Cozy Kennels: How to Keep Your Outside Dog Warm

As a dog owner, you want to make sure that your pet is comfortable and warm, especially during the colder months. If you have an outside dog kennel, there are several things you can do to keep it warm and cozy.

In this article, we will provide you with easy steps to follow, so you can ensure that your dog stays warm and healthy, no matter the weather.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your outside dog kennel warm is insulation. Insulated walls are vital during the winter months, as they keep the heat in and the cold out. You can also add a layer of insulation to the roof of the kennel, which will help to keep it warm and dry.

Another important factor to consider is bedding. Your dog needs a warm and comfortable place to sleep, especially during the colder months. You can use hay, cedar chips, or wood shavings as bedding, which should be at least six inches deep. This will help to keep your dog warm and cozy, even on the coldest nights.

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Preparing Your Outside Dog Kennel for Winter

Winter can be a challenging time for dogs, especially those who spend most of their time outdoors. To keep your pet warm and comfortable, you need to make sure their kennel is equipped to handle the cold weather. In this section, we’ll cover two essential steps you need to take to prepare your outside dog kennel for winter: Understanding Your Dog’s Needs and Choosing the Right Kennel.

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Understanding Your Dog’s Needs

Before you start making any changes to your dog’s kennel, it’s essential to understand their specific needs. Different dogs have different tolerance levels for cold weather, so you need to take your dog’s breed, age, and overall health into consideration.

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If you have an older dog or a puppy, they may be more susceptible to the cold and require extra care. Similarly, if your dog has a thin coat or is prone to shivering, they will need additional warmth to stay comfortable.

Choosing the Right Kennel

The next step is to choose the right kennel for your dog. When it comes to keeping your dog warm in winter, the type of kennel you choose can make a big difference. Here are some factors to consider:

Factor Considerations
Size Make sure the kennel is the right size for your dog. It should be large enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
Insulation Choose a kennel with good insulation to keep your dog warm. Look for materials like wood, plastic, or metal that can trap heat inside.
Location Place the kennel in a sheltered location away from the wind. Avoid placing it in a low-lying area that can flood or collect moisture.
Flooring Choose a kennel with a raised floor or an above-ground foundation to keep your dog off the cold ground.

Keeping Your Outside Dog Kennel Warm

Insulation Options

Insulating your dog kennel is an effective way to keep your pet warm during cold weather. There are different insulation materials to choose from, including:

  • Foam boards
  • Bubble wrap
  • Reflective insulation
  • Blankets or rugs

Reflective insulation is a great option as it reflects heat back into the kennel, keeping it warm. Blankets or rugs can also be used to insulate the kennel, but make sure to keep them dry and free from pests.

Heating Options

Heating your dog kennel is another way to keep your pup warm during colder months. However, it’s important to choose a safe heating option that won’t harm your dog or cause a fire. Here are some safe heating options:

Heating Option Description
Heated Dog Bed A heated dog bed provides warmth and comfort for your dog.
Heating Pad A heating pad can be placed under your dog’s bedding for added warmth.
Safe Space Heater A safe space heater can be used to warm up the kennel, but make sure to keep it away from any flammable materials.

Remember, never use a regular electric heater that you use to warm your toes on a winter night. Heating a dog kennel and a human house is extremely different, and using the wrong heater can be dangerous for your dog.

Other Tips for Keeping Your Dog Warm

Provide Adequate Bedding

Make sure your dog has a warm and comfortable bed to sleep in. Use blankets, straw, or even old towels to create a soft and cozy sleeping area. Avoid using electric blankets or heating pads as they can be dangerous.

Consider Using a Heated Water Bowl

In cold weather, your dog’s water bowl can freeze over, making it difficult for them to stay hydrated. Consider using a heated water bowl to keep the water from freezing and make it easier for your dog to drink.

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Use a Dog House Heater

If your dog spends a lot of time outside in cold weather, consider using a dog house heater to keep them warm. These heaters are designed to be safe for dogs and can provide a comfortable and warm environment for them to rest in.

Safety Considerations

Keep Your Dog Safe from Frostbite

In cold weather, your dog is at risk of developing frostbite on their ears, paws, and tail. Keep an eye on these areas and bring your dog inside if you notice any signs of frostbite.

Never Leave Your Dog Outside in Extreme Weather

If the weather is extremely cold or hot, it’s important to bring your dog inside. Leaving your dog outside in extreme weather can be dangerous and even life-threatening.

Check Your Dog’s Kennel Regularly

Make sure to check your dog’s kennel regularly for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Repair any damage promptly to ensure your dog’s safety and comfort.

Other Considerations

Water-tight shelter

You’ll also want your dog’s outdoor kennel to be water-tight. After all, nothing will make your pup colder than if it gets wet in the winter. With snow, rain, and moisture from the air and ground, there are a lot of ways for water to seep into your dog’s outdoor shelter. 

An above-ground foundation or a raised floor will help keep the water from the ground out. Sealing the roof with tar paper or shingles could help keep rain and snow away from the inside of the kennel as well. Try not to cover it with a tarp, as you don’t want to stop air flow so your dog can breathe. 


It gets coldest at night, so it’s most important to make sure your dog is warm when it is asleep. This means that your dog’s bedding is among the most important parts of keeping it warm in an outdoor kennel. It is important to provide comfortable bedding, as a cold surface can take heat away from your dog’s body. 

Blankets and fabrics are okay but don’t do as well as something like straw, which will give a better buffer between your dog and the floor. Just remember to replace it when it is dirty, old, or wet!


It might not seem so on the surface, but your dog’s diet can also be a factor in keeping it warm during the winter months. It is important for dogs to keep their energy up in the colder months. This means that small, more frequent meals can be helpful, especially for puppies. 

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Make sure the food you’re giving your dogs is at least room temperature. If it’s cold, it won’t help them stay warm and will take more energy to digest. Try not to make it too hot though, as you don’t want to burn their mouths. 

What temperature is too cold for dogs?

You might be thinking that there is some temperature that is too cold for even the most resilient outdoor dogs. Well, it really depends. Just like you and I, different dogs have different tolerances for the cold. The breed also plays a big part, and breeds that originate from colder climates will perform better in the winter. 

There is no hard and fast temperature for bringing your dog inside or manually warming it up. Once it is below freezing, just keep an eye on your dog and watch for some of the signs that your dog is too cold, which we will discuss below. 

Signs your dog is too cold

If your dog is cold to an unhealthy degree, it will show some physical signs, just like a person. Watch out for any of the following: Shivering, not listening to commands or cues, refusing to move, curling up, and refusing to leave the kennel are all signs that your dog might be too cold. 

Remember, dogs not only need to be warm but also need to be with you! They are social creatures. So, although it might be nice to leave them to their own devices outdoors sometimes, make sure they are nice and warm with you indoors a lot of the time as well. 

Do coats and other clothing work well for dogs?

You might think they look silly, but coats and boots for dogs can be really helpful for keeping them warm in the winter. This is especially true of short-haired breeds, which have more trouble keeping body heat in and keeping cold out. 

Be careful though, with thicker-coated dogs, especially young and active ones, a coat can cause overheating. Do some research on your specific breed to see if a coat is something other owners recommend!

The dangers of keeping your dog outdoors

The dangers of keeping your pet outside are kind of obvious. From things like frostbite to freezing, there are plenty of dangers that make outdoor living in the winter difficult. Because of this, monitoring your dog’s health and behavior if it’s outside a lot in the winter is extremely important. 

The less acclimated to cold weather your breed is, the closer attention you have to pay. Huskies and other thick-coated winter dogs will do well, while dogs like Greyhounds might suffer from their thin coats and short hair. Make sure you are paying very close attention to your dog if you’re allowing it to stay outside to exercise, go to the bathroom, and play in the winter. 

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