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How Do I Choose A Cold-Weather Dog House?

How Do I Choose A Cold-Weather Dog House?

If your dog spends most of their days (and some nights) outside, you’ll want to invest in a winter dog house to keep your pooch comfortable during cold weather. Our Capitola vets share how to choose the best dog house for cold weather, and offer three possible solutions.

What To Consider In A Cold-Weather Dog House

While a regular outdoor kennel is suitable for warmer weather, you shouldn't rely on it to protect your dog during the winter months, when rain, snow and moisture can get inside your dog’s shelter and cause overexposure to the cold. Here are a few factors to consider:

Your Dog's Size

Although small dogs take up less room, their bodies need a lot more warmth, since they generally don’t have the body fat or thick coat to keep them warm. Depending on the breed, even larger dogs may not have heavy coats, either and owners should keep this in mind. A fur-lined coat or warm blanket could make the difference.

The general rule is that a dog house should typically be at least 25% longer and wider than the dog. Do they have enough space to easily turn around?


Dog houses that shield against winter weather must be insulated and water-tight, with thick walls to keep the elements out. The floor should also be insulated to protect your dog's undersides and paws from frigid temperatures, and bedding should promote the retention of heat.

Also make sure that it’s elevated above the ground and resistant to moisture, which can be harsh on building materials.


How durable is the house? Just like your own house, you may need to take a look at it on a regular basis to ensure moisture hasn’t gotten to any areas it shouldn’t, and that it is in good repair on both the outside and inside.


Keep an eye out for thick walls constructed from high-quality flooring and materials that are designed to keep the cold out (and your pup warm). Like any other product, some are better designed, with higher quality materials than others to offer more protection against the harshest winter conditions. You may also want to provide a heating pad for maximum comfort.

High-Quality Door That Can Close

The best winterproof dog houses have doors that shelter your dog from any drafts of cold air that will enter. Whether you make one from a thick curtain or flap of heavy cloth, or the door is included with the house, make sure it will protect your dog against the coldest winds, otherwise, he will be vulnerable to the cold air entering his abode.

Great Dog Houses

Here are three dog houses you may want to consider:

DP Hunter Dog House with Floor Heater (For Small Dogs)

Best for dogs in the petite-to-medium size range, this house is water-resistant with a removable, sloped floor that has a drain hole built-in.

It is constructed four inches off the ground and features foam insulation in its ceiling and walls. Plus, your pooch gets an internal heating map to keep them nice and toasty (but this mat should be covered if your dog is a chewer, as it’s not built into the floor).

Pets Imperial Large Insulated Wooden Dog Kennel (For Large Dogs)

The wood-cabin appearance of this large dog house belies the strength of its construction; its inside walls are built with Styrofoam, plywood insulation and timber to protect your pup against the harshest cold and wind. Its removable floor is easily cleanable and the roof can be opened for easy access.

The house is raised two inches off the ground and the plastic caps on the bottom prevent rotting.

ASL Solutions Dog Palace

This house’s raised, slightly sloped floor will keep your pet and their bedding dry and is easily accessible and cleanable. The adjustable windows are a bonus, as it makes the house versatile enough to use year-round.

No matter which dog house you choose, you’ll still want to monitor your pup closely during the year’s coldest days, and clean their house regularly.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Wondering how much time your dog can safely spend outside in the winter, or need specific advice? Contact our Capitola vets for tips on the best outdoor shelter for your four-legged-friend. 

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