Now that winter is upon us, most people wonder whether their dog is warm enough at night. This is particularly more important if you have a large, hunting dog breed that is usually kept outdoors. As a word of caution: always bring your dog indoors if it gets too cold. And if you plan to keep your dog in the garage or the patio, do invest in a heated dog house. Of course, you must still make sure that your dog is warm enough at night, especially when the temperatures plummet in their teens. Check on your pet from time to time and make sure he has plenty of fresh drinking water available along with warm bedding.
In this guide, we will consider some of the best heated dog houses along with some tips to you’re your dog warm in winters, inside and outside.
Dogs and winters
Dogs depend on body heat to keep themselves warm. Since most garages and sheds are not always well-insulated and heated, they can get too cold, wet, drafty, and damp for dogs, especially in peak winters. If you do not have an easy garage-yard setup, it is best to bring your pet indoors. You can also invest in housing options for your pet, such as crates, barrels, high-impact-plastic houses, and wooden dog houses.
No dog, no matter what breed it is, should be left outdoors when the temperatures plummet into single digits. Animals can suffer frostbite on the ears, paws, scrotum, and may even develop hypothermia. There are some dogs in the far north, especially huskies, which are known to be kept outdoors even during peak winters. However, there have been cases where pet owners have brought the dogs indoors and the snow in their fur melted into water. This water then re-froze when the dog was sent back outside. Unfortunately, these dogs froze to death and such tragedies could have been easily prevented. So always keep an eye on your dog and it is best to bring him inside.
How to keep your dog warm in winters
Feed him additional calories
Dogs need more calories to keep themselves warm in the winter. So feed him nutritious dog food (speak to your vet regarding the best dog food that can cover your pet’s extra calorie needs). You need not change your dog food brand; simply keep a watch. If your pet demands extra food, make sure you feed him. Also, keep plenty of fresh drinking water handy. Remember, water can turn icy when kept outdoors, so check on your pet’s drinking water supply from time to time.
Use heating pads
In addition to providing a thick and warm dog bed inside the dog house, you can also keep a heating pad in the garage or anywhere else where your dog sleeps. Garage floors tend to get very cold in winters; a soft heating pad is ideal for providing your pet with much-needed warmth. Dog heating pads can be easily plugged into an electrical unit; they auto-switch off once they reach certain temperatures and also re-start again when they cool down.
Keep him away from drafts
If your pet sleeps in the garage, make sure it is well-insulated from cold wind drafts. Take a walk around the garage to ensure there are no drafts coming in. Place your pet’s bedding away from doors. If possible, seal all cracks and vents (but do ensure that the garage is well-ventilated). Check your pet from time to time to ensure if he is warm enough at night. If you feel it is too cold in the garage, do not hesitate to bring him indoors.
Exercise your pet
Wintertime does not mean that your dog should remain cooped up indoors. Here are some tips to exercise your dog in winters:
- Run or walk around with your pet and get your children to play a game of ‘fetch’ him. You can also keep him busy indoors with simple, fun activities. Exercise will help warm up your pet and also keep up his spirits.
- Take your pet out for a brief stroll, but always on a leash. Dogs tend to lose their sense of smell after heavy snowfall and they could lose their way back home.
- Make sure his paws are protected from the salt and icy pavements.
- You can use scarves, sweaters, and booties to keep your dog warm on winter walks.
- Check your buddy’s paws after coming home. Sometimes, the skin can develop cracks and accumulate ice balls. Trim the fur in between his paws to prevent ice accumulation.
- After returning back from a walk, wipe down your pet’s underbelly and paws. City dogs tend to accumulate anti-freeze and salt deicers that are harmful, even toxic, for your pet.
Watch out for signs of hypothermia
Excess shivering, whining, whimpering, burrowing, lethargy, lack of appetite and fever indicate that a dog is sick or suffering from hypothermia. If you suspect hypothermia, please take your dog to a vet right away.
Dog houses and kennels
For outdoor dogs, dog houses and kennels are a good way to keep your pet warm. Place plenty of blankets and towels inside the dog house for warmth. Use heaters, heating pads, or heating lights to keep your pet comfortable.
Here are some of the most popular heated dog houses for your pet.
Suncast outdoor dog house for small to large-sized dogs
- This beautiful dog house is easy to assemble and can be placed in the yard or patio.
- It is made with heavy-duty resin and has an all-weather flooring to protect your pet from harsh weather.
- The assembly is pretty simple; the house comes in a compact box and all you need to do is snap the pieces together.
- Suncast dog house also comes with a door for extra protection for your pet.
- Easy to assemble; no extra tools or materials needed
- Value for money
- Durable and sturdy; washes well
- Destructive or large dogs can easily tear this house up
- May not be suitable for very harsh winters. You will need to buy some insulating material along with a heated kennel mat to keep your pet warm.
Petmate Igloo dog house
- Petmate Igloo dog houses come in three different sizes.
- They have a heavy-duty construction. These all-weather dog houses will keep your pets safe in all kinds of weather, hot and cold..
- The house has an extended doorway which helps keep pets dry during the rains. It also comes with a roof ventilation system for airflow.
- Petmate dog products have been around for decades. They are eco-friendly and all products are manufactured in the US.
- This dog house is made from antimicrobial material that prevents the buildup of bacteria and fungi and also prevents discoloration due to the elements.
- You need to buy the heating pad separately
- It has a strong plastic odor that some pets dislike.
- Size could be an issue; the doorway is too small for some breeds.
PetsFit outdoor dog house
PetsFit dog house comes in three sizes and two different colors.
- The dog house from PetsFit is sturdy and weatherproof. It will keep your pet dry and warm in winters and cool in summers.
- PetsFit dog house is made with kiln-dried cedar which prevents bacteria, mold, and discoloration or staining.
- The bottom floor of the dog house is easily removable for cleaning. The top also comes off so you can easily change your pet’s bedding.
- Easy assembly. The unit comes with pre-drilled holes.
- A weatherproof house that looks great on your patio, deck, or yard
- Wood is flimsy and prone to cracks and breaks.
- The dog house also needs to be re-painted.