In this guide though, we have listed and 22 options for you to heat, warm or insulate a dog house during cold weather and winter.
Some ways involve modifying the dog house itself, some involve installing a heating system or product, and some involve simple things like dog boots to keep your dog’s paws warm.
You’ll likely find at least one option that could be useful for you.
Let’s check out the full list of options!
(NOTE: this is a general informational and educational guide only. It is not professional advice. See a vet or qualified expert for professional advice).
22 Ways To Heat, Warm or Insulate A Dog House For Cold Weather & Winter
1. Insulate and Patch Up The Floor, Walls and Roof
Basically you want to make the dog house water, wind and weather proof.
Make sure the floor, walls and roof have no gaps or holes.
To do this, you’ll want to buy some rolls or squares of thick polystyrene or styrofoam.
You’ll also want to get some aluminium foil or insulation backing/insulation tape (like this aluminium tape used for HVAC, Ducts and Insulation on Amazon), some thin wooden ply, and some 2 x 4 pieces of timber.
Build a frame with the 2 x 4 on each flat surface of the dog house – the floor, the walls and the roof.
Place the foam inside the frames and staple or tape the aluminium material over the top (so both are sitting inside the frame)
Then, nail the ply sheet over the frame.
Instead of creating new frames, you could also retrofit the foam and A/C flexible sheet material to the existing dog house inside the existing floor, walls and roof – but it depends on what’s easiest and how skilled you are.
If you do find holes, you can patch over them with polyfil glue or another water proof type caulk.
Poly foam insulation in the wall frames, floor joists and roof frame can keep warmth in and the cold out.
Usually 1 inch of foam does the trick.
You can even use soy foam to be environmentally friendly.
A good waterproof roof might be made of water resistant felt paper, a drip edge and asphalt shingles on the roof can keep rain out and keep the inside dry.
On top of this, a solid wood or hard plastic outer shell helps protect the insulation and the inside of the dog house.
What you use for insulation material and how you adhere or fix it to the dog house is up to you.
2. Buy A Specially Designed Insulated Dog House
If your current dog house is looking a bit old and worn down, or it just doesn’t look very weatherproof, you might look for a new one.
You can buy a new dog house similar to the model you have, build one yourself that is better insulated and better designed, or buy a specially designed insulated dog house.
Two dog houses on the market that are made especially with insulation, warmth and ventilation in mind are:
- The Petmate Indigo Igloo Dog House (on Amazon), and
- The ASL Solution Dog Palace Insulated Dog House DP20 (on Amazon)
Both are quite expensive, but considering how well designed they are and with their insulation features, they are well worth it.
If you want other dog house options – check out this guide – Best Overall Dog Houses
When buying a new dog house, you might want to look for the following features if you want a more durable and weather resistant dog house:
Material is not flimsy and thin – will be durable, and not buckle/bow from wind
Has enough room in the entry/exit for your dog to go in and out
Has enough space inside for your dog to lay down
When constructed, the dog house fits together well and strongly
Pre constructed, or easy to put together
There is some level of insulation from cold and warmth (in the roof, walls and floor)
A extra liner/padding/mattress can be fit on the floor
The dog house is sealed from rain and doesn’t let wind through, but does ventilate
3. Raise The Floor Of The Dog House Off The Ground
A concrete floor gets ice cold in the winter.
Grass can get soaking wet.
And if you live somewhere where it rains a lot, or there’s snow and ice, the ground is going to be both cold and wet.
A good dog house will have a raised floor (or be highly insulated).
If your current dog house needs to be raised off the ground, you can simple place a wooden crate or pallet under it.
4. Install a Dog Flap
Does the current dog house have an entry/exit flap?
Flaps are great for keeping out a chilly wind.
Buy, or cut to size a vinyl or plastic dog flap yourself.
5. Put the Dog House Undercover
A fairly simple one.
If the dog house is in the open, it is exposed to rain, wind, snow and the chilly elements.
Moving the dog house to an undercover area like the patio or the garage where there are both walls and a roof to act as wind and weather breaks can help with heating tremendously.
6. Line The Floor Of The Dog House
Even with a raised floor that is naturally insulated, you can still do more to provide your dog with a warmer dog house floor.
You can put a straw base down under a rug – straw doesn’t wet or freeze so it makes a good insulator.
You can also put a dog mattress over the rug and straw for comfort.
If laying down straw, make sure it isn’t anything irritating like hay that might contain seeds or small parasites that can get into your dog’s fur and skin.
7. Hot Water Bottle Or Microwavable Cushion
More of a solution for only a few hours.
You can put a hot water bottle under a blanket on the mattress, or do the same with a microwavable cushion (make sure it isn’t in direct contact with your dog’s skin though).
Both provide heat, but have them under a rug so they don’t burn your dog.
8. Heated Dog Mats & Pads
An electrical heated dog mat can be placed on the surface of a dog bed or dog mattress.
It warms up the surface of the dog bed.
One of the advantages of a dog house heater pad is that you can remove them when your dog goes to lay down.
Something like the K&H Manufacturing Lectro-Kennel Heated Pad (on Amazon) is popular.
It’s both an indoor and outdoor use mat, and it’s very economic – uses only 80 watts.
Heated pads are pretty simple to operate – you plug them in and they heat up to body temperature.
Some things to look out for if you use them are:
You place them on a flat surface out of direct weather
Check the voltage of the pad (should be 110-120), plug it in and the thermostat should prevent it from getting too hot.
You’ll need to have your dog’s house next to a power source, or have access to a power source to run the bed
Measure the length and width of the dog kennel inside before ordering the size of dog pad you want. Leave enough room inside the dog house just in case
You should have an area inside the dog house, or outside somewhere, where your dog can lay down separately from the pad. This is in case the pad gets too hot for them
To test the pad is working, lay a pillow ontop of it for 20-30 minutes and come back. The underside of the pillow should be warm
Read the product instructions, warnings and warranty description for all other information and for how to set up and use safely
The product should meet the electrical standards of the country you are in
9. Heated Dog Bed
A heated dog bed is attached to an electrical cord, and when turned on provides a heated surface for your dog to lay and sleep on.
The actual bed heats up instead of using a heated dog mat to warm the surface.
K & H Manufacturing has a heated dog bed:
- K&H Pet Products Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated Pet Bed (on Chewy)
- K&H Manufacturing Foam Orthopedic Lectro -Soft Outdoor Heated Bed (on Amazon)
It uses 60 Watts of Electricity – inexpensive and economical to run.
It comes in different sizes, and can be used inside or outside.
Note that it’s designed only to warm up to the body temperature of your dog, and it’s not recommended for pets that chew or are destructive in any way.
Considerations for a heated dog bed are similar to considerations for a heated dog mat/pad.
10. Self Warming Dog Bed/Thermal Dog Pad
You can get self warming crate pads that you can find the right size for for your dog house.
These self warming pads have a reflective layer on the inside that radiates your dog’s heat back to them – at least more so than a regular mattress or pad does.
A popular self warming bed is the Mocha K&H Manufacturing Crate Pad for Pets (on Amazon)
It also comes in a tan color.
11. Heater Bulb In Metal Unit
You can get light bulbs in metal units that radiate some heat, but not a massive amount.
The metal unit is so your dog doesn’t touch the light bulb and get burnt.
Dog house heaters and infrared light bulbs are better ideas in our opinion.
12. Dog House Furnace/Heater
You can read more about a furnace/heater for dog houses in this guide.
One of the most popular options to heat a dog house.
A popular option is the Deluxe Akoma Hound Heater Dog House Furnace With Cord Protector and Mounting Template (on Amazon).
A thermostatically controlled heater so you can set a max and min temp of operation
Can heat up to a 32 cubic feet dog house
A heat shield that protects your pet from getting burned
A spring-protected cord that’s safe for your pet
Long-lasting, 150-watt heating element
Includes an installation bracket and easy to follow installation instructions.
13. Dog House Furnace/Heater and Vent Fan (for summer and winter)
The same as a dog house heater except you can get two in one heaters that also have a ventilation fan.
In the summer you switch the switch over and the unit blows air instead of heat.
14. Small Infrared Heat Emitter/Lamp Bulb
We’ve previously written about heat lamps for dog houses here.
A very small 100 or 150 Watt infrared heat emitter brooder might be suitable.
They are non light emitting lamp bulbs, designed for reptile terrariums to heat up the body and encourage blood flow and circulation.
They can’t be touched directly though as they get hot – so you do have to figure out a bracket and protection system for them to put them in the dog house.
Be very careful with a lamp bulb – they aren’t designed for dog houses or small spaces and you often can’t regulate their temperature.
Only go this option if you know what you’re doing from a safety and installation perspective.
You can get a Lamp Bulb like the BYB – 150W 110V Ceramic Infrared Lamp Bulb (on Amazon).
15. Big Dog Kennel Infrared Heater
There are big infrared dog kennel heaters as well.
Although these are not for dog houses. They are for bigger kennel runs.
16. Underfloor Heating System
An underfloor heating system is essentially heating strips or heating pads (similar to an underfloor heating system you get put in your house) that are put under the dog house floor.
They are completely concealed along with the cords, which is good for chewers, and heat the floor of the dog house so it is warmer.
17. Dryer Hose
A DIY option.
For this, you have to position your dog’s house next to the house.
It essentially involves using the dryer hose and a fan to blow warm air from inside into the dog’s house.
You have to take care to make this installation safe and waterproof and bug proof it.
18. Use Ceramic Heater
Some people have hooked up a small 12v ceramic heater to a gel cell battery – and installed it in the roof of the dog house.
It takes some know how, but it can be done.
19. Try other DIY Dog House Heating Solutions
You may have other DIY solutions you think might work to heat the dog house.
We personally don’t support DIY solutions unless you’re a professional, or you seek professional advice.
When the risk is an electrical fire or harming your dog, it’s just much easier and safer to buy a heating unit that usually only requires mounting and is designed to heat.
Undertake DIY options at your own risk.
20. Buy Dog Boots For Cold Weather
dogs regulate their temperature through their paws so dog boots, so dog boots like the My Busy Dog Water Resistant and Warm Anti Slip Dog Boots (on Amazon) may help.
21. Buy A Dog Sweater
You can also check out an array of dog sweaters on Amazon, such as the Zack and Zoey Blanket Coat (on Amazon)
22. Dog Snood
Zoo Snoods or Dogs Snoods (on Amazon) are simple knitted headpieces that are designed to keep your dog’s head and ears warm
What Is The Most Common, Easiest and Cost Effective Way Of Heating A Dog House?
Most owners usually choose to do one or several of the following:
Make sure the dog house is properly insulated, or purchase a specially insulated dog house
Install a Dog House Furnace/Heater like the Akoma brand mentioned above
Install a Dog House Heated Mat like the K&H Manufacturing heated bed mentioned above
When picking a heating method or methods, consider:
If there is enough room in the house for the heater to be installed safely
If your dog is a chewer, select an option where the cords are protected or concealed
Make sure you can run electricity to the dog house if picking an electric heater
Refer back to this dog house heating guide to get an overall picture of the things you might look for when heating a dog house.
Other Resources On Heating, Warming Or Insulating A Dog House
These guides may be of interest to you:
If you are looking for a new dog house, these guide may also be useful:
Heating A Dog House Safely, & Hazards You Might Keep An Eye Out For
The potential hazards, risks and overall safety will be different depending on what devices or method you use to keep the dog house warm (plus other variable factors like installation, conditions, environment, expertise etc.).
For example, a dog house heater designed specifically for heating and being installed in a dog house might have a different and higher level of safety than an infrared ceramic heater lamp designed for reptile terrariums, or an array of the DIY heating options out there.
Below are some general hazards and safety considerations to be aware of:
Potential Safety Hazards
Electrocution if the heating device or cord gets wet
Electrocution if the cord get damaged or frayed and comes in contact with metal
Electrocution if the cord is not concealed or metal wrapped and your dog chews through it
A fire if the heater comes in contact with flammable material or heats up other material
An electrical fire
A fire if the unit overheats
Your dog touching the heating device and getting burnt
The heating device not having temperature control and overheating the area
Minimizing Hazards & Increasing Safety When Heating A Dog House
The following strategy and features might increase safety when heating a dog house:
Metal cords, spring wrapped cords, cords in PVC pipes, or completely concealed cords can help prevent chewing
Conceal or cover the cord if you can so your dog can’t access it
Have a heating device rated for outside use
Have a water proof heating unit
Have a unit that meets electrical certification and standards in your country or area
Consult an electrician and/or a vet for both electrical technical assistance, and heating health information regarding heating a dog house
Pick a heating unit or units that are designed for a dog house, and in particular, the type and size of dog house that you have (check how many cubic feet they are designed to heat)
To minimise the risk of hazards, opt for a pre made or easy to install heater instead of trying to make and install something yourself
Choose a heating unit with a burn shield or burn guard, and a mounting guard with a heat protector. Make sure the heating element is concealed in a chew proof bracket so your dog can’t touch it and get burnt
Install the heating unit away from the adjoining walls and ceiling, and a few inches off of the wall it is installed on to prevent the walls heating up
Choose a heating unit with a thermostat allows you to control the heat level, or cap the maximum heat. You can set the minimum and maximum temperatures for the heater to turn on and off – so the heater doesn’t stay running, and so the air doesn’t get too hot or too cold
Install the heating unit away from the entrance of the dog house, and preferably on a corner back wall where your dog won’t touch it or roll on it
Bring the dog house under cover under a patio, inside the garage, or allow your dog to sleep inside if it’s too cold – all these options provide more cover from the cold and the elements
Always read what a product is designed for, and any warnings or installation instructions carefully.
When putting straw on the dog house bed, don’t use hay or a product that has seeds or anything which can get stuck in your dog’s skin or fur and cause irritations
Other Notes On Heating, Warming & Insulating A Dog House
Warming vs Insulating – The Difference
Warming involves heating up a dog house
Insulating involves keeping a dog house warm once it’s been warmed. It can also involve keeping the cold out
Checklist For Warming & Insulating A Dog House
1. Does Your Dog Need Heating or Insulation In Their Dog House?
2. Check The Existing Dog House For Insulation and Heating Features and Capabilities
3. Ask, Is It Time To Get A New Dog House That Is Better Designed, Built, Insulated and Warmer?
4. Implement Options and Products To Make and Keep The Dog House Warmer
5. Consider The Most Common, Easiest and Cost Effective Options Of Heating A Dog House That Other Owners Implement
6. Consider Safety For Your Dog When Running Electrical Products To The Dog House
7. Consider Other Miscellaneous Factors About The Dog House, and Heating/Insulation
Prompts Your Dog Might Need To Be Kept Warmer
If your dog is older (metabolism issues might mean it’s difficult for them to regulate their body temperature)
If your dog is pregnant or whelping
If you live in cold climates with cold weather, ice or even snow (cities like Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Michigan and Wisconsin for example can get very cold)
If your dog isn’t a natural cold weather dog (generally, dogs like Alaskan Malamutes, Huskies and Samoyeds that were bred for colder climates might deal with the cold better than other breeds)
If your dog is shaking, or starts to look sick in the cold weather
Assessing The Existing Dog House
Once you know that your dog’s house needs to be made and kept warmer, check the features and capability of your existing dog house to get and stay warm.
Look out for and consider addressing the following:
Are the walls, floor and roof of the house insulated with a material that keeps out the cold and retains heat inside well?
Poly foam is usually used inside the outer casing of the house. For example, in a dog house made of wood, 1 inch of poly foam can be placed in between the floor joists and wall and roof frames.
There are even environmentally friendly options like soy foam
Is the house raised off the cold concrete or icy ground?
The base can be pre built to be raised, or you can use a wooden pallet.
Waterproof, and wind and weather resistant
How does the dog house rate overall in these areas?
Make sure the walls have no gaps in them so wind and water doesn’t get through
Water resistant felt paper, a drip edge and asphalt shingles on the roof can keep rain out and keep the kennel dry
Does the dog house have a dog house flap to keep out the cold?
Either the dog house will already have one, or you can install a rubber or vinyl flap yourself without comprising the insulation/front wall.
Is the dog house in a position undercover out of the rain, wind and elements?
It can massively help if the dog house is next to the main house undercover, or in a garage area.
Near Electrical Outlet
Is the dog house near an electrical outlet/source?
Important in case you install a heating product of some type light a dog house heater/furnace.
Measure the length, width and height of your dog’s house
Do this for two reasons – a) to get the volume of air inside, and b) you want to make sure your dog has enough room to move around inside, but that there isn’t too much extra volume and space so that you’re having to heat up too much air space or you are losing heat.
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