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Do dog kennels need to be insulated?

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For many dog owners, particularly those that have working dogs or a large pack, keeping the dogs in the house is simply not an option and a kennel is a must.

Dogs adapt well to kennel life and are often healthier than those that live indoors providing that their needs are met and they are sheltered from the worst that the weather can throw at them.

Just like people dogs will get cold if they are exposed to extremes of weather and it is important that their kennel provides maximum levels of protection from wind, rain, snow and extremes of heat. Although most dogs are hardy they do not do well in extremes of weather and a good level of dog kennel insulation will help to provide your pet with the protection and comfort that he needs and deserves.

Should I insulate my dog’s kennel?

There are a number of reasons to insulate your dog’s kennel, the main one being that insulation helps to retain heat and keep it in, particularly during winter months or colder climates.

A kennel with solid walls and roof insulation will help to prevent heat loss and ensure that your dog is nice and warm during cold weather.

In warmer climates insulation will prevent heat from building up within the kennel providing a cooler place for dogs to relax in during hot summer months, preventing discomfort and even skin problems that can arise due to excessive heat.

It’s all about providing a safe comfortable spot for your pet no matter what time of year it is.

What do you use to insulate a dog kennel?

You can use a variety of materials to insulate your dog’s house, many of which you might already have in a shed or garage somewhere and some that you can buy.

Typical insulation materials that would be good for a kennel include:

Old carpets – these can be used on the floors, walls and ceilings, tacked in place to create an extra layer of protection for your dog.

Blankets, old curtains, bath mats – can all be placed in the kennel as bedding or fixed to the surfaces of the kennel for protection.

Newspaper – this is a cheap and effective insulation material that can be placed on the floor of the kennel, over walls or even taped to the roof.

Exterior wall insulation kits – you can buy these easily enough but these are more for houses than kennels. If you do use them then you will need to find something else to use for insulating the roof and ceiling.

Insulation batts – these can be used on walls, floors and even ceilings although the thickness might make fitting them a little more difficult.

Open cell insulation foam sheets – have plenty of uses around the home including kennels where they can be easily cut into shape and fixed in place with some insulation glue.

Other materials include rigid foam, Styrofoam or polystyrene sheets which can be used without too much difficulty but do need cutting to size and stapling in place.

You might also consider something like a kennel shed which is specifically designed for dogs that are likely to spend time out of the house.

Although they cost more than a standard kennel the insulation and protection that they offer might be worth it for some dog owners.

What else should I consider with insulated dog kennels?

If you do decide to insulate your dogs home, whether it is a kennel, shed or custom built house then there are a number of things to consider.

It is important that whatever material you use provides good levels of protection from the elements, particularly rain and wind as well as extremes of heat and cold.

If you are using an already existing material then check the specifications to ensure that it is suitable for uses outdoors.

Many materials will require specific fixings or fastenings so make sure that you buy the right kind of insulation glue or staples etc depending on what is needed.

Most insulating materials are relatively lightweight but some need a little extra support to stop them falling off the wall, an easy solution here is to drill a couple of holes and use some wire ties to secure it.

Just make sure that you place any insulation well away from edges or places where your pet will be likely to try and chew on it.

Other materials

When it comes to insulation you have a lot of options:

Reflective foil – this is widely used in house building and similar scale projects and for good reason – it provides an excellent thermal barrier for the occupants.

The great thing about reflective foil insulation is that it is easy to use, can be cut to size and is reasonably flexible, so you can form it around corners.

It can be glued or tacked down and can be covered with panels to stop dogs from chewing it. It’s one of the best options for insulation.

Reflective bubble wrap – this is also a good choice although it is a bit trickier to use.

It looks just like normal bubble wrap apart from one big difference in that it is covered with a foil like surface.

The bubbles provide an air barrier, trapping heat between the foil. Like the reflective foil it needs covering with panels to stop bored dogs from destroying it.

Polystyrene foam – this normally comes in long sheets and is around an inch to two inches thick.

It can be easily cut to size with a saw making it simple to use and install as insulation in a kennel.

Most types have reflective outer surfaces to maximise heat retention.

Like the foregoing you’ll need to panel over it to prevent your dog from chewing and eating it.

Expanding foam – you wouldn’t use this per se as insulation but it can be useful if you have awkward gaps to fill in.

It can be messy to use and you should only use it on areas where the dogs can’t get to it – dogs love to chew things and will happily munch on anything, even solid expanded foam – best to keep it away from them or covered up with a panel after use.

Do dog kennels need to be insulated?
Do dog kennels need to be insulated?

Position of the kennel can improve weather resistance

When you install your dog’s kennel, think about the positioning. If you get this right at the outset it will help with your future weather protection needs.

A kennel that is nearer to the house will benefit from the protection that the building ( house ) provides

Consider the normal wind direction and try to face the kennel away from the wind

Trees and outbuildings can provide a barrier against driving rain, wind and snow.

Consider where the sun is during summer days – try not to put the kennel in an area that is constantly in direct sun

Insulate the floor of the kennel

A large proportion of heat can be lost through the floor of your dog’s kennel and, given that most dogs like to lie on the floor, this can be a problem – your dog will get cold.

Try to raise the floor so that it is not in direct contact with the ground beneath it – if this is not possible ( such as with a solid or concrete floor ) then raise the floor inside the kennel with wooden batons and panels so that the dogs are not lying on the concrete surface.

You can pack the space between the raised wooden floor and the base with insulation materials to provide an extra barrier.

Exterior dog door

It’s important that your dogs can get out of the kennel into their run and you’ll need to provide them with a door to do this.

Many people simply leave a hole in the side of the kennel which allows the dogs to get in and out but which also allows weather to get in and warmth to escape.

It’s possible to get commercially produced dog kennel doors, that act like a large cat flap, that your dog can push open to get in and out.

I’ve had lots of success by using old rubber car mats ( the sort that you have inside the car to protect the carpets ).

Simply take a mat, nail one end of the mat across the top of the doggy door and then cut up the centre of the mat, about three quarters of the way, so that the mat splits.

Your dogs will be able to push the mat open to get in and out and the mat is heavy enough to fall back into place, providing an effective barrier against wind, rain and everything else.

Are there other ways to keep my dog warm in a kennel

You can add as much insulation as possible and double layer the insulation to get the maximum effect.

If your kennel has a power supply ( and it’s recommended that you do have electrical power ) then you can install a fan heater or a heat lamp that will provide extra warmth for your dogs.

Other thoughts

Always check your dog’s kennel regularly for any signs of damage such as cracks, gaps, holes, loose doors etc.

As soon as you find damage, repair it – your aim should be to prevent damp and draughts from getting into the kennel and keeping on top of maintenance will help.

Final Words

By ensuring that your dog’s kennel is as well insulated as possible and by taking care to keep it clean, free from draughts and wet weather you’ll be able to provide a comfortable home for your dogs during those colder months.

Remember that your dog needs a warm, safe and secure place to sleep and with some basic work you’ll be able to make sure that his kennel is ready for the worst.

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Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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