Are Dog Houses Cruel? (Solved & Explained!)

Keeping a dog house outside for a family pet is not cruel. As long as some proper considerations are taken such as location, weather, and restriction levels, a dog house can be a wonderful area for your dog.

Keep reading to find out more about the benefits of dog houses, precautions you should take, and how to decide which dog house is right for you.

Does my dog need a dog house?

In recent years the thought of dog houses conjures up sad puppies living outside in poor conditions with restricted movement. However, when used properly a dog house can be a wonderful thing for your dog.

While you technically do not need a dog house, having one comes with benefits to both you and your pup.

Benefits of having a dog house

While your dog is temporarily outdoors, the dog house can provide much needed protection from the sun and other elements. It can also serve as a quiet place to rest for a midday nap or just a safe place to get away.

A dog house can replicate the feeling of being inside a den. As dogs are wolf-descendants, being tucked inside of a den is their natural inclination and they feel comfortable there. If you are away for most of the day, having access to a dog house is a great way to calm a dog with separation anxiety.

Drawbacks of having a dog house

While there are many benefits to having a dog house, there are a few drawbacks too. Finding unwanted guests inside like stray cats, small mice, or birds is a common issue. Not to mention, you might find you’re getting strange looks from your neighbors who might not agree with dog houses.

Which dog house should I get?

Modern dog houses on the market are mostly good quality and made with materials such as wood or composite plastic materials. They come in various sizes with the intention of giving each animal plenty of space inside.

What should I consider when buying a dog house?

The environment, weather, landscape, and how long you want your pet to be able to stay outside are all considerations you should take when deciding on a dog house to buy. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if you wouldn’t go into it, your pet probably won’t either.

How big should the dog house be?

You’ll want to choose a dog house that is 1.5 times the size of your fully grown pup. This is to make sure that your dog has a lot of space to feel comfortable and safe. A house that is too big won’t feel safe and something too small is restrictive to movement.

Do I need a climate controlled dog house?

If you live in extremely cold or hot environments, get a dog house that comes with climate control. Many dog house manufactures have this option, especially for custom dog houses. Do keep in mind, climate controlled dog houses bring other unwanted guests.

In colder months it is likely you will find raccoons, squirrels, or other rodents inside seeking shelter from the elements. In order to combat this, be sure to choose a house with a door.

Should I put a protected entrance on the dog house?

Yes! All outdoor dog houses should have a protected entrance. Off-the-shelf dog houses usually come with a flap for a door, but an offset or self-closing door will work too. These protected entrances will help to keep other animals out of the dog house.

When does having a dog house become cruel?

While there are benefits of having a dog house, if misused it can become cruel to your dog. Leaving a dog tied to the dog house, leaving them outside in inclement weather, and not having access to food and water are some of the ways that a dog house can turn cruel for your dog.

Do not leave your dog outside in inclimate weather

Unless your dog house is climate controlled, do not leave your dog outside in inclement weather. This could mean 6” of snow, or 110 degree heat. If you wouldn’t sleep inside the dog house because it is too hot, then it is too hot for your dog to sleep there too.

Do not leave your dog tied to the dog house.

Leaving a dog tied to a dog house is absolutely not recommended. The dog can become trapped and unable to move. A tie-out can also create physical injuries to the dog. If you do not have a secure fence, then the dog should be monitored at all times instead of being tied up.

Do not leave your dog without access to clean food and water.

Leaving a dog without access to clean food and water at any time is cruel, but especially when they are left outside. In the warm months dogs can overheat quickly. Having access to fresh, clean drinking water will help to cool the dog down. In winter, having a lot of food will help to warm the dog up too.

Do not leave multiple dogs in one dog house.

Unless you purchase a dog house that is extra large and will fit multiple dogs easily, then you should never leave multiple dogs in one dog house. Dogs are pack animals with established hierarchies. The alpha of your pack may keep others from entering the dog house. This could cause fighting amongst your pets.

Follow your local laws

For most towns and cities across the country, there are laws regarding the safety of your pets. Be sure to check with your local ordinances to find out what your applicable laws for keeping your dog in a dog house are.

Most ordinances state that dogs cannot be left outside unless given access to a safe and warm sleeping area. Mass-produced dog houses are perfect for ensuring those ordinances are being followed, as ompanies have to follow local laws to sell their products in your locality.