbs and battery powered heated blankets.
The DC battery simply can’t survive the power required. Most effective heaters are electric with lots of power ranging from 100-150 W.
With all that mentioned, happy creating!