While the excitement over the upcoming holidays might be enough to help you stay warm in the face of chilly weather, unfortunately, the same can’t be said about your furry friend.
Dog owners need to be especially vigilant when it comes to keeping their pooch warm and dry during the winter months.
Now, a dog’s coat of fur does offer some built-in insulation, but it’s not enough if they’re spending a lot of time outdoors in the winter. Even heavy-coated dogs like Golden Retrievers or Alaskan Malamutes can suffer from hypothermia.1 Wondering how to keep a dog house warm in the winter? Read on to learn about outdoor shelters when the temperature starts dropping.
A Note About Preparing Your Dog For The Winter
These general tips are applicable to all types of dogs. Short-haired dogs and large dogs alike need extra protection from wind, rain, and snowy weather conditions. Keep these good ideas in mind as you weather-proof your pooch’s outdoor home:
- Don’t forget to protect your dog’s feet. Booties aren’t purely for the cuteness factor. They offer protection for paw pads.
- The same goes for sweaters. While adorable, they help serve as added insulation for short-haired dogs, puppies, and senior dogs who all need help with temperature regulation.
- Minimize time spent outdoors, or slowly adjust the amount of time your puppy or adult dog can play outside.
- Keep your dogs inside in extreme weather conditions. In some areas, it can be much too cold for dogs to sleep outside at night, so consider alternative sleeping arrangements in your garage or kitchen during the coldest time of the year.
- Always have fresh water out for drinking and adjust your dog’s bedding to offer more warmth and comfort.2
Make A Dog House Warmer: Insulation Methods And Tips To Keep Cold Out
If keeping a dog outdoors can’t be avoided, you can fortify your pup’s quarters with added weatherproofing. Your pup shouldn’t have to live in an igloo. There are several things you can do to heat a dog house in the winter season to help keep your pet warm and cozy. A lot of it hinges of dog breeds and behavior, as well as the type of kennel or dog shelter you have to work with.
First, consider moving the structure closer to your home or to a spot under your roof that offers more protection from the wind and water from rain or melted snow.
Another idea is to put the dog house in a sunny patch in your yard, so it can absorb and retain some heat.
Second, add layers of protection to help keep the cold out. Some materials to consider:
- Foam insulation sheets cut to fit the walls and floor of the dog house. Cover with plywood or drywall sheeting to prevent your dog from scratching or chewing it.
- Old carpets and blankets tacked up on the walls.
- Extra layers of cedar shavings.
- A pallet to raise your dog’s feet off the cold ground.
There are also protective coverings you can purchase that can windproof the exterior of your dog house, helping make sure cracks or holes in the walls or roof are fortified and insulated. Dark colors work well, as they retain heat from the sun.
You can also adjust the door or entryway to make sure warm air can stay inside, while the rain and cold stay out.3 If sealing off the doorway, just make sure the house is still well ventilated.
Adding A Heat Source For Added Warmth
This part can be tricky, especially when dealing with plastic dog houses that don’t come insulated. You want to make sure your dog’s house doesn’t pose a fire hazard.
You also don’t want electrical heat sources with dangling wires or cords your dog can chew through. The same applies to electrically heated dog beds — some dogs chew or tear apart bedding, and you want to make sure your pooch stays safe.
Consider a heat lamp you only turn on during the coldest temperatures of the evening, or a microwavable heating pad that retains warmth for a few hours and doesn’t require electricity.4
Winterizing: Don’t Forget Your Pets This Season
If you have questions about keeping your pet warm this winter or are unsure what temperatures your pet is able to withstand, speak to your veterinarian. With all the prep work that goes into surviving another winter, let’s make sure our pets aren’t left behind. Avoiding frostbite, hypothermia, and other complications due to weather conditions should be a priority for every member of the family — including the four-legged ones.
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