How To Choose The Right Dog House, & What Kind To Buy

 

If you’re looking for buyer tips on how to choose the right dog house, and/or what kind to get, you’re in the right place.

You shouldn’t just consider the types of dog house, but also the practical features to look for that will suit your situation specifically.

How big should the dog house be?

What about the entry/exit door?

What about the shape and size?

What about if you live in a cold weather location?

We’ve saved you time by putting these considerations in an easy to follow checklist.

We’ve also outlined the kinds and categories of dog houses that you can buy, and what each kind of dog house might be for.

Without further ado, let’s take a look!

 

Note – In case you want to go straight to viewing some of the best and top rated dog houses on the market, you can check out this guide.

 

(*Friendly Disclosure – links to retailers or brands on this page may include affiliate links, and we may receive a commission when you purchase through these links)

 

Summary – How To Choose The Right Dog House, & What Kind To Buy

 

First, A List Of Some Of Most Popular Or Top Rated Dog Houses Right Now

– Plastic Dog Houses

 

– Wooden Dog Houses

 

– Specialty Dog Houses With Insulation & Weather In Mind

 

(Note that you should measure you dog’s dimensions, and check the inner dimensions of the dog house prior to buying to confirm there will be enough room for your dog. Some of the the above dog houses may or may not be suitable for your individual dog, depending on their size.)

 

How To Choose The Right Dog House

The quick list of tips is:

Check what the product actually is – standard dog house, or 2 in 1 pet home and portable pet crate?

Check what the dog house is designed for – indoor or outdoor use? Outdoor undercover, or outdoor in direct exposure?

Check the dog house is for direct exposure to weather, or undercover outdoors only

Will the dog house be good for both hot and cold weather?

What shape is the dog house – traditional box shaped, or igloo?

Check the material it is made of – plastic, wood or other material?

Check the sizes of the dog house available – inner and outer dimensions 

Check the size of the entry/exit door to the dog house 

Check how the dog house is assembled together, and whether the design will be weatherproof

Check how simple the dog house is to put together – some take longer than others

Check if there is insulation or not 

Check the shape of the floor and it’s size to make sure you can fit your dog’s bed or mattress on it 

Check the dog house has ventilation holes 

Check there is some type of warranty for the dog house 

Check there are accessories available for the dog house

Check there is an electrical cord port to run things like heated beds, fans and heaters inside the dog house

Check the dog house floor is raised off the ground for winter

Check the dog house floor is sloped to allow water to run away

 

… we discuss each each of these considerations in the guide below

 

What Kind Of Dog House To Buy

The type of dog house can be categorised by the following types:

Cheap, or Higher Priced Dog House

Indoor, or Outdoor

Wood, Plastic or Another Material

Traditional Box Shaped, Or Igloo

Insulated, or Un-Insulated

How Weather, or Cold Weather 

Small, Medium or Large

 

… we discuss each kind of dog house in the guide below

 

Let’s get into the guide

 

How To Choose The Right Dog House – 18 Considerations/Tips

 

1. Check what the product is – dog house, or 2 in 1 dog house and pet crate?

First things first, give the product description a quick read. What does it say the product actually is?

Some products are straight dog houses, but some can be a 2 in 1 pet home AND portable pet crate.

These 2 in 1 pet houses can be better value for you if you aren’t using the dpg house in direct exposure to the elements and you only place it outside undercover in mild temperatures.

An example of a 2 in 1 dog home and portable dog crate is the Elitefield 3 Door Folding Soft Dog Crate (on Amazon).

This pet home and lightweight soft portable crate can provide a tonne of value if you’re looking for a crate, and a dog home that can be used inside or outside under cover out of the weather.

One of the good things about the Elitefield is that it has mesh walls – providing for a heap of ventilation in the summer or hotter months.

 

2. Check what the dog house is designed for – indoor or outdoor?

Secondly, check whether the dog house is an outdoor or indoor dog house.

It should tell you in the product description. Some might be an indoor AND outdoor dog house.

 

Pretty easy and simple to check.

Examples of indoor dog houses are pet furniture crates, pet homes and pet tents.

 

3. Check the dog house is for direct exposure to weather, or undercover outdoors only

Further to the previous tip, something to be aware of is if the dog house is stated as an outdoor dog house, check whether it’s for outdoor undercover only, or if you can use it in direct exposure to the weather.

Even if the dog house can be used in the sun for example, it might not have a waterproof design if it starts raining.

The best outdoor dog houses for direct exposure might be the Petmate Indigo Igloo Dog House (on Amazon)ASL Solutions DP Hunter Dog House For Small Dogs (on Amazon) and ASL Solution Dog Palace Dog House For Medium and Large Dogs (on Amazon).

Both dog houses are tough and have weatherproof type designs.

The ASL Solutions dog house has insulation in the walls, ceiling and floor, and has resin coated UV rated material it’s made of.

Cheap plastic dog houses are usually not suited to direct weather exposure.

 

4. Will the dog house be good for both hot and cold weather?

For hot weather, a well ventilated dog house is key.

Look for either ventilation holes/vents, or insulation to keep the heat out. Some dog houses like the Elitefield 3 Door Folding Soft Dog Crate (on Amazon) have full mesh walls to allow plenty of ventilation, while other dog houses have smaller slots that are easier to close up in winter.

Insulation is also effective in keeping the cold weather out in the winter. 

The ASL Solutions DP Hunter Dog House For Small Dogs (on Amazon) and ASL Solution Dog Palace Dog House For Medium and Large Dogs (on Amazon) both have insulation and vents that you can plug up in the winter. 

The ASL dog houses also have an electrical inlet/outlet port that you can run electrical cords through for dog bed heaters, pads and dog house furnaces.

As far as insulation goes, the ASL dog houses have 4 inches of insulation.

Experiments have been conducted specifically with the Dog Palace with and without insulation, with the results as follows:

  • The results of the experiment tested heat retention inside the Dog Palace using a common 100 watt light bulb (no other source of heat). At an outside temperature of 40°, the insulated Dog Palace was 70° inside, while the Dog Palace without insulation was approximately 45° inside. At an outside temperature of 0° degrees, the insulated Dog Palace was 30° inside while the Dog Palace without insulation was approximately 4° inside. An average dog’s body heat will raise the temperature inside the Dog Palace 25° in the winter without the floor heater; therefore, if the outside temperature is 25°, with an average dog inside the Dog Palace the temperature was approximately 50°.

These results should be taken as general feedback of the performance of the dog house, and results are not typical for every dog and situation/climate.

 

If you want to read more about hot weather and cold weather dog houses, these are helpful guides:

 

5. What shape is the dog house – traditional box shaped, or igloo?

The shape of the dog house doesn’t matter too much as long as the dog house has the features to do what you want it to do.

The main differences are:

An igloo dog house has a round dog house floor

An igloo dog house has an extended entry/exit way to protect against weather and cold/heat

 

The Petmate Indigo Igloo Dog House (on Amazon) is an example of a great igloo dog house for outdoors.

 

6. Check what the material it is made of – plastic, wood or other material?

Next, you want to consider what material the dog house is made of to get an idea of how strong and durable the dog house will be.

In general:

The hardened plastic dog houses are the strongest and most durable dog houses, and they are made of the best premium materials like special resins that are UV protected. Examples include the Petmate Indigo Igloo Dog House (on Amazon)ASL Solutions DP Hunter Dog House (on Amazon) and ASL Solution Dog Palace Dog House (on Amazon)

A step down from that in strength and durability, you have the outdoor wooden dog houses which are still pretty durable. An example is the Pet Squeak Arf Frame Dog House (on Amazon)

The next step down is the cheap plastic dog houses like the Sunhouse DH350 Dog House (on Amazon)

And then you have the indoor dog houses which are more built for and indoor environment and their looks like the Casual Home Wood Crate House (on Amazon), Merry Products Wood Pet Home (on Amazon), and Best Pet Supplies Pet Tent (on Amazon)

 

Hard plastic is not going to bend, crack or warp like outdoor treated wood will over time.

Cheap plastic is going to be weaker than the more premium plastics.

Indoor wood houses are made of softer woods that aren’t treated for outdoors.

 

7. Check the sizes of the dog house available – inner and outer dimensions

Checking the inner dimensions of the dog house is pretty important.

If you can’t find the inner dimensions, find the outer dimensions and take 2 to 3 inches of each measurement and that should give you a rough idea of the inner dimensions.

You want to make sure the dog house has enough space inside for your dog to lay down and stand up comfortably.

Most dog houses tell you what sized dogs they are for i.e. either weight, or the size in small, medium and large.

It can be harder to find dog houses for large dogs – the Petmate Indigo Igloo and ASL Solutions dog houses have larger sizes available.

The Sunhouse can fit dogs up to around 90lbs too.

 

8. Check the size of the entry/exit door to the dog house

Pretty simple – check the dog house entry/exit opening is big enough for your dog to fit through.

Measure your dog’s height to their shoulders and also their rib cage width to find the dimensions your dog needs

 

9. Check how the dog house is assembled together, and whether the design will be weatherproof

The way that some dog houses go together or snap together are is better for weatherproofing.

The Petmate Indigo Igloo Dog House (on Amazon) is one of the best with it’s design.

The ASL Solutions DP Hunter Dog House (on Amazon) and ASL Solution Dog Palace Dog House (on Amazon) both have a few pieces that you must put together, but also have a great design.

Two dog houses that seem to have poor designs for weatherproofing and keeping water out however are the Petmate Barnhome 3 (on Amazon) which let’s water in at the side joints, and the Sunhouse DH350 Dog House (on Amazon) which similarly lets water in through the top and side of the dog house.

 

10. Check how simple the dog house is to put together 

Are you prepared to spend time putting a dog house together, or do you want it to be quick to assemble?

Two examples of dog houses at the opposite end of the spectrum are the Petmate Indigo Igloo Dog House (on Amazon) which goes together almost instantly, and the Pet Squeak Arf Frame Dog House (on Amazon) which can take almost an hour to put together and has more parts to put together.

 

11. Check if there is insulation or not 

Most dog houses don’t have insulation. The ASL Solutions dog houses on the other hand do.

They have up to 4 inches of real recycled foam (Styro/EPS) insulation (used in construction) in each panel in the walls, ceiling and floor for comfort and for a healthy temperature. 

There is some level of insulation from cold and warmth with these dog houses.

 

12. Check the shape of the floor and it’s size to make sure you can fit your dog’s bed or mattress on it

Check the dimensions and shape of the dog house before you buy if you already have an existing dog bed or mattress you want to use in the dog house.

Most beds and matresses are pretty flexible, so you should be fine unless it’s a case of the bed being too big or not being able to fit through the dog house opening.

 

13. Check the dog house has ventilation holes

Ventilation holes are needed for summer and hot weather, but also just to get some fresh air into the dog house.

The Petmate Indigo Igloo Dog House (on Amazon) has small ventilation holes in the top of the dog house.

The ASL Solutions DP Hunter Dog House (on Amazon) and ASL Solution Dog Palace Dog House (on Amazon) both have ventilation holes you can plug and unplug when going between summer and winter.

The Elitefield 3 Door Folding Soft Dog Crate (on Amazon) has full mesh walls to allow plenty of ventilation.

Those are three types of different ventilation available in the different dog houses.

 

14. Check there is some type of warranty for the dog house

A warranty is always important, especially if you are spending good money.

Check what the warranty covers the dog house for, how long it lasts, and the conditions of the dog house – is it still valid through a third party seller?

 

15. Check there are accessories available for the dog house

What accessories are available? Can you buy dog house heaters, dog house pads, or dog beds fitted to the size of the dog house?

Check before buying.

 

16. Check there is an electrical cord port to run things like heated beds, fans and heaters inside the dog house

The ASL Solutions dog houses have a little outlet/inlet hole in the back of the dog house to allow you to run and electrical device through it.

This is handy for dog house heated bed, mats and other electrical devices like dog house hater furnaces.

 

17. The floor is raised off the ground for winter

A dog house floor in contact with the ground can get cold quickly.

Whether it’s wet grass or a poor insulator like concrete, it help if the floor of the dog house is raised.

An obvious example of a dog house with a raised floor is the Pet Squeak Arf Frame Dog House (on Amazon).

 

18. The floor is sloped to allow water to run away

A sloped internal floor allows any water that does get inside to drain away from the main part of the floor.

Both the Petmate Indigo Igloo and the ASL Solutions dog houses have this feature.

 

What Kind Of Dog House Should You Buy? – 7 Categories

1. Cheap, or Higher Priced Dog House?

One of the main things that people consider is the price.

When it comes to dog houses, the main difference between the cheap dog houses and the more expensive ones are:

Cheap dog houses usually come with no insulation

Cheap dog houses are usually made of cheaper less durable material – usually a weaker plastic

The actual construction of cheap dog houses is weaker when you put the dog house together

Cheap dog houses usually come with no extra features like an electrical cord inlet/outlet hole

Cheap dog houses usually have a construction which is not weather resistant – let’s water in very easily

 

Having said that, if the dog house is going to be under cover, and the area you live in isn’t overly hot or cold, the a cheap dog house might work out OK for your situation where strength, weather resistance, insulation from the hot and cold and extra features aren’t as much of an issue.

 

Example:

The Sunhouse is what is considered one of the cheaper dog houses on the dog house market.

When comparing it to the Petmate and ASL Solutions dog houses, the plastic is weaker, the construction is weaker, the design is not as water or weatherproof, and there’s no insulation or ventilation apart from the dog house door.

Unlike the ASL Solutions dog houses, it also doesn’t have an electrical cord input/output hole in the back of the dog house for things like heated dog pads or dog house furnaces in the winter.

 

2. Indoor or Outdoor Dog House?

A pretty simple question – do you intend to put the dog house outside or inside?

The main difference between outdoor and indoor dog houses are

what they look like – indoor dog houses usually look nicer to go with inside decor

what they are made of – indoor dog houses are usually made of fine or soft materials like fine wood, neoprene, or poly fabric 

how they are constructed for strength – outdoor dog houses are constructed for more strength with harder plastic and hard woods

and how they are designed for being weather proof – outdoor dog houses are usually designed to keep out water and wind. NOTE: not all outdoor dog houses are designed to be exposed – some are outdoor dog houses but can only be put undercover (under a patio for example)

 

You can also get a hybrid dog house/crate that can be placed indoors OR outdoors undercover.

 

Example:

 

The first thing you can say about the Casual Home Wood Crate House, Merry Products Wood Pet Home, and the Best Pet Supplies Pet Tent is that they all look lovely.

The Casual Home and Merry Products dog homes are both crafted wood products that have that classy touch to fit in with other furniture and decor. The Pet Tent would look really cute sitting in your lounge room.

They are built for looks over outdoor durability and weatherproofing is the main point we are making.

The Petmate Indigo and ASL Solutions dog houses, as mentioned above, are built for keeping the weather out, and to last a number of years with their strength and good design. They can be used under cover or exposed to the weather.

The Elitefield Dog Crate is a portable dog crate and pet home making it very versatile. It’s an undercover outdoor pet home, but can also be bought inside. The walls are mesh – making it good for ventilation in the summer.

Something to note when buying a dog house – make sure you read the product description and check it is rated for outdoor use in direct exposure to the weather, as opposed to just a general outdoor dog house they may or may not be able to be used in direct exposure.

 

3. Wood, Plastic or Other Material?

When you are considering material, you’re really considering the strength and durability of the dog house.

As a general rule:

The hardened plastic dog houses are the strongest and most durable dog houses, and they are made of the best materials like special resins that are UV protected.

A step down from that in strength and durability, you have the outdoor wooden dog houses

The next step down is the cheap plastic dog houses

And then you have the indoor dog houses which are more built for their looks

 

Example:

The Petmate and ASL Solutions dog houses are extremely sturdy (if you touch the Petmate Igloo – it feels like a rock), and very weatherpoof.

The Pet Squeak Arf Frame Dog House is very strong too, but the wood is not as durable over time (due to shrinking and cracking) as the hardened plastic.

The Sunhouse plastic won’t crack like wood, but the plastic itself is not as strong.

The Casual Home, Merry Weather and Best Pet Supplies dog houses are all designed for inside use and to look good against home decor, not to be ultra strong and weather proof. Although the two wooden dog home are quite strong as they are made of wood.

 

4. Traditional Box Shaped, or Igloo?

Whether you get traditional box shaped or an igloo doesn’t matter a whole lot.

The main difference is:

An igloo dog house has a round dog house floor

An igloo dog house has an extended entry/exit way to protect against weather and cold/heat

 

Example:

The two dog houses are made by different companies, and have slightly different designs.

Pick the one with the best features for you.

 

5. Insulated of Un-Insulated?

Insulation can play quite a large role in a dog house if you live in hot climates or cold climates, as opposed to somewhere where the weather is more in between and mild.

The obvious differences between insulated and uninsulated are:

Insulated has insulation in the walls, ceiling and floor of the dog house

Insulated does a better job of keeping the cold out

Insulated does a better job of keeping the heat out

Insulated does a better job of making the inside environment comfortable

 

Example:

The Sunhouse is an outside dog house that has no insulation. What you see is what you get – the plastic the dog house is made of is what stands between your dog and the outside elements.

The ASL Solutions dog houses on the other hand has up to 4 inches of real recycled foam (Styro/EPS) insulation (used in construction) in each panel in the walls, ceiling and floor for comfort and for a healthy temperature. 

Experiments have been conducted specifically with the Dog Palace with and without insulation, with the results as follows:

The results of the experiment tested heat retention inside the Dog Palace using a common 100 watt light bulb (no other source of heat).

At an outside temperature of 40°, the insulated Dog Palace was 70° inside, while the Dog Palace without insulation was approximately 45° inside.

At an outside temperature of 0° degrees, the insulated Dog Palace was 30° inside while the Dog Palace without insulation was approximately 4° inside. An average dog’s body heat will raise the temperature inside the Dog Palace 25° in the winter without the floor heater; therefore, if the outside temperature is 25°, with an average dog inside the Dog Palace the temperature was approximately 50°.

 

These results should be taken as general feedback of the performance of the dog house, and results are not typical for every dog and situation/climate.

 

6. Hot Weather, or Cold Weather Dog House?

We actually wrote guides on the:

Best Insulated Dog House For Cold Weather and Winter

Best Dog Houses For Hot Weather and Summer

Best Dog House For Both Cold and Hot Weather

 

You certainly want to look for a dog house with insulation to keep both heat and the cold out.

For summer, you want a dog house with ventilation holes/vents.

And, an electrical cord outlet/inlet hole helps in winter for heated dog beds, mats and dog house furnaces.

You may also be interested in reading these guides on heating and cooling:

 

7. Small, Medium or Large?

A pretty simple one – get a dog house based on your dog’s size.

Unfortunately for people with extra large and giant sized dogs, your options are more limited.

Consider two things when it comes to sizing:

The size of the inside of the dog house (so your dog can stand up and lay down comfortably)

The size of the dog door/opening for your dog to fit through

 

Both the Petmate Indigo Igloo Dog House (on Amazon), and the ASL Solutions DP Hunter Dog House (on Amazon) and ASL Solution Dog Palace Dog House (on Amazon), have a range of different sized dog houses for small through to larger dogs.

As a cheaper option, the Sunhouse DH350 Dog House (on Amazon) can fit dogs up to about 90lbs.

 

 

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