How to build a do-it-yourself doghouse

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on Dot2.

Whether your dog sheds a lot or you need to keep him out of the house for a few days while someone with allergic visits, a kennel is an ideal place for your dog. While you could buy one at the store, building your own allows you to pamper your furry friend and create their ideal space.

With that in mind, let’s find out the steps to make a dog house.

Step 1: Climate

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Before creating a plan, you need to consider your location and climate. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of rain or cold, snowy winters, you need to factor that into your design. This will affect the types of materials and finishes you use to create a warm, airtight abode. For colder, windier areas, it may be a good idea to install insulation to keep your dog warm at night. On the other hand, if you live in a hot climate, you will need to use an entirely different set of materials to create an airy and cool doghouse.

Step 2: Location

Girl building a doghouse with a dog
Dmitryp-k /

Where you place the finished doghouse may seem easy enough, but there are a few things to consider. Avoid areas that receive strong direct sunlight throughout the day, as even in colder climates this will soon make the home unbearably hot. A little direct sun in the morning or evening is fine, but it should ideally be shaded throughout the day.

Also avoid wet, poorly drained areas that tend to collect standing water after heavy rains. Wind exposure is another concern, and you’ll want to face your doghouse away from the strongest winds your area tends to receive. Finally, consider ease of access for older or disabled dogs, and try to avoid placing a sociable dog’s home too far from the action.

Step 3: Size

Happy puppy outside the doghouse outdoors
KatsiarynaKa2 /

Next, think about the size of your dog and, if it’s a puppy, how big it will grow. For an adult dog, the best advice is to measure its height and length. Next, plan for your niche to be at least twice as large. This leaves plenty of room to maneuver and get comfortable. For puppies, find out the average height of a mature adult and plan accordingly.

Step 4: Plan and Build

Father and son building a doghouse with a drill and wearing construction helmets
Roman Kosolapov /

After looking at the basics, you should now be ready to start making a plan. You can find tons of fantastic designs online, but if you want to create a truly personalized niche, let your creativity run free. Here are some pointers.

Build a solid foundation

As in your own home, the base of a doghouse is the foundation on which the rest of the shelter rests. Therefore, the base should be sturdy and strong enough to support your dog’s weight, and it should stay dry. It’s also worth insulating it to keep it comfortable whether it’s hot or cold outside.

A base frame with a solid top will work well, with the air space creating an insulating layer. You can also fill this gap with insulating foam for even greater comfort. Alternatively, try recycling a palette for the base. Wood is the most common material, but you can also consider a concrete foundation.

Choose the right materials

Be sure to choose the right materials for the base, walls and roof. For example, opt for thicker insulated walls in colder climates, while in warmer climates thinner materials should suffice. Solid wood is generally better than synthetic panels in terms of insulation, but plywood can also do a good job.

Make sure any wood you use has been weather-treated with a non-toxic finish. With screws and nails, make sure they are the right length and won’t protrude inside and create a hazard.

Watch out for the roof

As with any home, the type of roof you use for your doghouse is important. A sloping roof is generally favorable as it gives your dog more room to stand inside and ensures that rain and snow slide off rather than accumulate.

Create a water-resistant layer by using asphalt-impregnated roofing paper on the roof, possibly covered with shingles if you want a rustic, cozy look.

Turn a dog house into a doghouse

Finally, incorporate some personal touches into your design that relate to your dog’s character. For example, add their favorite cover or bed, a toy holder and a hook to hang the leash. More elaborate designs may include windows or a terraced porch.

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