What are some of the things you should consider when choosing the right dog house for your pet? First and foremost some background.

Pet ownership is on a rapid rise in America. Between 2012 and 2015, the percentage of households with at least one pet increased from 56% to 65%. The total number of pets (cats and dogs) went up from 144.1 million to 163.6 million within the same period.

Dog House

As expected, more households own at least one dog in 2016 (44%) than households that own cats (35%).

However, the number of cats is higher than dogs, simply because households tend to own more than one cat. While the average number of dogs per household in 2016 stood at 1.43, the average number of cats per household in the same year stood at 2.

Dog House

Dog House
Charts by Humanesociety.org

With an ever increasing number of pets, in this case dogs, the question of how to house them is bound to arise.

Our pups often become beloved members of the family, and for that reason should be treated as such. Selection of dog houses is therefore very important.

Guideline for buying a dog house


1. Construction Material

Dog houses come in various construction materials. The most common are wood, plastic and metal. Before choosing the construction material, you have to make other considerations. For instance, what is your budget? Will the dog house be used outdoor or indoors?


Plastic dog houses are generally the cheapest to acquire. You may associate plastic with ‘low quality’, but there are some really strong plastic dog houses that are extremely sturdy and durable. Actually, most dog houses that fall in this category are made of heavy-duty plastic.

Because of advances in industrial processes, it is possible to make plastic dog houses in all shapes and colors, hence when compared to wood, plastic dog houses often turn out to be the more appealing to the eyes.

They are simple to put together and some models don’t even require tools to assemble.

Another big advantage of plastic over wood is portability. Plastic is generally light-weight and hence moving it around in the backyard or in the house is easy.

Plastic Dog House Pros Cons
Easy to assemble. Some models require no tools to assemble. Though plastic offers some weather insulation, temperatures fluctuate more in plastic houses than in wooden ones.
Heavy-duty plastic is very durable. Not affected by weather or water, and is very resistant to scratches and breakages. Some plastic may turn out to be less durable than wood.
Cleaning plastic is relatively easy compared to other material. Soap and a hose is often all that is required.
Plastic dog houses come in more styles and colorful designs than wood.
Plastic dog hoses don’t have pores for fleas and tics to build nests.
Plastic dog houses are relatively less expensive than wooden ones.


Wood has been a favourite for many years, long before the production of dog houses was commercialized/industrialized. Unlike plastic dog houses, anyone with basic carpentry skills can make a wooden dog houses. Some pieces of wood, nails/screws and tools and you’re ready to go.

Even after purchasing a complete wooden dog house, the owner may decide to add some more compartments or detail. Again, only basic carpentry skills are required. This is something that you cannot do with plastic dog houses.

While plastic dog houses come in every design and color imaginable, they can’t beat wood when creating that natural look. People have different preferences and when going for natural, plastic stands no chance.

Wooden Dog House Pros Cons
Provides much better insulation from heat and cold than plastic. Unlike plastic dog houses, wooden dog houses need constant maintenance such as painting and water-proofing.
May end up being cheaper than plastic, especially if you are building the house yourself. Wood is susceptible to termite infestation and therefore requires to be insect-proofed.
When wooden dog houses are constructed right, they are very sturdy and perfect for dogs who like jumping on the roof. Most wooden dog houses are constructed with low quality wood, which require constant replacement.
Wooden dog houses offer more design add-on possibilities. Wood, unlike plastic, tends to absorb pet odors.
Wooden dog houses are very heavy compared to plastic ones. Moving them around requires a lot of effort, and breakage is very easy.


Metal structures when used as dog houses are typically referred to as ‘dog boxes’. They are more likely to be used for transportation and provision of temporary houses for the dogs than as long-term dog houses.

However, there are owners who use them as a permanent base for their dogs. They are extremely durable and it’s not uncommon for a metal dog house to outlive the dog and its owner.

Metal Dog House Pros Cons
Extremely durable Much more expensive than either wood or plastic dog houses.
Ready to use and often do not require assembly. Metal is a poor insulator, hence another material is needed to insulate the dog from cold and heat.
Cleaning is relatively easy compared to wood.
Can be used as both permanent and temporary housing eg. in shows and events
Best dog houses for transporting the dog.

2. House Size

Photo – Hayneedle.com

It is paramount for a dog owner to select a dog house that is just the right size, lest the dog will not use it.

Selecting the perfect house size may seem straightforward, but is anything but. Unlike humans, dogs don’t like houses that are too large. The like to feel secure, and large empty spaces don’t help. Also, it is hard to keep oversize dog houses warm during the cold weather.

Dog also like to turn around, so the house should provide this allowance. The door size is also an important consideration. It is recommended that the height of the door is 3/4 the height of the dog.

If your dog is still a puppy, it is better to research what its adult size will be and then make an informed decision.

Tips When Choosing the Right Dog House Size

1. Dog house size should be at least 25% taller than the dog but not more than 50% taller (measured from head to the ground). E.g if the dog’s height is 22 inches, the house should be between 28 and 33 inches tall.

2. Just like the height, the length of the dog house should be at least 25% the length of the dog, measured from nose to flank.

3. The dog house door size should be 75% the height of the dog from shoulder to ground. Large doors are not necessary as dogs tend to lower their bodies to enter a dog house.

3. Roof

The roof is another important aspect when choosing the right dog house. It is important that the roof be slanted to allow runoff of water and other material. It goes without saying that the roof should not leak, something that can be quite common when made of wood.

You can also decide to include some protective covering on the roof, e.g. asphalt shingles, wood shingles, plain old tar paper etc. You may also find it helpful when cleaning the dog house if the roof can open up.

4. Floor

The floor of the dog house should be elevated a few inches from the ground. This is especially important if the dog house is made of wood. The space between the floor and the ground, called ‘dead air space’, gives an extra layer of insulation. It also keeps ground water and moisture away from your pup.

Raising the floor also increases durability, by preventing the wood from rotting.

It is also a health precaution, as it reduces flea infestation. The eggs will hatch in the soil instead of in the dog house.

Further, the floor should be slightly higher at the rear of the dog house than at the front, to allow better drainage should any water get in.

5. Ventilation 

Ventilation is very important for the dog’s health and comfort. Without proper ventilation, a dog house will become uncomfortably hot in the summer, which presents a dangerous environment for your pet.

In the winter, lack of proper ventilation leads to build up of excessively moisture primarily from the dog’s breathing. When this moisture condenses on the interior surface of the dog house, bugs find a favorable bleeding ground.

The doorway provides the most important ventilation to the dog house, but it can become a problem if a door flap is present.

A few small-sized holes near the top of the house are enough for the house’s ventilation needs.

Now Read about The Best Luxury Dog Houses You Can Buy.