Keeping your dog house warm is one way to keep your dog warm and comfortable through the cold winter. There are a number of ways to make your dog house super warm (electric and nonelectric ways).
The electric methods include using or installing an electric heated dog mat/pad, electric heater bulb, electric house heater, etc. And the nonelectric methods include insulating the dog house, adding a straw base or a hot water bottle, and so forth.
Between the two methods, in some cases, the electric-free techniques are a much better choice, as in the case of dogs with an aggressive chewing problem.
Here are some tips to keep a dog house warm without electricity.
1. Insulate Your Dog House
Insulation is probably the best and cost-effective way to keep your dog’s home warm. Here’re the quick steps to insulate your dog house.
Step 1: Patching Holes
First, you want to patch all the gaps or holes in the floor, roof, and walls. These holes include cord ports, ventilation grates, and latch mechanism. Some of the best solutions to do the job are wood or plastic sheeting, and polyfill glue.
Step 2: Insulate Existing Walls
The second step is to insulate the existing walls of the dog house. I usually use 1-inch foil-backed insulation foam boards.
After getting the foam boards ready, install the insulation with a sandwich method, placing the insulation between the wall and a protective cover. Then, cover the walls with canvas, plywood, or pannels to keep your dog from chewing the insulation.
Finish it by wrapping the entire outside walls with Tyvek or Typar. These two materials have been proven to block moisture and retain existing heat.
Step 3: Insulate the Roof
Insulate your dog house’s roof by installing rigid foam insulation. Then cover the installed insulation with paneling or plywood to keep your dog from chewing up this stuff.
As a finishing touch, cover the outside of the dog house’s roof with a tarp or house wrap. These materials act as a temporary air barrier to retain warm air inside the house and to block rain or snow.
Step 4: Raise the Floor
Raising your dog house off the ground allows air to circulate under the house and help to keep moisture off the floor. Moreover, the raised entrance prevents mud and water from coming in during rain and winter season.
Some dog houses come with a raised floor, but if yours do not, you can do it yourself easily with flat concrete blocks or pavers.
Step 5: Install a Door
Once installed, a dog house door will protect your dog from rain or harsh weather as well as retaining the heat inside the house. There are several types of dog house doors offered in the market.
The most preferred is a dog house door that can swing open in both directions so your dog can go in and out as she pleases.
Some dog houses come with a built-in door, but yours is not, you can buy some ready-made dog house doors out there (tap this link to read our review of the best dog houses for German shepherds).
2. Put a Bedding
Proper bedding will cushion your dog house’s floor and keep him warmer in the chilling cold. Here are four of the best bedding choices for your dog’s home:
Dog-friendly blankets can become a simple choice for bedding (click here to see my recommendation). Many of these blankets are made with materials that are lightweight and in good warmth. They don’t harbor insects and don’t cause a mess, unlike wood chips. And they are cheap, so you won’t mind throwing them away after summer.
Fluffy rugs can make a good choice for your dog bedding. They are warm and comfortably soft. Plus, they have a rubber underside that keeps moisture from penetrating and keeps them from slipping.
Ordinary rugs such as front door rugs or bathroom rugs are fine, but with specially designed dog rugs (click here to see my recommendation), your dog will get better warmth and comfort.
The cons are if your dog is a heavy chewer, he’ll destroy the rug in no time, and unlike linens or beds, your dog can’t snug up in them.
Dog beds are more effective and provide better features than any other option despite coming at a higher price point. Your dog will love the warmth and cuddle provided by the self-warming dog beds.
There are some reliable self-warming bed options in the market. The Furhaven is an affordable, yet quality bedding option worth checking out. Or, if your dog needs more warmth, you may want to take a look at the Snuggle Microwave Heating Pad.
Cedar and pine are other good choices for dog house bedding to consider. They are cheap, have a sweet smell, and repel insects, so you don’t need to worry about fleas and bedbugs.
There are two types of wood chips: small chunks and thin shavings. Between the two, choose the shavings as they are softer and won’t cause discomfort,i.e., pressing against the dog’s body.
However, some dogs with sensitive noses might show adverse reactions to these wood chips, such as the nose or eye irritation. If you see your dog sneezing a few times, remove the chips immediately.
Remember that you should never use wood chips if your dog is pregnant or nursing, or if you have puppies. While cedar and pine may be able to repel fleas and other bugs, they can harbor bacteria that can be harmful to your puppies.
3. Clothe Your Dog
Some people might object to clothing their dogs. Although it is indeed unnatural and not every dog likes it, clothes like winter jackets (click here to read my recommendation) can provide a quick-solution to warm your dog up.
4. Stuff Your Dog House
Any excess space will make your dog house colder when it’s cold outside. Filling the house with things like dog blankets, hot water bottles, microwave dog beds, or big pillows could help to keep warmth in the house and make it feels “den-like.”
5. Rice-Filled Socks
Rice-filled socks are another quick solution to keep your dog a bit warmer. It’s quite simple. Fill an old sock with a bunch of uncooked rice. Tie it off and heat it in your microwave for a minute or two. Take the sock out and fill it with your hand.
You want the sock to be nice and warm but not too hot. If it’s not warm enough, heat it again for another minute. When it’s warm enough, put it to your dog’s house. The rice will help retain the heat for several hours.
6. Solar Heated Dog Houses
Solar heated dog houses are a green solution to your dog heating needs. Once installed, you will save money in the long run as the house will have good heat from the sun for free.
There are three types of solar heating mechanisms that you can choose depending on your needs and budgets.
The thermal mass base is the most simple solar heating mechanism for dog houses. The idea is to use thermal mass materials in the flooring. This thermal mass then will absorb heat from the sun during the day and slowly dissipate it at night as the temperature drops.
Anything dense and heavy, a good heat conductor, and has a dark surface make an excellent choice for thermal mass. Some of the most popular forms of thermal mass are concrete slabs, concrete blocks, bricks, tiles, rammed earth, and stone.
Passive Solar Enclosure
If you live in a moderate climate, you might want to consider a passive solar enclosure. In a nutshell, you attach a passive solar enclosure (a greenhouse) to your dog’s home.
The thermal mass base that you’ve installed will capture the heat during the day. During the night, you cover the greenhouse to keep out the cold. A piece of cloth or polythene sheet can be a good cover for the greenhouse.
Solar Panel Systems
A solar panel is the most effective and yet the most pricey solution to heat a dog house without electricity. You also need to a bit DIY. But it’s a fun project to do over the weekend.
First, you’d need to get a solar panel and mount it on the roof of the dog house or somewhere nearby. The panel then collects the heat from the sun and passes it through a network of tubing that is filled with water.
The heated water is then transferred to the house’s thermal mass (a concrete floor). After the sun has set, the solar panel will no longer produce enough power to pump the water. But by now, the concrete pad should be warmed enough to warm your dog all night long.
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