Some dogs need to spend the night outside. During the warmer months of the year, this isn’t an issue — they get to roll around in the dirt and lay in the sun. But when the temperatures drop, even the heartiest of hounds can struggle to stay warm. That’s where heated dog houses come into play.
“Unless your dog lives in a consistently cold climate where it is acclimatized to the cold, or is a bred to resist frigid temps like huskies or malamutes, sudden drops in Fahrenheit can cause big issues for them,” says Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian and pet advocate. “They can get frostbite, joint pain, and blood pressure issues that can lead to serious complications.”
To protect your pet, Dr. Ward first urges anyone to bring their dog inside during extreme weather. For the rest of the time, you should have a high-quality doghouse with good bedding inside that can be a cozy sanctuary when it’s cold.
In terms of Ward’s criteria, here’s what he wants you to know. First, the doghouse floor needs to be off the ground (the cold acts as a heat sink, pulling warmth out and making it worse for your dog), and there should be a spot for your dog to lay out of the air, preferably behind a curtain to defend against blowing wind. The doghouse itself should ideally have insulation within the walls and be sturdy enough withstand some snow. Inside, there should be a high-quality dog bed (non-toxic insulation, durable stitching, sturdy outside cover) that is designed specifically for cold weather. Ward does not recommend using electric heated beds — your dog can chew through to the coils and electrocute himself or herself.
Here are a few items that we found that meet his requirements and should keep your pet safe this winter.
ASL Dog Palace
Designed for all seasons, this molded plastic doghouse really shines in the colder months. It features foam insulation from the raised floor to the ceiling as well as a large door that blocks any wind. The walls and roof remove for cleaning and a built-in drainage system in the floor quickly takes water away. Floor heater ready, the dog house, when heated, feels a comfortable 70-degrees inside when it is 40 outside.
Petsfit Wooden Hinged Dog House
This cedar wood doghouse has a raised deck and plastic curtain that combine to keep the cold away. While not insulated (it’s best for warmer climates where it does not get too cold), it’ll be great for milder climates with the addition of an insulated bed. Hinges on the roof make it easy to scrub out the house when the need arises, and oils in the woodwork to deter ticks and fleas.
Pets Imperial Insulated Wooden Norfolk Kennel
This dog house’s three layers of timber, insulation, and plywood work to keep warmth inside. So too will its raised floor and plastic doorway curtain. Even better, its offset door design offers your dog a spot to sleep off to the side to steer clear of the elements. Since this doghouse is made from wood you can easily rig a small heating unit into one of the walls for extra protection at night. Just make sure to hide all the cords outside the house.
Akoma Hound Heater Dog House Heater
Due to liability reasons, it is virtually impossible to find pre-made heated doghouses. So if you want one, it’s best to create it yourself. Some people go for heat lamps, but the experts swear by this handy heater from Akoma. It mounts into the side of the house and has a 300-watt heating element that will warm any house. A large heat shield keeps paws and noses away, while the power cord is shielded from curious teeth. It runs off a simple thermostat and is turned on by a simple switch.
Big Barker Dog Bed
This made in the USA mattress is not filled with any toxic materials. What it is filled with is a three-stage foam that ensures warmth and joint support. A ten-year warranty ensures it sticks around for a long time; while its machine-washable fabric means you can regularly rinse off your dog’s night-slobber.
Orvis ComfortFill Platform Dog Bed
Filled with non-toxic material meant to ensure warmth and comfort, this affordable mattress is also made in the USA. All of the seams are heavy duty stitched to make sure nothing leaks out and the bed itself is also machine-washable. It’s available in four sizes.
Pet Fusion Pet Blanket
Made from micro-plush fibers, this machine-washable blanket is an excellent layer for chilly nights. It’s big enough to wrap most dogs and has double-stitched seams for added longevity. Available in four sizes, it comes in two different colors.