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Dogs can self-regulate their body temperature during climate changes. But, for those especially harsh winter days, a warm boost is necessary to ensure they’re comfortable and safe.
There are numerous products on the market that help keep pets cozy, from microwaveable pads to self-rigged solar powered heaters. But, what if your dog spends the majority of her time outdoors?
If that’s the case, then a heated dog house is an efficient choice for pet owners. In this post, we’ll explain how an insulated model works and leave you with a list of our top picks for the best heated dog houses.
Contents & Quick Navigation
What is a Heated Dog House?
If you live in a region that gets downright nippy, you should invest in a dog house that includes features that keep your dog warm. That’s where a heated dog house comes in handy.
They are built using special heat-retaining materials and proven design techniques that will withstand extreme weather.
There is a multitude of dog houses available on the market. You can also find products to heat a dog house that wasn’t built for the cold. The hard part is sifting through them all to find one suited to your particular needs.
How to Insulate a Dog House for Winter
Perhaps you already have a dog house or you live in a region that doesn’t get terribly cold, but some extra warmth is still necessary. There are a few products to boost a regular, non-insulated structure so it’s ready to take on the cold.
It’s up to you to determine how much heat you think your dog will need to be comfortable and how you want that heat to be produced. You’d want to keep your dog warm and cozy at all times, whether you purchase a pre-made dog house or even build your own.
One way to crank up the warmth is by adding a dog house heater. Here are 3 different heating apparatus’ that offer varying features that focus on safety, energy conservation, and convenience.
Perhaps you already have a dog house and want to add a heating system. An electric heat box can be installed on the wall of the structure and connected to an outlet in your garage or home. This powers a mini ac/heat unit that warms the entire dog house.
Be wary of the amount of energy consumed with these as well as keeping any cords or hot surfaces safeguarded from curious dogs.
This won’t provide as much heat as a heater box, but it will take your dog’s plush bed to the next level of comfort and warmth.
Heating pads can be microwavable and stay hot for more than 8 hours or there are electric pads that can be plugged into a wall to attain the desired temperature. These specialized pads come as an insert to place within your dog’s bed or there are beds that heat up on their own.
The heating lamp comes in the form of a ceramic bulb that gives off heat, but no light or it can be a heat producing light bulb.
This type of heating method is popular for reptiles or chicken coops, but can also be used for dog houses as well. The heat isn’t enough to cover an entire room, but will warm a small area.
How to Choose a Heated Dog House for the Cold Weather
Are you ready to invest in a new dog house that’s specially built for harsh climates? Insulated dog houses stay at a moderate temperature through cold winters and hot summers.
The materials, shape of the house and heating features that are already incorporated when you purchase it are what set this type of dog house apart from the norm.
You can still always add your own insulation, such as straw bedding or a doggie door flap, if you feel it’s necessary. Some houses will even come with a heated pad to fit the floor or an access point to run a heater box cord through to keep it away from chewing.
These are the top 3 designs on the market.
1. Insulated dog house
Insulated dog houses are built to regulate the interior temperature, especially in hot or cold weather. Look for houses that come with sealed walls and roof, as well as a raised floor to keep out any water.
They are built using wood or plastic that can be further insulated with another material, such as foam.
2. Igloo dog house
The Eskimo people were masters at keeping warm in frigid climates. The dome-shaped architecture of their igloo homes wasn’t just an eclectic home design, it helped foster insulation.
That same design has been introduced for dog houses. A raised floor and an off-set tunnel entrance keeps out cold drafts and water, while vents at the top keep air flowing.
3. Solar powered dog house
Currently, there aren’t any solar-powered dog houses on the market. Instead, you’ll have to break out the toolkit and DIY.
You need a solar panel, such as the Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel
an inverter, such as the Renogy Lycan Powerbox and a battery to get set up. Then, attach the system to a heater box and BOOM- you’re heating your dog house the environmentally friendly way.
You can find our favorite reviewed dog heaters and learn how to make your own solar heater here.
How to Set Up Your Heated Dog House
Even if you purchase heating products or an insulated house to crank up the coziness, there are still certain tricks you can utilize to further cut down on the chill factor. Consider these tips when setting up a heated dog house.
- Choose the right size: In this case, bigger is not better. You want the size of your dog house to be able to allow your pet to stand, lay and sit comfortably, as well as turn around. If the house is too big, the more heating power you’ll need to keep the space warm. It should be large enough to hold in the heat emitted from your dog’s own body.
- Position carefully: It’s imperative to position the home in a sheltered position away from low-lying, open areas where cold wind and rainwater can impact it. Look for a spot with a barrier, such as against the garage wall, to keep out cold streams. To avoid seeping water, add elevation and avoid areas of the yard where water pools.
- Add insulation: Wood retains heat better than plastic, but plastic seals out drafts since the walls are solid. You can add EPS foam to the walls of a wood or plastic house for extra padding as well.
- Do opt for raised flooring: Look for dog houses that have raised flooring to avoid wetness that can seep in and chillify your dog’s abode. Layer the floor with wood shavings, dry straw or a pet bed.
Interested in adding your own insulation or building a winter proof dog house? Watch this video for some helpful tips.
Is a Heated Dog House Safe?
With electricity and heat conductors being introduced into your dog’s sweet abode, it may get you thinking about safety. What if an appliance overheats? What about these extra cords? Can a heater burn my dog?
Dog house heaters are generally safe, but there are always precautions to take to avoid careless accidents.
As well, top-quality heater manufacturers make safety a priority, adding special features that protect your dog from harm.
Take these considerations when setting up your heated dog house and look for these safety features when you shop around.
- Cords can be tempting for dogs to chew. Opt for a metal or spring wrapped cord, and conceal it from your dog. You can drill a hole in the dog house to run the cord out.
- If you want to use a heating device, read the label to ensure it is rated for outside use.
- Quality products meant for outdoors should be waterproof and include a thermostat.
- Talk to the professionals first. Have an electrician inspect your heated dog house to ensure it meets electrical standards in your area. Your vet can give you sound advice on healthy heating practices for your dog.
- Choose a heating unit that comes with a heat protector or burn shield.
- Refrain from heating up the walls of the dog house by installing your heating unit away from where the walls meet and the ceiling.
- Speaking of installation, keep it away from the entrance of the dog house where your dog can brush against it.
Here Are Our Top 6 Favorite Heated Dog Houses
It can be exhausting trying to navigate all of those dog houses, so we’ve done the dirty work for you!
These are the best rated heated dog houses on the market. They offer a variety of house designs, materials and heating features that are guaranteed to keep your dog safe and happy when the cold winter months grow long. We’ve even thrown in a couple of dog heater options as a bonus!
- Suitable for medium, large and XL dogs
- Comes with a heating pad with a thermostat
- Includes an access hole to run a heater cord through
- Materials: Heavy-duty plastic walls insulated with EPS foam
The manufacturers thought of everything when it comes to heated dog house designs. The construction puts an emphasis on tightly sealed walls, windows, and door.
The door is especially useful because it doesn’t utilize a simple flap that can still let cold air in. Instead, it’s a one-way system that closes behind your dog.
We love the fact that this is big enough to house an XL breed, such as a Great Dane. It’s spacious and the insulated walls keep this house at a mellow 70°F (21°C) during 40°F (4°C) weather.
- Suitable for large and XL dogs
- Durable plastic panel door that opens at the center when pushed
- Materials: Wood, with patent-pending PanelAbode™ Laminated Engineered Panel System
This is still a relatively new insulated dog house on the market, from what we can tell, it’s immaculately built.
The walls a sealed in by a cedar panel system that makes this XL dog house well insulated and it features raised feet to keep moisture out. The roof can slide off in order to clean the structure easily.
For the expensive price, this dog house doesn’t come with any extras like the ASL Solutions Dog Palace, but it is built to withstand the elements.
We like this one as an insulated base house to begin with, then you can add your own heating system for extra warmth, such as a heating pad or heater box.
- Suitable for medium, large, XL dogs
- Sleeping pad and door panel sold separately
- Materials: Heavy duty plastic dome-shape
This igloo dog house is designed to cool during summer and heat during the winter. The solid dome is plastic, which doesn’t retain heat as well as wood, but there are no cracks or edges to worry about like with a box house.
The vent located at the top allows air to circulate and the positioning of the tunnel door helps block out rain and wind. It’s a simple design, but it does the trick to keep your dog warm.
There are 3 different sizes available to fit medium, large and XL dogs. The only worry is the tunnel size. Make sure you measure your dog beforehand and compare the dimensions to what is listed for the product so you get the right fit.
- Suitable for small and medium dogs under 70 lbs (31 kg)
- Underground design insulates and cools
- Materials: Heavy duty plastic pod that is buried underground
We know you might be a little bit skeptical about an underground dog house. We were too until we discovered how efficient and convenient it is.
This solid plastic pod-shaped dog house is buried underground in your yard with the opening sitting 3 inches up from the ground. The temperature is regulated by the soil naturally, so the interior stays a solid temperature year round.
We love the simplicity and clever design that works with nature to insulate. But, we did find it difficult to clean, as the main portion of this model is underground and a bit difficult for a human to access.
- Suitable for small and medium dogs under 70 lbs (31 kg)
- A raised floor that is removable; waterproof construction
- Materials: Wood walls insulated with Styrofoam
A basic insulated option, for the cheaper price of this model you get a sturdy heated wooden dog house that withstands extreme elements. The floor is made from thick timber and is raised, staying dry and warm.
There is a plastic door, so rain is hampered from reaching the interior. When it’s time to clean, both the roof and floor can detach to make the process convenient.
You’ll need to add a heating pad or other dog heater for extra warmth during steep temperature drops. There are no special features that will keep your dog toasty, but it is a budget-friendly insulated option that is made from quality materials.
- Suitable for small dogs
- Cord included for use with solar panel
- Materials: Plastic walls insulated with foam
This is a smaller dog house by ASL Solutions that is equipped to hook up to a remote solar panel. There is an exhaust fan available for the summer or you can add a heating pad during the winter.
The walls are nicely insulated with thick foam over tightly sealed plastic. This model features a solid plastic door that swings shut after entry and exit.
For small pets, this is a solid choice. We especially love how it accommodates solar energy.
When an Insulated Dog House is not enough…
If your dog house is not well insulated or your insulated model needs an extra layer of heat, these two products deliver doggie satisfaction on the coldest of days.
- Electrical heater with 300 watt heating up to 75 cubic ft.
- Thermostat-controlled (30 degrees to 100 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Protective unit shield and spring cord for pet safety
We love this electric box because a) it’s made especially for pet houses and b) it doesn’t consume that much energy (only 1.3 amps).
Installation is simple. All you need to do is drill a hole to pass the cord through and plug it in at the source. There is a thermostat, so you can control the temperature setting.
There is a protective shield to keep your dog from getting burned. It gets quite hot still, so better to place this away from the doggie door and high up out of reach.
- Features an internal thermostat
- Includes removable bolster & soft, removable cover
- Small: 20 watt; Medium: 40 watt; Large: 60 watt
This isn’t your usual thin heated mat for a dog house. Instead, this bed is thick and luxurious, made from orthopedic foam encased in a fleece-lined cover.
It comes in multiple sizes to accommodate small, medium and large dogs. It’s also flexible to fit inside any dog house, crate or puppy playpen for that matter.
Made for the outdoors, a spring-wrapped cord protects from chewing and plugs into an electrical source for 20 watts of energy.
Conclusion: This is Our Top Rated Heated Dog House
With the number of considerations to take when it comes to protecting your dog from the cold, the ASL Solutions Dog Palace covers all of the bases.
They designed this insulated dog house for harsh climates, with tightly sealed walls, EPS foam and a raised floor that has cord access for a heated dog bed.
If you live in a region that gets exceptionally bitter, this dog house is top-quality for providing warmth and is suitable for XL dogs, which can be hard to find with most dog houses.
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