A doghouse can be a great haven for the dog that enjoys—and is suited to—spending time outdoors. If you're thinking of building or buying a doghouse, but you're not sure how to go about it, here are a few tips to help you make the right decisions.
One size doesn't fit all
The first thing you need to consider is the size of your dog. A doghouse should be large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around, and stretch out comfortably. However, you also need to be careful about not making it too big, otherwise it won't be able to retain your dog's own body heat, which will keep him warm on cool evenings. You'll also want to make it easy for you to keep it clean. So consider making one of the walls or roof removable for easier access.
Wood vs. plastic
The next consideration is whether to go with a wooden or plastic doghouse. If you decide to go with wood, bear in mind that wooden doghouses need to be raised a few inches off the ground to prevent the wood from rotting. You'll also need to treat the wood to ensure it remains weatherproof. Plastic doghouses offer the benefits of being well-insulated and waterproof. They're also easier to install if you're not the handy type.
You might also want to choose the doghouse to complement your own home. If you have a classic colonial home, you might want to consider a wooden doghouse that matches the style. If you have a yard filled with plastic jungle gyms for your kids, a plastic doghouse might fit perfectly.
Location, location, location
Where you place your doghouse is also important. You don't want to put it in the direct sunlight, since it will become unbearably hot in the summer. Find a nice shady spot instead, preferably under a tree. You may think that building/placing a doghouse against your own house or garage might provide some protection against the elements. Yes, it can, however, this can also—in some cases—intensify the levels of heat or cold.
During the cold-weather months, the entrance to the doghouse should have some sort of plastic flap to keep the cold out. A piece of carpet remnant can also work just as well. When the weather turns warm, the flap should be removed or tacked up to allow the heat to escape. And be sure your dog has proper bedding that will provide insulation from a cold floor.
Finally, make sure you clean your dog's house regularly. Not only will it make for a more pleasant environment for your dog, it will also help keep him healthy.