They say that dog is man's best friend, which is why it's no wonder that we so often build a separate house for our dogs. Dog houses are a traditional part of the stereotypical portrayal of the American family's backyard, and for good reason — we care for our pets and want to keep them safe from the elements.
Building a dog house is a good DIY project for the intermediate handyperson. It's important to build the dog house to the right dimensions to keep your pet comfortable. In general, you'll want to make the dog house large enough that your pet can turn around easily, but not much larger than that. Insulated dog houses are a necessity in colder climates; just make sure that you don't have so much insulation that your dog will overheat in warmer weather.
To build a dog house, you'll need common household tools such as a circular saw, table saw, hammer, tape measure and square. You'll also need materials for the actual structure, including siding, treated wood, nails, paint and possibly shingles.
While a dog house can take almost any shape, from the classic peaked roof dog house to the modern igloo dog house, there are a couple of basic principles to keep in mind for your pet's comfort and safety.
First, the floor of the dog house should be slightly elevated to make sure rain doesn't flood the house and to keep the floor insulated from the cold ground in the winter. A simple 2-inch platform should be sufficient and makes a pretty easy do-it-yourself project. Top the platform with outdoor carpet for a little extra insulation and comfort.
Second, make sure the nails are driven into the structure and aren't left sticking out into your pet's living space. Exposed nails can catch your pet's fur or even cut your pet, making the space both dangerous and uncomfortable.
There are a variety of dog house plans available, so make sure you know your dog's habits when planning its backyard home. If your dog likes to sleep on top of structures, you may want a flatter roof, and you won't want to use shingles since they can get very warm in the summer heat. Choose a dog house plan that works for both your backyard and your dog.
For those with only beginner handyperson skills, a dog house kit provides a professionally designed dog house and all the required materials — precut, of course — that you can then put together yourself. This provides the convenience of a premade dog house and the fun of a DIY project. Dog house kits cost less than premade dog houses, and are easier to have delivered, but require more labor. On the other hand, they don't require as much labor as building your own dog house from scratch, so they make a good compromise between cost and effort.