Best Dog House Plans: Outdoor Dog Houses
The idea of indoor dog houses is not popular among most people nowadays. However, there are some cases where it’s necessary to keep your pet inside the house.
For example if you have small children or elderly parents who cannot care for their own animals properly anymore. You might need them to live indoors with you so they don’t get sick from germs or other dangers. So, you need to provide them with proper shelter.
If you’re looking for the best dog houses for outdoor use, then you’ll definitely want to check out these outdoor dog houses. These dog houses are designed especially for dogs and cats to enjoy the outdoors without getting too hot or cold.
They come in various sizes and shapes and can accommodate different breeds of dogs. Some of these designs include collapsible ones which make it easier to transport your furry friend around town or even across country.
You may also consider building your own outdoor dog house. If you’ve got the skills and materials, you could build one yourself.
But if not, you can always hire someone else to do it for you. There are plenty of online resources available that will allow anyone to learn how to build a DIY dog house for them. It doesn’t matter what you choose, as long as your pet is comfortable and has a safe place to sleep, you’ll be doing them a great service.
Best Dog House Plans: Indoor Dog Houses
Let’s be honest here. The primary reason why most people get an indoor dog house is because they don’t want dog hair, smell, and mess inside the main living quarters of their house.
Some people don’t have a choice though. For example, people who live in small apartments or condominiums can’t exactly have a dog wandering around inside their place. That’s why they need the best dog house plans for an indoor dog house so they can keep them indoors without it being detrimental to their well-being.
There are many types of dog houses you can build depending on what your needs are. If you just need a place to keep your dog out of the way and off the furniture, than a small plastic crate with a bed inside should be enough.
However, if you want a little more for them, you can get something like pet stairs that lead up to a platform where they can sleep. Really, the possibilities are endless when it comes to building an indoor dog house. You just have to use your imagination.
Things to Consider Before You Get a Dog House
Before you just run out and buy a prefabricated dog house or design and build your own, there are some things you should keep in mind. A lot of this may seem like common sense, but there’s no harm in being thorough.
For example, is your dog short haired or long haired?
If it’s long haired you’ll need to get a dog house that keeps them warmer than one that doesn’t.
Also, does your dog sleep outside in the winter?
If they do, they’re going to need something that keeps them very warm during the cold winter months.
Some Things to Keep in Mind:
Weight: If you’re going to be moving the dog house around or transporting it often, then weight may be a factor. Plastic and wood dog houses are usually lighter than metal and glass ones.
Insulation: What’s the purpose of the dog house? Is your dog just going to be using it for a bed or do you want to use it to keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter?
If the latter, then insulation may play a big part in which one you get.
Cost: If money isn’t an issue and you want the sturdiest and best material for your dog house, then go for it. On the other hand, if you’re on a budget then go with the cheaper option that’s still good quality.
Cleaning: How are you going to clean the dog house?
Some are easier than others. For example, if it’s a wooden house, you’ll want to make sure you oil it periodically to waterproof and paint it every once in awhile. On the other hand, plastic houses usually are wiped down with a cleaning agent and that’s about it.
Location: After you’ve gotten the perfect dog house, you’ve got to think about where you’re going to place it. Keep in mind, you’ll want to place it somewhere that your dog can easily get to and from home and that’s away from the busiest area of the house.
Also, if you’re keeping your dog outside make sure its climate appropriate and don’t leave them out in the rain or extremely hot or cold weather.
Benefits of Having a Dog House: There are a lot of benefits of having a dog house. Probably the main one is keeping them dry when it’s raining or snowing.
Another great thing about dog houses is that they provide an extra layer of protection from the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer. Another benefit is that it gives your dog a sense of their own space and privacy.
How to Build a Dog House: Building a dog house is actually not hard at all. If I can do it, anyone can.
All you need is the right tools and materials and you should be fine. Just follow these instructions and you’ll be done in no time.
What You’ll Need
Nail Punch (Optional)
Saw (Electric or Hand)
4 Pieces of 2″x4″ boards (8 feet in length; preferably Pressure treated)
Plywood (One sheet 4’x8′; I recommend the indoor/outdoor kind so that you don’t have to constantly paint it)
Rowlock or Finish Nails (2 pounds should do it)
Which Dog House is Best?
That’s up to you. If you’re going for aesthetics, then a cedar house is probably the way to go. It looks nice and it’s maintenance free. If you just want something functional that your dog can sleep in, then I’d go with a plastic or metal house since they’re easier to clean and keep the weather out.
Building the Dog House
So you’ve got all your supplies ready, now it’s time to build that dog house. Follow these instructions and you’ll have yourself a nice new home for your dog.
1. Start by laying out 2 of the 2″x4″s boards on the ground parallel to each other and then lay the other 2 on top at a 90 degree angle so it forms a small “room”.
2. Measure the plywood so that it fits exactly inside the 4 boards.
3. Cut out the holes for where the window and door will go.
I used a jigsaw for this, but you can use whatever you are most comfortable with. If you want to add a little flair like I did, then cut some curves in the wood around the hole.
This is completely optional though.
4. Now with a 2″x4″ positioned vertically, secure it into the corner of the frame.
This will add extra support for the door hole and window hole.
5. Cut out the door and window.
I used a jigsaw for this as well, but a handsaw would work just as well.
6. Measure and cut the vents.
These can be as simple or as complex as you want to make them. I just cut some triangles out near the top of the house but you can get really creative with it.
7. Place the plywood on top of the frame, making sure all the edges line up (the 2″x4″s).
8. The roof is optional, but I’m going to cover it here anyway.
This is where you need to decide if you want a hinged roof or a simple removeable one. For a hinged roof, all you need to do is take another piece of 2″x4″, position it over the top of the house and then nail/screw it in place.
If you want a removeable roof, then just cut some 2″x4″s so that they fit inside the top of the walls and then nail/screw them in place. You may want to add a piece of plywood between the top 2″x4″ and the roof to make a solid foundation for the roof to rest on.
9. For the floor, all you need to do is lay down some plywood and cut it to size.
10. Now you need to do something about the insulation.
If you live in a climate that gets really cold, then you’ll need to insulate. You can either use old blankets and pillows, or if you want to get fancy, you can buy some spray foam for insulation and spray it into the walls.
11. Time for the finishing touches.
You can either leave the house plain or you can paint it. If painting, you can use regular paint but it might peel over time due to rain getting in the house. To prevent this, you can first seal the house with a layer of caulking, then paint. Make sure you use weather resistant paint.
That’s pretty much it. Enjoy your new dog house!
In this article you can learn more about what goes into making a good dog house. However, we will not be focusing on the typical dog houses that you find in most yards.
Instead, we will be covering the insulated dog houses. If you are looking to provide your pet with adequate shelter then these houses are for you. They offer more protection from the elements and are great for keeping your pet cozy. If you’ve got the carpentry skills to build one then the materials list is smaller than that for a typical dog house. If not, you can always pay to have one custom built. Here’s what you’ll need for this project:
Of course, these are just rough estimates because different sizes will require different amounts of wood/cement/etc. but as long as you keep these broad categories the same, you’ll be fine.
The foundation is probably the most important aspect of these houses because they don’t want them to fall over. The good thing about these houses is that they are much smaller than a regular house and require less leverage to tip over so it’s actually easier to create a strong foundation than you might think.
Insulation is just as important as the foundation. The last thing you want is for your pet to be uncomfortable while they’re inside.
As such, you’re going to want to line the walls of the house with Styrofoam. This will help keep in the warmth in the house and keep out the cold. If you want to get fancy you can also add a heating system to keep it warm year round but that’s optional.
The roof is fairly straightforward. You can create it using either wood or metal as long as it’s strong enough to support the weight of the roof and your pet.
Walls are also fairly straightforward. You’re going to want to make them out of a material that won’t easily break or give away if your pet decides to run into it.
Concrete is a good, solid option but you can also use brick or stone. You’re also going to need to make sure that there are some air holes near the top to let out the heat from the insulation.
The door is probably the easiest part of this. All you have to do is cut a hole of the right dimensions and your pet will be able to walk in and out as they please.
This step isn’t mandatory but it’s highly encouraged. You’re going to want to put some sort of padding, whether it be a rug or a bed, in the house so that it’s comfortable for your pet.
Well, there you have it, those are the steps required to make an insulated dog house. Now all you have to do is find or make a suitable place to put it.
Insulated Dog House Plans
The following are some insulated dog house plans that you can try out. The one listed first is a popular choice and the second is good if you’re on a budget but still want your pet to be comfortable.
Option One: Cinder Block Insulated Dog House
This house is built using cinder blocks, plywood, and Styrofoam. You won’t have to do much work except for grabbing the materials and putting them together.
This is also fairly cheap to make and if you feel like getting extra Styrofoam you can just line the inside of the house as well.
Insulating concrete form (ICF)
Stabilizer Pro is optional but highly recommended
1. Begin by laying out your cinder blocks in the pattern that you want your house to be in.
The bigger the area the better but you probably want to stay away from making it too big given that this is going to be for a dog.
2. Take your plywood and nail it onto the cinder blocks.
This should form the basic outline of your house.
3. After the outline is done it’s time to add the Styrofoam.
You want to break up the 4′ by 8′ sheets into smaller pieces since you’re going to need a lot of it. Just insert them into the gaps between the plywood and cinder blocks then add another layer of plywood on top of that.
Keep adding layers like this until the walls are at least 5 inches thick. If you choose, you can also line the inside of the house with Styrofoam as well for extra comfort.
4. Once the walls are done its time to put a roof on.
Depending on how big your house is going to be you can cover it with tar paper first then shingles or you can just use the ICF. If you choose the second option lay down a layer of concrete inside then embed the sheets of Styrofoam into it.
Once that it set add another layer of concrete and embed the next sheet of Styrofoam. Keep layering the concrete and Styrofoam until you reach the desired roof thickness then cover it in tar paper and shingles.
5. After the roof is done it’s time to add a door.
You can either buy an aluminum phragm or make your own out of wood. If you go with the former just attach it to the house and you’re done.
To do the latter you’ll need to put together wooden frames and fill them with concrete. Once that it done just put the door into the opening you made and your house is complete.
6. Optional: You can add a window if you want.
If you choose to do this just follow the same directions as for the door but obviously use glass instead of concrete.
Also optional: You can add a concrete patio instead of or in addition to the wooden one. If you do it’ll be easier to clean out any animal waste that’s left behind.
Option Two: Wood and Vinyl Dog House
This dog house is made from wood and vinyl and should cost significantly less than the last one. It is also a little more customizable since you can choose the style, color, and material of the vinyl covering.
This is also probably more aesthetically pleasing to some people.
1-inch by 6-inch wood (this will be the framing)
Vinyl sheets (this is for the roof and walls)
Wood stain or paint depending on personal taste
1. Cut all of the framing to size.
Again this should be about 6 inches high, 12 inches wide, and whatever length you decide. Make sure the corners are square and that the edges are clean.
2. Add the vinyl.
We did this by first adding the roof pieces and stapling them on well. Once that was done we added the side wall panels and did the same.
Finally we added the floor panel and trimmed it so it fit flush with the walls. We then caulked all the panels together for a finished look.
3. Attach the walls to the roof using screws or nails.
4. Finish off any unfinished wood and your dog house is good to go.
Option Three: The “Cardboard Tube” Dog House
This is the cheapest, easiest to assemble, and fastest to make option. It doesn’t even require any tools (unless you want to put a wooden base under it).
It’s also the least sturdy and least attractive option. However, it’s still a functional dog house.
Cardboard (just the box, you can tape up the bottom)
1. Build the roof first by measuring two opposite sides of the box and cutting out a triangular wedge (so it looks like a pyramid).
2. Once that is done, measure the two uncut sides and cut out a second smaller triangular wedge so that it forms a pyramid.
3. Put the roof on the box and tape it into position.
4. Put cardboard walls on either side.
You can tape these to the roof or the bottom of the box, but you will need to add a door in at least one of them (for easy access).
Optional: At this point you can put siding on the outside of the house if you want. Duct tape edges to make it more sturdy.
HINT: If you are going to place this house on grass or dirt, we suggest putting a base under it (we used a small piece of wood). This helps keeps the house more stable and also keeps debris (and moisture) from getting underneath and causing rot.
5. Add a door (you can even frame it with wood first if you want to be fancy).
6. Place in your yard.
These are the blueprints for the three houses described above:
The dimensions provided should be accurate, but you may need to adjust them depending on the size of your dog (you want at least half an inch clearance on each side).
Note: You can also frame these houses with wood if you want to make them look nicer. This will also help you with the stapling/nailing part of the instructions.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, building a dog house doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. If you already have the tools around your home and the lumber isn’t too pricey, all three of these houses together should not cost you more than $40 and you can always scale down the size of them if you’re on a tight budget (especially if you’re using scrap wood).
If you decide to go with Option 1 from above then the price would obviously be more than $40, but these are still very affordable and should be strong enough to last several years.
You can always modify these plans if you want to create something different. Be creative!
If you end up building a dog house, whether it’s one of those described above or your own design, please share some photos and your experience with all of us here!
If you want something a little more elaborate (and expensive) or need something ready-made, be sure to have a look through our Dog Houses section.
Sources & references used in this article:
Man’s best friend? The effect of pet ownership on house dust microbial communities by KE Fujimura, CC Johnson, DR Ownby… – The Journal of allergy …, 2010 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Football helmet dog house by SN Zagar – US Patent App. 29/313,264, 2010 – Google Patents
Baseball helmet dog house by SN Zagar – US Patent App. 29/314,629, 2010 – Google Patents
For the love of a dog: Understanding emotion in you and your best friend by P McConnell – 2009 – books.google.com
Man meets dog by K Lorenz – 2002 – books.google.com
Folding dog house by FM Hatcher – US Patent 3,280,796, 1966 – Google Patents
Animal house by JA Capaul – US Patent 2,445,055, 1948 – Google Patents
Portable dog house by T Dunn – US Patent 4,195,593, 1980 – Google Patents