You’re proud of the home you’ve made for yourself and your family, and you’re also proud of your trusty dog. So why not give man's best friend a mini home that you can both be proud of? Not everyone has the space to let their dogs outside to play, but if you do, providing a doghouse for your dog to relax in is important for its happiness. Whether you’re a beginning DIYer searching for a project, or a seasoned carpenter looking to craft an impressive abode for your new mutt, we’ve got the tips to guide you through the process of building a doghouse.
MAKE A PLAN
Before you haul out your toolbox, you’ll need to plan out what kind of doghouse to build, based not only on your dog’s needs, but also your skills and the tools available to you. If you’re an experienced carpenter, you may be able to plan a terrific doghouse from scratch on your own, which will allow you to customize it as much as you want. If you have the tools and some basic know-how, but aren’t sure how to design a doghouse, there are lots of free building plans available to you online. And if you’re a total carpentry novice, you may want to consider a pre-fab doghouse kit. Just about anybody can assemble one with a few basic tools, but the downside is that you won’t be as able to customize the house for your dog’s size and needs.
MAKE IT THE RIGHT SIZE
The size of your dog’s house is very important. That means not too small and not too big. When it comes to our own homes, we tend to think that bigger is better. But we also have means to heat our homes, which isn’t the case for a doghouse. If you build one that’s too big, your dog’s body heat won’t be enough to stay warm inside. A doghouse should be big enough for its resident dog to be able to turn around inside and stretch out. Also, don’t forget to make the door large enough for your dog to enter the house in the first place. (Grit)
KEEP IT OFF THE GROUND
It’s important to build a basic foundation to raise the doghouse off the ground a few inches. Even basic concrete blocks are enough to do the trick. This accomplishes a few important things. First, it will keep your dog from direct contact with the ground, particularly important during cold weather. Second, it will allow for water runoff, preventing rain from flooding the doghouse. And better air circulation will help keep the doghouse dry, therefore preventing the wood from rotting. (Lowe’s)
MAKE IT WEATHER-PROOF
The climate where you live will dictate how much work you will need to do to weatherproof your doghouse. For example, a slanted or peaked roof will prevent snow from accumulating, but if you live in Southern California, this may not be a concern. Rain, cold and wind should all be considered. Use roof felt or shingles to cover the roof. Include a flap and/or an overhang for the door in order to keep the elements out. If you get a lot of rain, consider using a waterproofing agent on the wood of the doghouse. And of course, make sure there are tight seams everywhere so the doghouse doesn't leak. (PetHub)
WARM IT UP
You want your dog to be comfortable in his house, which means making sure it’s cozy and warm. There’s more you can do to ensure warmth and comfort other than weatherproofing. Add some bedding that your dog will enjoy. You can use a regular dog bed or blankets, although these may not stand up well to weather conditions. Other options may be both cheaper and more durable, like car mats, scraps of carpet or plastic carpet runners. For a more outdoorsy feel, you could cover the floor of the house with hay or cedar chips, which can be cleaned out and replaced easily and at any time. If you live in a particularly frigid climate, you may even consider a heating light bulb and insulation, as long as they are installed safely. (Unchain Your Dog)
KEEP IT COOL
Keeping your doghouse cool in hot weather is just as vital as keeping it warm in cold weather. Remember that the house itself does not provide enough relief from the heat. Placing the house in a shady spot is the easiest step you can take to keep it cool. In warm weather, you can keep a small kiddie pool next to the doghouse so your pooch can take a dip to cool off. When you’re building the house, add some ventilation to let air circulate. Vents in the peaks of the roof will do well, as long as rain can’t get in. You can also drill small holes in the walls below the roof. Adequate ventilation won’t only help keep the doghouse cool, but also free of mold and pest infestations. (Unchain Your Dog)
MAKE IT PORTABLE
Making your doghouse portable will go a long way in keeping it as safe and comfortable as possible at all times, particularly if you live in a place where the weather varies a great deal throughout the year. Portability will allow you to adjust your doghouse’s placement based on sunlight, shade, the angles of your yard, etc. Of course, the size of your dog will dictate the size of your doghouse, which will affect how easy it will be to move around when necessary. (WBBM)
MAKE IT SAFE
After you’ve finished building your doghouse, inspect it very thoroughly for any safety hazards. Make sure there are no exposed nail points or other sharp surfaces that could injure your dog. Be sure that the structure of the doghouse is sound and look for anything that could cause harm. Most importantly, always remember that as safe, sound, comfortable and weatherproofed as you might have made your doghouse, it is not as safe, sound, comfortable or weatherproof as your house, so don’t leave your dog unattended outside in the doghouse for extended periods of time. (WBZ)
INVOLVE THE FAMILY
If you have a family, consider making the building of your doghouse a family project. Presumably, your dog is a family dog, so its house should be a family doghouse. Assign tasks to everyone based on their individual skill levels and safety needs. Even if you have little ones, there are small tasks they can perform, like handing you tools. Involving everyone in your family with the process lets them feel invested in their dog’s well-being. Besides, why wouldn’t you want some extra help? When your kids begged you for a dog and you made them promise they wouldn’t leave you to take care of it all on your own, this is what you were talking about.
Next: 10 Dreamiest Doghouses
After the doghouse is all built, it’s time to paint it and decorate it (if you want to). You’re not limited in any way when it comes to decoration. You can keep things simple and paint your doghouse to match your own house, or you can be more creative and go buckwild painting the doghouse the way you WOULD have painted your house if the stuffy neighborhood association hadn't vetoed your plans. If you have kids, this is a great opportunity to let them express their creativity and get involved in the process, especially if safety precluded them from taking a more active role in the actual building of the doghouse. Have fun!