Written by Doris Donnerman (last updated November 13, 2009)
In all my experiences with pets, the pet usually stays inside, but it's definitely not uncommon to have a dog that is trained to and kept primarily outside. Sometimes the dog is too big, too obnoxious, to aggressive, and you just need to keep it outside for everyone's benefit. If you do keep your dog outside, there are a few things you need to remember and keep in mind. One of those extra responsibilities you need to fulfill is making sure that your dog has appropriate lodging. If your dog stays or sleeps in a doghouse, you need to make sure that the doghouse is weatherproof.
Whether you live in a cold climate, a hot climate, a dry climate, you need to make sure that your dog's doghouse is adapted for any kind of weather. Things to keep in mind when buying or building your dog's doghouse is wind, rain, snow, hail, and extreme hot or cold temperatures. Begin by building the doghouse off the ground a little bit. At least make the foundation thick enough and sturdy enough so that if the ground is wet, it doesn't seep through the floor into the actual doghouse. Also, the doghouse needs to be sturdy enough to withstand extreme wind speeds. The doghouse will do no good if it collapses at the first intense gust of wind.
To protect against rain and snow, there are a couple things you can do. If you live in a particularly wet climate, you should probably build the doghouse out of more wet resistant materials. For the best suggestions, check out your local hardware store. For relatively average climates (at least when it comes to wetness), probably the best thing to do is keep a tarp or plastic sheet close by. When it starts raining or snowing, secure the tarp up around the doghouse. This way the rain will just slide off of the tarp. (You also might want to try digging little trenches around the doghouse so that the water won't pool up around the actual foundation of the doghouse). If the winters and springs are known for being continually wet, then you might want to just keep the tarp up to always keep your bases covered.
Regarding temperature control there are a couple of more things you can do to ensure your dog's comfort. For warmth in the winter, install a heat lamp in the dog's doghouse. Make it so you can turn it on from inside your house and then flip the switch when it's getting cold outside so that the doghouse can warm up a bit. When it's hot outside, just make sure that there's shade, and perhaps, you could even build the doghouse in a shady area, so that the sun doesn't heat up the doghouse as much. You could even install a little fan you could turn on so that it can move the air around a bit.
Keeping your dog outside is completely acceptable and if you're considering this, take into account the kind of dog you have and whether or not your yard or doghouse is suitable for the weather you may encounter. Weatherproofing your dog's doghouse is something that both you and your dog will be grateful for, and so you should weatherproof as much as you can to keep your dog comfortable!
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