Heating for Dogs

Heating for Dog houses

Dog houses are intended to provide your dog with temporary shelter, which may just be from a shower of rain in the spring or fall or possibly shade in the hot weather during the summer.

Winter however may give you cause for concern about your dog staying warm once the winter weather hits.

So, what is the best way to heat a doghouse? Heating a doghouse involves two major considerations: adding a source of heat and keeping the heat inside.

Heat sources can include heat lamps, heating pads, heated dog beds, and other options. Keeping the heat inside involves adding insulation, covering openings with doors or flaps, and sealing areas where heat may escape.

The other factor you need to pay attention to is safety, especially when using electrical appliances. Use the following guide to learn how to heat a doghouse safely and keep your dog warm.

How to Choose the Best Heating for a Dog house

A heated doghouse needs some type of appliance or product that creates heat. Common solutions include:

  • Heat lamps
  • Heating panels
  • Heating pads
  • Heated dog beds

Before you purchase a heating device, you should consider how much heat you need. Most dogs remain comfortable at temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

Dogs will typically start seeking shelter when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7.22 degrees Celsius). Freezing temperatures are likely to cause discomfort and temperatures of 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-6.66 degrees Celsius) may cause frostbite and hypothermia.

An uninsulated wooden dog kennel, doghouse, or small shed should stay roughly about 10 to 20 degrees warmer compared to the outdoor temperature assuming that there are no draughts.

If temperatures in your area stay above freezing, you may not need a heat source. A little extra insulation to the walls, floor and roof along with covers for the openings should keep your pet reasonably comfortable.

If temperatures tend to drop below freezing during the winter such as heavy frosts or snow, then you really must consider using one of the following solutions to heat the dog house we listed above and below we have given you more detail below.

Heating Lamp for Dogs

A cheap method often used by dog breeders is a Heat lamp. Heat lamps are often used to incubate chicken eggs or keep reptile habitats warm. However, you can also use a heat lamp to keep a dog house warm.

Did you know that heat lamps produce a very safe infrared radiation. So safe in fact that they are now being used in sauna’s.

The infrared radiation creates radiant heat, which warms nearby objects, including your dog. Most heat lamps use replaceable infrared light bulbs and resemble light fixtures.

For example, the EBENACEAE Chicken Coop Heater comes with a 250-watt bulb. A heat lamp is one of the most effective ways to heat a doghouse. A 250-watt bulb can maintain incredibly warm temperatures in a doghouse with no insulation.

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Safety Features come as Standard

Importantly it comes with a safety cage, 2 meters of chain to hang it, 2 meters of power cord, a multi-blade radiator to help deflect any overheating and a High/Low switch. Just plug it in and your good to go.

For comparison, a 150-watt bulb maintains a temperature of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit at 6 inches and 95 degrees Fahrenheit at 18 inches.

Due to the amount of heat produced by an infrared bulb, you need to ensure that the doghouse offers enough space.

The light fixture includes a high/low switch to adjust the temperature. However, the low setting may still produce too much heat if it is placed too close to the ground.

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The bulb itself can also become extremely hot and cause injuries when touched. It needs to be kept out of your dog’s reach to prevent injuries and avoid overheating.

A height of 24 inches above your pet’s sleeping area is recommended.

Heaters for outdoor Dog houses

Add Heating Panels to Heat an Outdoor Dog House.

Instead of a heat lamp, you can try using a heating panel. Most heating panels are rectangular devices that stand vertically and can often be fixed to a wall to ensure they can not be knocked over.

As with heat lamps, heat panels rely on radiant heating. As the panel warms, the warmth is transferred to cooler objects and pets.

They come in a variety of sizes and prices so here are two options, including a mid-priced heating panel and a premium heating panel.

Cozy Products Pet Warmer Radiant Heating Panel

For around $40 The Cozy Products Pet Warmer Radiant Heating Panel is a top recommendation due to its simple design. The sleek black panel does not include any exposed heating elements that your dog may try to lick or chew.

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A radiant heating panel is another good mid-range option. It is not the cheapest heating source but offers a cost-effective way to heat the interior of a doghouse.

The Cozy Products heating panel costs less than $40 and measures 19 x 13 inches. The base is about 5.8 inches wide. It takes up minimal space but emits enough heat to quickly warm up a large doghouse.

Alternatively the FIADA Flat Panel Chicken Coop Heater

The FIADA Electric Panel Heater is better suited for larger doghouses compared to the Cozy Products heating panel. It is another freestanding heating panel that relies on radiant heat. It uses only 100 to 200 watts of power and can heat up to 167 degrees Fahrenheit.

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It includes a three-meter power cord and brackets for installing it in a wall. It also features an automatic shutoff, overheating protection, and a built-in thermostat.

The FIADA Electric Panel Heater is made for chicken coops but suitable for use with dogs and cats. It has a front panel and a back panel.

The heater does not have any exposed heating coils, making it safe for all animals.

Keep in mind that you need to power these devices. The heating panels use standard AC plugs, requiring access to an outlet.

Heating Pad for Dogs Bed

Dog kennel heating using a heating pad or a heated dog bed is recommended for those that want a budget solution.

However, make sure that any bedding that you choose is intended for outdoor use. Standard dog beds are more likely to attract fleas and become mildewy from the cool, humid environment.

Using a heating pad or heated dog bed provides a warm spot for your dog to sleep and may eliminate the need for another heat source. Here are four great choices.

AKOZON USB Heating Pad

The AKOZON USB Heating Pad costs just over $15, making it a great choice for those with a budget. It measures 9.4 x 11.8 inches and includes a heating pad covered in a soft, washable cover.

The heating pad is powered using a USB cable. It requires a 5V 2A power source, allowing you to use it with a portable power bank. You can get a two-pack of power banks and swap out the chargers as needed.

The one drawback is the size of the heating pad. It may not work well for large breeds of dogs.

NICREW Pet Heating Pad

The NICREW Pet Heating Pad is a step up from the previous recommendation. It is a heated dog bed and is available in two different sizes to suit dogs of any breed.

However, it generates more heat and comes in larger sizes.

The important aspect here is that this is waterproof and thus is safe for use outdoors.

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You can choose from a 17.7 x 15.7-inch pad and a 27.5 x 15.7-inch pad. Unlike the cheaper heating pad, the NICREW heated dog bed includes a layer of soft PVC material covered with a fleece shell. You can remove the fleece cover to wash it as necessary.

Instead of a USB power cord, the NICREW pad includes an AC power plug. The cord is chew-resistant. However, you need access to an electrical outlet to use this option.

K&H Pet Products Original Lectro-Kennel Heated Pad

The K&H heated pad is comparable to the PETNF heating pad but available in larger sizes. While it costs more, it has a more durable design and a 5.5-foot steel-wrapped cord.

The pad also comes with a removable, washable fleece cover and is rated for indoor or outdoor use. The manufacturer also suggests attaching it to a wall, allowing your dog to rest against it instead of directly on top of it.

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The pad includes an internal thermostat that automatically adjusts the heat setting to match your pet’s normal body temperature. It is a safe, easy heating solution for those with a little more to spend.


The PARTYSAVING PET Bed is a self-heating mat and a top choice for doghouses without electricity. You also avoid the need for power banks. The self-heating pad includes a soft outer pouch with a foil insulator inside. The material reflects the pet’s heat without the need for power.

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The self-heating pet pad measures 24 x 17 inches and weighs less than a pound. It also costs about the same as the previous heating pads, making it a cost-effective solution.

Insulate a Doghouse to Keep the Heat Inside

The heating sources discussed are budget and mid-range choices for quickly heating a doghouse. If you have a little extra money to spend, you may want to consider insulating the interior of the doghouse.

A standard doghouse is made from 3/4-inch-thick plywood and may be covered with siding material. However, the plywood and siding alone do not help keep the heat inside. Instead of plywood, some doghouses are made from plastic. Plastic is a poor insulator, requiring additional thermal protection for a doghouse.

Without insulation, the heat source comes less efficient and may not maintain a comfortable temperature. Here are a few methods for increasing thermal protection:

  • Add insulation to a doghouse
  • Cover the openings with flaps
  • Raise the doghouse off the ground
  • Add a metal roof to the doghouse
  • Add carpeting or a rug

You should also choose the right location for the doghouse. Place it in an area that receives direct sunlight during a portion of the day. The sunlight helps heat the doghouse, especially if you use some of the following methods.

Add Insulation to a Doghouse

Adding insulation is necessary if you want to maintain warmer temperatures. Most of the heat that you generate escapes without adequate insulation. Almost any type of insulation designed for homes is also suitable for a doghouse.

Common options include:

  • Fiberglass or mineral wool insulation
  • Fiberglass board insulation
  • Radiant barriers or foil
  • Expanding foam spray

You can combine multiple types of insulation for increased thermal protection. For example, adding a radiant barrier followed by batt insulation or a rigid board is a common configuration.

No matter what options you choose, you should cover the insulation with plywood or plastic. Plywood offers a little more insulation compared to plastic and should hold up longer.

Batt insulation is the most used type of insulation in residential properties. It is made of fiberglass or mineral wool and is available in rolls.

Lynn Manufacturing offers rolls of ceramic fiberglass insulation for less than $20 per roll. Each roll measures 12 x 24 x 1 inches, requiring several rolls to line the inside of the typical doghouse.

Fiberglass board, or rigid board, is another option for insulating a doghouse. It comes in rectangular sheets but tends to cost more compared to the other options. You may spend close to $100 on a 12-pack of 24 x 48-inch fiberglass boards.

Rigid fiberglass boards are often used in areas with high temperatures, such as ductwork for HVAC systems. It is also an effective insulator for doghouses. It comes in boards that you can easily cut to size and install on the insides of the walls and roof.

Aluminum foil insulation is often used as a radiant barrier. It is also called thermal insulation. The reflective material helps block heat from escaping and can be used in walls and roofing.

You can get 1000 square feet of HOUSEABLES Radiant Barrier Insulation for less than $150. The large roll needs to be cut to size and stapled against the wood frame inside the doghouse.

Expanding foam offers fuller coverage compared to the previous forms of insulation. The foam expands after you spray it. However, covering an entire wall is difficult and time-consuming. The expanding foam works best as a filler.

Use one of the previous choices to cover the walls or roof and then use the foam to fill in the gaps and cracks. The TITE FOAM Insulating Foam Sealant costs less than $10 and is easy to apply.

Cover the Openings with Flaps

Many doghouses have large entrances and one or two windows. The openings expose the interior to the outside elements. Imagine leaving your front door wide open throughout winter.

If you live in an area with below-freezing temperatures, you may want to cover the openings with vinyl flaps. Buying a vinyl kennel door online is the most convenient option. Make sure that the door you choose fits the opening of the doghouse.

The cheapest option is to cut a sheet of vinyl to fit the entrance. The vinyl door should overlap the opening by an inch or two. After cutting a rectangular covering, cut three or four vertical flaps to make it easier for your dog to enter and exit. Staple the top of the door to the inside of the doghouse.

Raise the Doghouse Off the Ground

Raising a doghouse off the ground makes it easier to maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the year. Creating a gap of a few inches below the floor of the doghouse allows air to circulate.

Luckily, many doghouse designs include elevated platforms. If the doghouse you choose is not elevated, you can easily modify the frame by using longer posts.

The air circulation helps keep the doghouse cool during the summer. You also create a space for adding more insulation in the winter. Stuff the gap with hay or straw for a barrier between the cold soil and the doghouse.

If you add a natural insulator, such as hay or straw, remove it at the end of the season. As the weather warms, the insulation may become moldy and attract pests such as fleas.

Add a Metal Roof to a Doghouse

Using a metal roof can help keep a structure warm during colder weather. Metal absorbs more heat from the sun throughout the day. The heat is transferred to the attic of the doghouse, which is where most of the heat tends to escape.

Metal roofs also tend to shed snow. Snow and ice should slide right off instead of weighing down the roof. Keeping snow off the roof also reduces the risk of leaks and increases the life of the doghouse.

Add Carpeting or a Rug to the Floor

Carpeting and rugs provide additional insulation for the floor. Adding carpet remnants or a thick rug is especially beneficial if the doghouse rests on the ground. The carpet or rug creates an extra barrier between the soil and your pet.

Purchase an Insulated Doghouse

If any of the previous options sound like too much work, consider buying a premade doghouse with the features that you need. The PETSFIT Dog Kennel includes a weatherproof asphalt roof and thick insulated walls.

The doghouse is raised and includes plastic feet for keeping the moisture out. The feet are also adjustable for ensuring that the floor is level and at the right height.

The walls and frame are made from dried solid wood that is treated with a natural color stain. The holes are also pre-drilled for easier assembly. The front of the doghouse includes a single opening, but it is covered with a vinyl door flap.

The PETSFIT doghouses come in different sizes, including a 96 x 61 x 70-centimeter option. The cost is above $100, but you should not need to worry about adding insulation or modifying the design to retain more heat.

If you are worried about the indoor temperature of the doghouse, you can still add one of the small heating devices, such as a heating pad or heating panel.

Additional Tips for Doghouses in the Winter

Along with a heat source and insulation, you can take extra steps to keep your dog comfortable during the winter. For example, you can use a heated dog bowl to keep the water from freezing.

The NAMSAN Heated Pet Bowl includes an anti-bite cable and holds up to two liters of water. It also includes an automatic power-off feature to prevent overheating.

If you already have access to electricity for a heat lamp, heat panel, or heated dog bed, you can easily add the heated water bowl. It is rated for outdoor use, allowing you to place it outside the doghouse. It can even rest on the snow without the risk of shorting.

You should also ensure that the doghouse is large enough for your dog. A smaller doghouse is easier to heat, but your dog needs enough space to move around.

A common recommendation is to build the doghouse 25% longer than your dog’s length. The width of the doghouse should be at least 10% larger than your dog’s length.

For example, if your dog measures 20 inches from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail, the doghouse should be at least 25 x 22 inches.

Pay Attention to Safety When Heating a Doghouse

Many of the heating options discussed require electricity. Depending on the location of the doghouse, you may need to run an electrical line to the structure and add an outlet. Always hire a professional to handle any electrical work.

Cover any insulating material that is not safe for your dog to ingest. Dogs may eat or chew on exposed material, such as foam board insulation, radiant barriers, or batt insulation. Some products contain chemicals that may be harmful when ingested.

You should also avoid overheating the doghouse. If you typically experience mild winters, you may not need insulation or vinyl flaps. A heating pad or heat panel can offer warmth for your dog without heating the entire interior.


Keeping a doghouse warm during the winter ensures that your dog stays comfortable and safe. However, it is also easy to overheat a small doghouse.

In most cases, you should not need to fully insulate a doghouse and add a heating source. You do not need to keep the interior at room temperature, as dogs can handle colder temperatures. The goal should be to keep the temperatures well above freezing, which may only require one or two products.

Choosing the right options depends on whether you have electrical access. If you have an outdoor outlet, you have more options for heating the doghouse. You can use a heating panel, heating pad, or heat lamp.

If you do not have electricity, focus on insulating the doghouse. Add insulation in the walls and roof to help keep the heat inside. You can also add the self-heating dog pad to redirect your dog’s heat.

In the end, if you want to avoid adding insulation or finding the right heater, you can purchase a prefabricated doghouse with insulated walls, raised flooring, and door flaps.