The Dog House

Jul 13, 2013

So - fix it up or just start over?
Credit Tejas Prints (Cassandra Gallegos-Moore)

Summer is a good time to take a close look at your outdoor pet's dog house, to see if it is really an adequate shelter for your pet to get some relief from the elements.


In the summer heat, it is vital that outside dogs have a place where they can go to get out of the sun. For many pets, their dog house can be a great refuge in hot weather. For others, well, let’s just say that maybe the dog house could use a little work. And since July is National Dog House Repairs Month, this is the perfect time to make sure your pet has a place that is safe and comfortable.

A dog house should be the right size for your dog, and bigger is not always better. It should be large enough so the animal can stand up, turn around and even stretch out a little, but still small enough to feel cozy.

The house should have a floor that is raised up off the ground by several inches. This will help to keep your dog cooler in the summer and warmer in winter months. It also will provide a dry place for your pet on a rainy day. Speaking of rain, the roof may need new shingles, inexpensive but effective for protection.

A dog house should be placed in a shaded area to keep it out of the blistering sun so the interior doesn’t heat up too much.

If you need to make any structural improvements, avoid the use of pressure-treated wood which may contain chemicals that could be poisonous to pets. Use untreated lumber and a sealant that is non-toxic to animals. If you want to paint it, choose a product that is safe for pets. Be careful when using nails or screws, that the points don’t stick out and cause injury or discomfort for your dog.

If you decide that your dog house is beyond repair, or it just isn’t the right size for your pet, you might decide to build or buy a new one. Whether you build or buy, all the same rules apply – no chemically treated wood, the right size, elevated floor, waterproof roof, and located in a shady area. And don’t forget the water bowl, always with fresh clean water for your pet.

And remember that dogs are social animals. Having the fanciest dog house in the neighborhood is no substitute for quality time spent with your best friend’s human family, when you’re speaking of pets.