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With the coldest days of the year just ahead, it’s important to consider how extreme temperatures will affect your dog. If you have a dog such as a husky or malamute who can tolerate, and even enjoy, colder temperatures, you might be considering a heated dog house to keep her extra cozy.
While no dog should be left outdoors for prolonged periods of time in freezing weather, dogs must go outside in winter for a variety of reasons, and there are a range of heated dog houses to shelter them before they are ready to come inside and cozy up by the fire with you.
We’ve collected a handful of heated dog house styles for you to consider as you begin your search, but first, let’s look at the reasons why a heated dog house might be a good idea for your dog.
Some breeds such as huskies and malamutes were bred to be working dogs in cold climates, and in general, these breeds tolerate winter weather well.
Other breeds with thin or single-layer coats, or shorter legs who are closer to the ground, such as corgis or basset hounds, will be much more vulnerable to the cold.
Regardless of what kind of dog you have, it’s important, and often the law, that they have a safe, dry, and warm place to shelter if they’re spending prolonged periods of time outside during the winter. A heated dog house can help.
When constructed soundly and properly, heated dog houses can:
- Protect your dog against wind, rain, snow, and other extreme winter weather
- Provide interim shelter for dogs not yet ready to come inside on a potty or exercise break
- Extend your dog’s outside time by breaking up long periods spent indoors, which is believed to help with the effects of seasonal affective disorder
It’s important to construct and insulate your heated dog house as directed, and to make sure it’s in a place where it won’t take in rain or snow, which could prevent your pet from using it. If your heated dog house runs on electricity, you need to make sure your outlets are up to code, and regularly check that the dog house components are functioning properly. A dog house heat pad or furnace that’s too hot or not warm enough may also prevent your pet from using the dog house, which could potentially expose your pet to the extreme elements of winter and threaten their health and safety.
Another thing to keep in mind is that some heated dog houses use electricity to generate warmth, while others are insulated against the cold; we feature both styles here, but you’ll want to shop for the one with the features that are best for your specific needs, most importantly, the needs that will benefit your dog!
When we went looking for the best heated dog houses, we were surprised at the lack of quality and durable options available. After countless hours spent researching and comparing available options, we feel confident suggesting only this small handful, along with a few related accessories.
Keep in mind there’s no substitute for the safety and comfort that the shelter of your own home provides your dog (not to mention surplus opportunities for cozy snuggles, too), and per our sources linked above, are suggested as fun winter playhouses for your pet.
This sturdy, insulated dog house comes with its own built-in floor heater and is stuffed with up to 4 inches of foam insulation throughout its paneling.
A built-in thermostat self-adjusts to a safe, moderate temperature for your pet. When assembled, the size is 30.5″H x 24″W x 35.5″ L, which reviews indicate accommodate dogs from 50-100 pounds.
Features and style notes:
- Available in gray or brown color options
- Built-in door window
- Sloped floor with drain for easy cleaning
This wood cabin lookalike is a stylish insulated dog house that can hold dogs up to 154 pounds.
Its weather-resistant insulated panels combine timber, styrofoam, and plywood for better heat retention than standard plywood, and the floor of the house is raised 2 inches off the ground, to keep heat from escaping and to keep it elevated and protected from the elements.
Things to keep in mind:
- While the plastic door flaps help with wind chill, they will be tempting to chewers
- Roof closes but doesn’t latch or lock; you might want to reinforce it with screws
- For extra warmth, consider adding a heated dog pad or bed
These two items, sold separately, can be used together to create a heated dog house system. The classic igloo-style wind shielding plastic dog house is available in a range of sizes (from “medium” to “giant”); if you were to get the large size dogloo, the heated dog bed featured here, size large (with dimensions of 17.5-inches by 30-inches) would fit.
Things to keep in mind:
- Igloo dome provides basic shelter from wind and rain, but not from the cold
- Rounded shape helps keep house stable in winds
- Heated dog bed comes with a one-year limited warranty
If you have an existing dog house that you are looking to equip with a source of heat, consider this budget-friendly electric furnace.
It can be used to heat small or large dog houses, and is rated to heat spaces up to 75 cubic feet. An internal heat shield protects wiring components, and a 3-prong, grounded cord plugs into any standard outlet.
As dog houses come in all shapes, sizes, and styles, the manufacturer of this product strongly recommends using this furnace on insulated dog houses with a door or flap for best retention of heat.
- Adjustable thermostat with three settings: high, medium, and low, for a temperature range of 30 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Constructed of strong, powder-coated steel
- 8-foot long cord is chew-resistant with a stainless steel spring cover
- One year limited warranty covers manufacturer defects
This orthopedic foam heated pad is a great way to warm up an insulated dog house that doesn’t have its own heat source.
The pad is covered in waterproof PVC material for indoor and outdoor use, comes with a removable fleece cover for extra coziness, and is offered in small, medium, and large sizes depending on your needs.
The cord is 5 1/2 feet and steel wrapped for safety and durability and operates at a reasonable voltage (as all heated dog houses and beds should) at 60 watts.
(Ed. note: If you’re looking for a reliable, but no-frills dog heating mat, we recommend this style; it’s great for active dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors as it cleans up easily and can stand up to heavy use from energetic dogs, tried and tested by the editor of this piece, who kept it plugged in on her covered porch so her dog could be outside when she went to work.)
- Fleece cover is easily removed and machine washable
- The thermostat is designed to adjust to your pet’s body temperature, so you never have to adjust or modify the temperature
- One-year limited warranty
Related articles as you and your dog navigate these coldest months of the year.
- Dog Hypothermia: Prevention and Treatment
- 9 Must-Have Items for Walking Your Dog in a Winter Wonderland
- The Ultimate Guide to Getting Cozy with Your Dog (and Cat)