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    Tractor Supply Company

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    How to Build a Dog House

    Authored by Tractor Supply Company

    For dogs that spend any amount of time outdoors, having a shelter where they can go to escape the elements is a must. Dog houses vary a great deal in size and style depending on your dog’s needs. A major benefit of building your own dog house is that you control the design and can incorporate any special needs or wants your dog might have. Here are some suggestions to help you get started on building a cozy house for your furry friend. 

    Tools and materials you need for building a dog house

    So your pup needs a home, a place to lay their head, a space to call their own. And you want to build it. This can be a fun and rewarding activity to take on either by yourself or with a child who loves to create and put things together. However, if begun without some forethought and planning, it can be a waste of time, money, and frustration.

    When it comes to building a dog house, it is best to start out by thinking about the type of house that your dog will need. Are you looking for something more basic or are there specific features you want to incorporate? Based on what you decide, you can look for or design a dog house that will meet all your requirements. 

    As you plan your design, you’ll need to plan for the obvious—a roof, walls, a floor, and fasteners to keep it all together. Beyond this, based on the materials you use along with your vision of the finished project, you may also need to consider shingles, windows, paint, and caulk. Let your creativity flow. 

    There are a few methods for building a dog house that you can consider. TSC offers a selection of outdoor dog houses, that come with everything you need and are quick and easy to assemble. This type of dog house is ideal for first-time builders or those who do not want to spend time designing a dog house from scratch. Another option is a DIY dog house, or one that you develop on your own or build using a plan found online. Building a DIY dog house can be a fun activity for someone who is comfortable using building tools and creating a stable structure.

    Depending on what type of dog house you choose, it will likely be made of either wood or plastic. If you prefer a plastic dog house, check out our variety of options. Plastic is great because it is waterproof, light, and resistant to rot and pests. Plastic dog houses are also easier to move and do not need to be refinished over time. And cleaning simply means a good hosing down or wiping out with a cloth.

    However, if you want to build a dog house on your own, wood is the best material to go with. It provides protection from all types of weather. Wood is also a good form of insulation. It can withstand high temperatures and humidity. Another bonus (if the style is important to you) is that wooden dog houses can easily be made to look more like real homes on a smaller scale.

    Make sure you take into consideration your own dog’s likes and dislikes and whether he or she might try to chew through the material. Some lumber is toxic and could harm your pet, especially if chewed and ingested. Use untreated, non toxic wood, and other materials to keep your pooch safe.

    If you are building a wooden dog house, you will need boards or panels, insulation, and standard construction supplies such as nails, a saw, a drill, and a hammer or nail gun. 

    If you live in a climate that can get very cold, your dog may require insulation to stay warm in his or her dog house along with a dog house door flap made out of plastic to keep drafts out, but nothing that seals tightly to prevent air getting in. The same goes for very hot climates where insulation can help keep your dog from overheating. However, do not add a cover over the door in warmer weather as it will decrease ventilation. You can either install insulation yourself or use insulated panels. 

    Along with warmth, your furry friend will thank you for adding some type of nesting material such as blankets, carpet, straw, hay, or the like. If adding a cloth of any type, remember that it will freeze if it gets wet and grow mold if it stays damp. Nesting material also tends to attract bugs and other pests. It will need to be changed frequently. Cedar shavings offer warmth while repelling fleas and ticks and can be changed weekly. And just a friendly reminder that no matter how incredible the dog house you build, your pooch should never be left outside in freezing temperatures. 

    How to determine what size of dog house you need to build

    The size of your dog house should be based on your dog’s measurements, but there are a few other factors to take into consideration as well. 

    Do you live in a warm or cold climate? If you have very cold winters, you will want to keep your dog house on the smaller side so that your dog can conserve heat when it is chilly out. If you have mild winters and very hot summers, giving your dog a bit more space to spread out can help them stay cool. 

    In order to give your dog space to turn around in the dog house, the length and width of the dog house should be about 25 percent larger than the length of your dog from nose to rump. Likewise, the height should be about 25 percent taller than the height of your dog, from the bottom of his or her feet to the top of his or her head. This will ensure that your dog has plenty of space but that the dog house is not too big to conserve heat if needed. 

    The height of the door should be about three-quarters of the height of your dog’s shoulder so your dog can easily duck inside. The smaller the door, the better the house will be able to conserve heat in cold weather. However, you don’t want the door to be too small for your dog to enter comfortably. 

    Also, if your dog is a puppy, remember that they will continue to grow, and, if not planned for, your puppy-turned-adult may outgrow that dog house in a matter of months. However, a dog house that is too large will make it difficult for your dog’s own body heat to keep it warm and toasty in cooler weather. 

    Steps to build a dog house

    The first step to building a dog house is choosing a suitable location in your yard or on your deck. Make sure this space is large enough for the dog house to fit comfortably. 

    Take measurements to determine what the dimensions and volume of the dog house should be so that you can design a layout that will accommodate the size of your dog.

    Start by building the frame that will form the base. Use large galvanized nails or wood screws to connect the boards. Then cover the frame with planks to make the floor. Connect the planks to the frame with nails or wood screws at equal intervals every few inches. 

    Next, frame the house with four wooden posts. Attach the wall panels with nails or wood screws at equal intervals of every few inches. 

    A dog house should include a roof to protect the interior from the weather and the sun. Create the frame for the roof using two (if you choose an A-frame roof) to four (if you choose a standard, two-sided roof) more posts and attach panels on top just like you did the floor and wall panels. It is best to make a slanted roof so that rain and snow can easily slide off. If you desire, you can add roofing or tar paper and shingles to further reinforce the roof and provide additional waterproofing. However, if you live in a warm climate and your dog runs hot, then avoid shingles as they can attract and hold heat from the sun. 

    When installing roof panels, be sure they will hang over the sides of the house as this keeps rainwater away from the house. You’ll need to account for these extra inches on each side of the roof. 

    Much like your human house, your dog house will need to be cleaned out regularly. Adding hinges to the roof of the house will allow you easier access to cleaning it out as well as making it easier to add waterproof bedding and other insulation materials. 

    Try to find a cool, shady place in your yard to put the dog house. Keeping it out of the sun as much as possible will lengthen its life. Placing it near your house or garage will protect it from the wind and other elements.

    Drilling several holes—about the size of a nickel—on the sides of the dog house or adding vents in the peaks of the roof will increase ventilation, giving hot air a place to escape and allowing the inside to dry out quicker when wet. 

    If possible, it is recommended to have it facing the opposite direction of incoming storms. In the United States, storms typically come from the west and south. Therefore, your dog house should face east to provide the most protection. 

    Design ideas for DIY dog houses

    The design of your dog house can be as simple or as complex as you choose. A DIY dog house is the best solution for those who are looking to design a dog house entirely on their own. 

    It is best to set the dog house slightly off the ground with a wooden base. This will prevent water from getting in when it rains along with keeping it warmer during colder weather. A slightly sloping floor toward the door opening will help the house drain of any wetness your dog brings inside as a pitched roof will help shed rain and snow. 

    Some other features that you could add to your DIY dog house include a deck or patio for sunbathing, awnings, windows, and maybe even shutters. A ramp gives easier access and is ideal for older dogs that may have difficulty with stairs. Go a bit crazy and have fun adding a toy box for all your pooch’s chew toys, a place for food and water, and your furry friend’s name in fun letters right above the doorway. A white picket fence, small mailbox, and a bit of landscaping will add some charm to your dog house. 

    You can also paint your dog house to reflect your own style as well as the design of the house. Just as with choosing the lumber you need, make sure that you choose a paint that is non-toxic to dogs. 

    A designated pet space, such as a dog house, is perfect when your dog needs to de-stress and just rest. It allows them to be outside without worrying about the weather. It’s their own little sanctuary, and customizing it to their needs and your personal style makes it even more fun. Whether you decide to use a pre-built dog house or build your own, shope TSC for all your dog and dog house needs.