Do Dogs Need Houses? The Surprising Truth

If you’re a dog owner, you may be wondering whether or not your pet needs a dog house. The answer is yes, every dog needs a house of their own. It’s a place where they can feel safe, comfortable, and protected from the elements.

When it comes to choosing a dog house, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure the house is the right size for your dog. It should be big enough for them to stand up and turn around in, but not so big that they feel lost inside. Second, consider the material of the house. You want it to be sturdy, weather-resistant, and well-ventilated.

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Benefits of Providing a House for Your Dog

As a dog owner, you want to make sure that your pet is comfortable and safe at all times. Providing a house for your dog can offer numerous benefits that help keep your pet happy and healthy. Here are some reasons why your dog needs a house:

Protection from Weather Conditions

Your dog needs a shelter that can protect them from harsh weather conditions such as rain, snow, and extreme temperatures. A dog house can provide shade during hot summer days and keep your dog warm during cold winter nights. According to PetMD, a dog house can help prevent hypothermia in dogs and provide protection from rain, snow, wind, and extreme temperatures.

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Privacy and Security

Just like humans, dogs need privacy and security. A dog house provides a private and secure space where your dog can rest and relax without being disturbed by other animals or people. It can also help reduce your dog’s anxiety and stress levels by giving them a space of its own.

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Comfort and Familiarity

Dogs are creatures of habit and thrive on routine. Providing a house for your dog gives them a sense of familiarity and comfort, which can help reduce their stress levels. A dog house can also provide a comfortable resting place for your dog, especially if you add a soft bed or blankets inside.

Overall, providing a house for your dog is a great way to keep them safe, comfortable, and happy. Make sure you choose a dog house that is appropriate for your dog’s size and needs, and keep it clean and well-maintained.

Sources: PetMD, Merck Veterinary Manual

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Dog House

Size and Breed

When choosing a dog house, size and breed are important factors to consider. Your dog’s size and breed will determine the size of the house they need. Most vendors and facilities recommend the house be large enough for your dog to stand up straight, move around, stretch, and lie down. A dog house that is too small will make your dog feel cramped and uncomfortable, while a house that is too large may not provide enough warmth.

For example, a Chihuahua will require a much smaller house than a Great Dane. A dog house that is too small for your dog can cause them to feel cramped and uncomfortable, while a house that is too large may not provide enough warmth.

German shepherd in wooden dog house with plywood roof and floor
German shepherd resting in its wooden kennel

Materials and Durability

The materials and durability of a dog house are also important factors to consider. Different materials have pros and cons, so choosing what’s best for your dog can be a little tricky. A dog house made of composite plastic material—similar to what’s used on most outdoor decks—is better, as they’re less likely to be chewed up compared to one made of wood. Additionally, plastic dog houses are easier to clean and maintain than wooden ones.

If you prefer a wooden dog house, make sure it is made of sturdy, weather-resistant wood, such as cedar or redwood. These types of wood are naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. When choosing a dog house, also consider the roof. A sloped roof will help rain and snow slide off, while a flat roof may cause water to collect and leak into the house.

Doghouse roof using corrugated metal or plastic sheets
Timbered fairy doghouse

Location and Placement

The location and placement of your dog’s house are also important factors to consider. You want to place the house in a location that is sheltered from the wind and rain but also allows for good air circulation. A shaded area is ideal, especially if you live in a hot climate. Avoid placing the dog house directly on the ground, as it can become damp and cold. Instead, place it on a raised platform or use a dog house with legs.

When placing the dog house, consider the direction of the sun. You want to avoid placing the house in direct sunlight, as it can become too hot for your dog. Additionally, you want to place the house in an area that is easily accessible for your dog but also provides them with some privacy.

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Alternatives to Traditional Dog Houses

Indoor Crates and Kennels

If you don’t have a backyard or prefer to keep your dog indoors, an indoor crate or kennel can provide a safe and comfortable space for your pet. Indoor crates come in various sizes and materials, from wire to plastic to wood. They can be used for house training, as a cozy sleeping spot, or to keep your dog contained while you’re away.

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Outdoor Dog Runs and Playpens

If you have an outdoor space but don’t want to invest in a traditional dog house, an outdoor dog run or playpen can be a great alternative. These enclosures can be made of wire or chain-link fencing and provide a safe and secure space for your dog to play and exercise. They can be set up in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on your needs and available space.

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DIY Dog Houses

If you’re handy with tools and want to save some money, building your own dog house can be a fun and rewarding project. There are plenty of DIY dog house plans and tutorials available online, ranging from simple to complex designs. Keep in mind that building your own dog house requires some skill and knowledge, and you’ll need to use appropriate materials and tools to ensure the safety and comfort of your dog.

Sources: – AKC – AKC – DIY Network


Providing a dog house for your pet is not always necessary, but it can provide several benefits. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions or if your yard is not fenced in, a dog house may be necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of your pet.

When choosing a dog house, make sure it is the right size for your dog, insulated, well-ventilated, and has bedding inside for your dog to sleep on. Also, consider the location of the dog house and make sure it is in a safe and secure area.

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Remember, dogs are social animals and need human interaction and attention. A dog house should not replace the time you spend with your pet. Make sure to give your dog plenty of love and attention, and they will be happy and healthy.


Do dogs still live in dog houses?

Yes, dogs still live in dog houses all over the world. It’s fine for a dog to live outside, provided that you feed them, shelter them, and follow it up with lots of love.

The dog house should be insulated and well-ventilated and have some bedding inside for your dog to sleep on, as well as some toys to help them pass the time.

What is needed in a dog house?

Dogs don’t need much to be happy. The inside of the dog house needs to have bedding in the form of blankets, some straw or hay, or even some wood shavings such as pine or cedar will do.

The wood shavings give you the bonus of keeping insects away and making your dog smell a little nicer, so this is a popular option with many dog owners. Beyond this, just add some toys and your dog will be happy!

Are dog houses insulated?

All dog houses should be insulated. This will help to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter and the type of insulation makes a difference. Basic insulation might make the inside of the dog house 10 degrees warmer than the outside, but superior insulation could make it 20 degrees warmer or more!

Where do you put a dog house?

Ideally, you want to place the dog house in an area that gets shade for most of the day. Some people put them against the house wall to minimize winds, as well.

 It is also important to make sure that the dog house is close to the house properly – if it’s too far away, then your dog may refuse to use the house.

Can a house dog survive outside?

Provided that you do not live somewhere with extreme weather (unless you bring the dogs in during this time), then a medium or large-breed dog can live quite happily outside. This is not recommended for smaller breeds, however, who are not as hardy and are likely to become ill if kept outside all of the time.

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How warm should a dog house be?

Your dog is most comfortable in the winter at a range of 68 to 72 degrees. While this is an unrealistic target unless are employing a dog house heater, you should shoot for as close to this as you can get. At temperatures under 45, non-winter breed dogs start to suffer in the cold and may become sick.

Be sure to use the best insulation that you can, along with extra bedding, and bring your dog in when it gets too cold outside – they can suffer hypothermia just like we can and you don’t want to risk that.

Do dogs like indoor dog houses?

Dogs love indoor houses. Giving your dog a space that they can call their own has several benefits. When your dog doesn’t like the company that’s visiting, it gives them a place to go, and it also serves as a handy napping spot during the day or a place to chew a new toy away from the pesky housecat.

Go with a mobile crate and it will double as transportation when you need it to, making that indoor dog house a very practical investment indeed.

How do I get my dog to use his dog house?

Fill the new doghouse with lots of comfortable bedding and interesting toys, making sure that your dog sees you tossing the toys inside so that they will be curious. If this doesn’t tempt them closer, toss in a few treats as well and stand away to let them explore the house on their own.

Once they see that it’s comfortable inside then most dogs will eventually want to take a break from play to nap inside.

Why will my dog not go in his doghouse?

If your dog doesn’t want to go into their dog house, then consider where it is placed. More often than not, if a dog house is placed too far away from the house proper, then a dog will not consider it an acceptable place to go.

Dogs want to be close to us and to protect us and your dog won’t spend time in a dog house if they think this compromises their ability to do so. Move the house closed and see what happens!