If you recently adopted or purchased a new furry family member, it is important to provide a dog house for your pet. Whether your new dog will stay primarily outside or regularly cuddle with you on the couch, a dog house is essential for your pet’s protection outdoors.
Dr. Sarah Griffin, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said providing a safe outdoor place for your dog is important, especially if they live outside or are going to spend long periods of time outdoors.
Portability, durability, and size are all factors to consider when purchasing or building an outdoor shelter for Fido, she added. An effective dog house should protect your dog from extreme temperatures, wind, rain, snow, and even potential predators.
“On a typical hot summer day in central Texas dogs can only dissipate heat effectively by panting,” Griffin said. “However, a shelter, such as a dog house, can help dogs stay cool in extreme temperatures.”
How might an owner choose the most ideal dog house for their pet? The easiest way is to know your dog, Griffin said. For instance, breeds with thicker coats and shorter snouts are more susceptible to heat exhaustion. A dog house that will provide enough shade and air flow will work best for these breeds.
Griffin said to also consider the adult size of your dog’s breed and provide just enough room for your dog to make a complete turn on the inside. For owners who prefer a portable shelter for their pet, a plastic dog house is a great option that is also easy to clean. Owners can also purchase portable tents and pop-up play pens for dogs that only spend limited time outside.
Choosing the material and location of the dog house is another important factor to consider, Griffin said. If your dog is more susceptible to heat exhaustion, a dog house that is made of wood rather than plastic or metal will keep your dog cooler in the summer heat. Owners should move the dog house to the driest and shadiest part of the yard to avoid an uncomfortable living environment.
Keeping the dog house shaded from the sun and bad weather will also preserve the materials. If you plan on building your own dog house, consider lifting the floor of the house off the ground to prevent the shelter from sitting in mud, rain, or snow. This will also promote more air flow, keeping your dog cooler in the summer and drier in the winter,
Griffin said. Lastly, a slanted and hinged roof is ideal for an easy clean-up. Griffin added that metal or fiberglass shingles can protect your pet and preserve your dog’s house through any bad weather storm. While many of us prefer to leave a safety light on in our house during the night, this is not necessary for dogs. In fact, Griffin said it is estimated that dogs can see in light that is five times dimmer than what the human eye can see. Griffin did not recommend providing a steady light for dogs at night. Instead, a motion sensor light placed away from the dog house may be a better option for owners who still desire some outdoor lighting at night.
Whether your dog is a bed hog or an outdoor explorer, providing a dog house for when your dog spends time outside is important. Remember to consider your dog’s needs when building or purchasing a dog house. If your dog lives or spends long periods of time outside, shelter is essential for their health and protection outdoors.
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Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University