What Is the Best Dog House for Cold Weather?

Dog houses offer outstanding protection for your dog from the elements, like in the cold months of winter. They help regulate your dog’s body temperature efficiently, whether they are young, old, furry, or not. 

Make sure you have a dog house in your yard so your dog can still enjoy the outdoors in all kinds of weather.

But what is the best dog house for cold weather? 

Choosing the right dog house is crucial to helping our dogs feel comfortable and warm as they weather through the bitter cold.

We share with you the important features to look for when choosing a dog house for cold weather, and the best winter dog houses we recommend!

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dog house for cold weather

When Is It Too Cold for Dogs to Stay Outside?

Temperatures at or above 45°F will generally not require your dog to stay warm outdoors. 

But when the temperature falls below that, certain breeds with short coats and little to no undercoat and body fat may get uncomfortable and will need protection. 

The same goes for puppies and senior dogs.

Here are some dog breeds that do not tolerate the cold weather very well.

  • Boxer
  • Beagle
  • Bulldog
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • French Bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound
  • Pug
  • Rottweiler.

Dogs that have existing medical conditions may also not be able to regulate their body temperature well.

Once the temperature drops below 20°F, we recommend keeping your dog indoors and being more aware of their well-being. Start looking for signs that your dog is too cold, such as shivering, whining, slowing down, or acting anxious.

Even if the temperature is above 20°F but they’re already starting to hold up a paw or more and looking uncomfortable, it’s probably already a good time to head inside and warm up.

A natural way for your dog to stay warm in the winter is to provide them with more frequent meals that are larger.

The calories from these meals can be used more efficiently throughout the day for body heat. 

Important Features of a Dog House for Cold Weather 

Any company that builds dog houses can just put together pieces of wood or plastic, cover it in cute paint, and start marketing them. But not all dog houses are made equally. 

You need a high-quality house for your dog during the cold weather to ensure their safety and comfort.

When it comes to using a dog house during winter, here are some things you need to consider.

A dog house should keep your dog dry. 

If your dog gets wet and cold, they can get sick. So, make sure that any dog house you purchase has a solid roof that does not leak. 

Look for one that is well sealed and will not let water get in through joins at the roof and the door.

It allows your dog to enter and exit easily. 

This will help them feel comfy so they can get through the door easily. Because if they have trouble doing so, they will have second thoughts entering it, leaving them exposed to the elements. 

Compare the measurements of your dog’s height and the door entry before buying a dog house.

You also want to consider the positioning of the door on the dog house. Doors at the side of a house, as opposed to the center, can be useful for keeping the elements out and body heat in.

It should be able to block the wind. 

Your dog will feel colder if the wind blows into their abode, just like you do if your house has a draft. Moisture is not the only thing that will give them chills! 

Guarantee that the dog house has no large gaps and your fur baby can avoid the wind blowing in the door. 

Try double plastic flap doors since they can keep the cold out and the warm air in.

The dog house should provide them with enough space. 

Your dog should be able to lay comfortably inside their house, but don’t make it too large that they get too cold. 

The smaller the house, the warmer it will be. It should be just the right size to allow them to stand, sit, and lay down without being cramped.

It should have adjustable feet to raise it off the ground. 

Dog houses that sit directly on the ground rot more quickly than those with elevated feet because they absorb moisture from the surface they are sitting on. 

They also absorb the cold this way. Adjustable legs will allow you to keep the house level on uneven ground. 

Choosing a house without feet will require you to put a piece of thick plastic under the house as a moisture barrier.

Or to make your own base to lift it off the ground.

It should be sturdy and safe. 

The house should not collapse especially during the cold winter nights. You don’t want your dog to be injured if it falls on them. Prioritize craftsmanship for durability when choosing a doghouse. 

Wood dog houses are usually more expensive, attractive, and realistic looking. They may need more refinishing to stay preserved during certain weather conditions. 

Meanwhile, plastic dog houses are more affordable, lighter, and easier to move around. Unlike wooden dog houses, they don’t require refinishing to protect from the elements.

Best Dog Houses for Cold Weather

It’s generally better to let your dog stay indoors when the temperatures dip. But if you still want them to spend some time outside, here are three of our favorite dog houses for the cold weather.

PetsFit Dog House

PetsFit offers five sizes and three colors for their wooden dog house. One of its best features is the slanted roof that helps to keep water and snow from building up on top of the house. 

It’s also waterproof because of its natural cedar material, so you don’t have to worry about the moisture getting in.

Even though the walls are not airtight and may not provide the utmost insulation, we still love it because of the elevated feet that are adjustable, keeping the dog house away from the snow or wet ground. 

There is also a door flap to keep your dog safe and warm inside.

Suncast Dog House

This beautiful and easy-to-assemble dog house from Suncast can house small to large-sized dogs in your backyard during the winter! 

It’s made of heavy-duty and waterproof resin to provide sufficient protection against the cold elements. It’s also helpful in the summer months because it has air vents built into its design.

Although it does not have adjustable feet, the floor is crowned for your fur baby to stay warm inside. 

It’s not only stylish, but it’s also built to last because of the sturdy walls, roof, and the customizable vinyl door that offers additional security and insulation for your pooch.

This dog house is also easy to clean because the dust and dirt won’t hold on to the resin material.

Pets Imperial Dog Kennel

This wooden dog house from Pets Imperial looks stylish and is designed to last throughout your dog’s life! Although it is not available in various sizes, it guarantees to keep your dog comfy and cozy during the cold winter nights.

All its panels are insulated with the use of timber, styrofoam, and plywood board. In fact, claims to be 150% thicker than other kennels, which is why we think it’s our favorite of the three. 

Despite being exposed to rain, snow, wind storms, and even extreme heat, this dog house will stand strong.

It also has a raised floor to let the air circulate under the house, avoiding moisture! 

A small downside to this dog house is its door. They use flaps instead of a self-closing fitted door. Still, its overall quality is better than the rest!

FAQs About Dog Houses for Cold Weather 

Can I Install a Heater in My Dog House?

You can safely install heaters inside or right outside your dog’s house.

Opt for one that is encased in a protective housing to make sure that your dog stays safe without their skin or hair being burnt by accident.

Can I Install a Heating Pad in My Dog House?

Yes! Feel free to put a heating kennel pad under your dog’s bedding inside the dog house. It will give them extra warmth outdoors.

But don’t put heated dog beds in their house since these are only for indoor use.

Does a Dog House Come Assembled?

These dog houses do not come assembled. However, all of them have pre-drilled holes to make your task easier.

Do the Wooden Dog Houses Need to Be Varnished to Be Weather-Proof?

You don’t have to anymore since the materials are already enough to provide good insulation, but you may still apply varnish if you want to.

It will look better and make it even more durable.

Keep Your Dog Warm and Comfy!

If your dog spends a lot of time outside despite the chilly weather, a dog house is a needed addition to their life. Dog houses provide refuge from the elements so they can stay comfortable and warm when outside. 

When buying a dog house for the cold weather, make sure to follow our guidelines. It should be sturdy, just the right size, and offer features like elevated feet, water-resistant materials, and more.

Try the Pets Imperial Dog Kennel! It will keep your dog comfy and warm during the cold weather with its insulated panels that are 150% thicker than others.

You can also see our recommendations for the best fleece dog coats here.