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How to Build a Dog House for Your Beloved Pooch by Devin Morrissey

This article has been republished for exclusive use by The Grey Muzzle Organization with the permission of original author, Devin Morrissey. 

The connection between humans and dogs is estimated to be about 16,000 years old. However, recent research pushes the domestication of dogs farther back. A study conducted by Nature Communications theorizes that it happened approximately 32,000 years ago.

In any case, dogs are a popular American pet. According to data from the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 60.2 million United States households have a dog and 89.7 million people own them. Numerous studies have shown that pet ownership helps people maintain their health, because it is associated with lowering the rate of death from cardiovascular disease, increasing fitness, reducing stress, boosting mood, alleviating allergies and improving the immune system.

Many people consider their dog a member of the family, so dog owners want to make sure that their pets stay healthy, happy and well-behaved. To keep dogs safe, they need shelter when they are outside thus doghouses offer a secure location for them. A doghouse or kennel can protect dogs from wild animals, provide a safe spot to relax and eliminate exposure to rain, snow and wind.

The Benefits of a Doghouse or Outside Kennel

Most pet owners prefer to let their dogs reside inside with them. Some canines like farm dogs remain outside or live in kennels attached to barns.  No matter where dogs dwell, they still may spend several hours a day outdoors.

Time outside is essential for a dog’s physical and mental well-being. It also aids in relieving boredom by introducing variety into their daily life. When dogs are outdoors, they can engage in traditional canine behavior such as lying in the grass, smelling different scents and running untethered.

Sometimes owners may have to leave their dogs outside while they are at work, doing errands, or entertaining guests that can excite or upset their pets. A doghouse or kennel is a place where dogs can safely observe their surroundings, go to sleep or be away from events that overstimulate them. By allowing dogs time in an outside shelter, it may calm them down and stop them from becoming aggressive, destructive, or uncooperative.

Save Money By Building a Doghouse

A doghouse is a necessity. Buying one can be expensive. But, constructing a doghouse yourself may be more economical.

Today’s doghouses are functional and aesthetically appealing. The selection of doghouse designs is unlimited. You can opt for an A-frame, log cabin, igloo, southwest adobe or a replica of your own house with paned windows, siding and shingled roofs.

A do-it-yourself doghouse project is ideal for anyone who is handy with tools and understands basic construction. How-to videos can be helpful guides for building a doghouse, if you do not want to purchase a plan or kit. All you have to do is buy the construction materials and follow a step by step process.

Choosing Materials for a Doghouse

The material you use for a doghouse depends on how you want it to look as well as its insulating properties and type of upkeep. In addition, you need to decide if you desire a temporary or permanent structure. Your material choices may include fabric, plastic or wood.

Fabric is used for a tent like structure. It can be quickly assembled and disassembled, so you can use it in the yard or when you travel with your dog. Keep in mind that fabric doghouses are not a viable choice for shielding a dog against severe weather.

Plastic is portable, lightweight, waterproof and rot resistant. The durable construction withstands biting and scratching so it is hard for dogs to damage. Clean-up is easily accomplished with a hose, water and cloth.

Wood is a popular option for doghouses. Wooden shelters provide solid insulation and the best overall protection from all kinds of weather. Cedar constructed doghouses can repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes and lasts longer than other materials.

Make Your Dog Comfortable in a Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Doghouse

A sustainable and environmentally friendly doghouse is built from materials that are not harmful to the earth, people or animals and safeguards biodiversity and ecosystems. Environmentally friendly products conserve resources by limiting the amount of water and energy used during manufacturing. The materials are nontoxic, biodegradable or recycled from glass, wood, metal, or plastic.

The material that is used in a green doghouse may be made from salvage wood or boards that are composed from leftover wood chips. Sustainable plastic is made from reclaimed waste products, and made into a new material that can be used to build a doghouse. Stains and paint applied to wood should have a low volatile organic compound (VOC), so it emits less odor and decreases the level of pollution.

Blankets and towels placed in a doghouse for padding can become damp, grow mold and attract pests. It is better to use natural materials for bedding. Straw or cedar shavings will keep a dog warm and comfy while repelling ticks and fleas.

The Components of an Ideal Doghouse

A doghouse has to meet certain specifications. It should properly fit your dog, have adequate ventilation and be elevated off of the ground. Most importantly, a doghouse must be sturdy.

You can determine the proper size for the doghouse by measuring your dog and adding 9 inches to their height, 18 inches to length and 12 inches to width. Doors should be positioned to one side of the structure to give dogs privacy while screening them from weather, and they need to be big enough for dogs to walk in, but not oversized so the space is cozy. Once dogs are inside the shelter, they should be able to stand up, have room to turn around and also be able to access their food and water.

A few quarter sized holes drilled at the top of a doghouse allows for airflow to assist with ventilation especially in hot and humid climates. A shelter should be lifted off of the soil to produce extra ventilation, ensure that a cold ground temperature does not permeate the structure, prevent the floor from rotting, and defend against infestations from fleas eggs present in the dirt. A sturdy doghouse is necessary for stopping the structure from being blown over or destroyed by wind, snowstorms and heavy rain.

Be Careful When Building a Doghouse

While it is a great idea to build a doghouse yourself, injuries can occur. The National Safety Council reports that 44.5 million people in 2016 sought medical attention for nonfatal, preventable injuries. That translates to one in seven U.S. citizens.

A nonprofessional carpenter can encounter risks when undertaking a construction project. Common injuries are caused by accidents that involve power tools, table saws and flying debris. Casualties may result in lacerations, amputations, electrocution, trips, falls and eye injuries.

Take precautions when working with construction tools. You should follow guidelines and instructions when using equipment. In addition, you need to always wear protective gear like gloves, goggles and proper footwear.


About the Contributor:

Devin roams the Pacific Northwest, bringing his dog, Scrummy, whenever possible. He is a strong believer that nothing can compare to a dog's unconditional love.

You can follow him and Scrummy on Twitter.