Dog House Terminology

Outdoor Dog Houses

Outdoor dog houses may be made from a number of different materials including solid wood, plywood, plastic, metal and even stone. In terms of durability and cost, a solid wood dog house - preferably made from a rot-resistant wood like cedar or redwood - is hard to beat. Wood offers excellent insulation qualities, it is easy to mill and build with, and stands up to the elements quite well when properly protected.

Plastic dog houses are popular for some people because they are inexpensive and easy to move around the yard. However, their insulating properties are not as effective as those of wood so be careful of your dog overheating during the summer or becoming too cold in the winter. On the plus side, plastic dog houses are easier to clean than wooden ones - basically you just hose them out.

There are a few stationary metal dog houses on the market. They tend to be well built, typically with an insulated double wall design since metal by itself is not a very good insulator. More common are metal dog boxes. These are used as temporary dog homes for transporting dogs in the back of pick-up trucks and such. Aluminum and stainless steels are the metals of choice for metal dog boxes.

Some other miscellaneous tips for choosing and siting an outdoor dog house: get a dog house with a raised floor to provide an insulating dead space and to keep out the flood waters;  site the dog house in a sheltered area away from the direct sun and prevailing winds; make sure the house is big enough inside for the dog to comfortably enter, turn around, and lie down; and provide a door flap to keep out the cold winter winds.

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