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How to Build a Dog House the Right Way: A Complete Guide

Spending more time outdoors is beneficial for our health and wellbeing, as well as that of our pets. It encourages exercise and helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Building a backyard home for your four-legged family member is a great idea for this. A stylish and charming structure allows them to spend more time outdoors. It provides a nice place to take an afternoon nap or escape into the shade.

The right dog house design can also enhance your outdoor living spaces. So, how do you go about building the best dog house for your pet?

Read on to learn how to build a dog house that will impress your pooch.

Get Inspired

To start the project, you’ll want to determine the style and design of your dog house. You can find plenty of dog house plans online, ranging from modern to rustic.

It also helps to seek inspiration on social media. You can use sites like Pinterest and Instagram to browse dog house pictures. Online blogs and design magazines are other great sources for this.

Create a photo board of your favorite ideas for your dog house design. Then use these to determine the house style and features you want to include.

Determine Your Doghouse Design

A custom DIY doghouse is somewhat of a simple project. You can handle it by yourself or with a partner who is skilled in woodworking.

To bring your vision to life, create a draft of the design you want to go with. This should include the dog house size and layout. This way you can make the right measurements later on.

Be sure to account for any special features you want to include. This could be a staircase, skylight, or sun deck. Some pet owners even go on to build a custom doggy castle.

Yet, this article will follow the most standard dog house design. You’ll also have the ability to make a few custom add-ons to your house as well.

Determine Your Measurements

It’s important to determine the exact size of your doghouse. Building a dog house should be based on your pet’s actual size.

A good rule of thumb is for the dog house to be at least 25% larger than the size of your dog. Measure this distance from their nose to their tail. This size house gives them plenty of space to stand, move around inside, and lay down.

Making a house too large may interest your pet at first. Yet, this could also cause issues with retaining heat inside the dog house. Too small of a dog house will be uncomfortable for your pet.

Standard dog house sizes range from 24 to 36 inches wide and 24 to 42 inches tall. Yet, for an extra-large breed, you will likely need to go bigger than this. Taller breeds like greyhounds need more height, while bulldogs need more width.

Another trick is to use your dog’s measurements to determine the house size. The depth should equal the dog’s length plus one foot of extra space.

The width should equal the dog’s length plus 18 inches of extra space. The height should equal the dog’s height plus about 6 extra inches. This provides plenty of room for the dog based on their unique measurements.

You also need to ensure the dog door is large enough for your pet to get inside and out. Another consideration is if the dog will use a ramp to enter the house.

The dog house can also sit at ground level. Yet, building the house off of the ground helps to avoid flooding or water damage.

Gather Your Supplies

Before beginning, make a checklist to ensure you have all the right supplies for the job. A trip to your local hardware store should have everything you need to build your own dog houses.

It’s best to use lumber for your dog house project. Real wood helps to create insulation for the dog house.

You’ll most likely need a tape measure for cutting the wood to size. A combination of 2×4 boards and plywood are easiest for building your dog house.

Other items include a circular saw, drill bit, and screws. You may also want to add roof shingles and carpeting to your house.

Non-toxic paint or stain and paintbrushes are other key supplies. Choosing a waterproof paint may help your house to hold up against weather conditions.

A great tip is to pre-cut your wood according to your dog house measurements. You also want to pre-drill your holes into the wood. This step helps to avoid splitting the wood during the build.

Construct the Frame and Siding

Now you’re all ready to build a dog house, from start to finish.

Begin by using wooden boards to build the bottom of the house. Use a square or rectangle shape to build out the bottom frame. Each board’s length will depend on how large you’re making your dog house.

Then you will attach wooden boards on top of your base. Do this in a horizontal row to make the house platform for the floor. As an alternative, you could use a piece of pre-cut plywood for the platform.

From here you can frame all the sides of the house, including the front and back walls. Use 2×4’s for the corner frames as this will secure the walls to the floor and roof.

Then use pre-measured and cut plywood to make the wall siding. The front and back wall siding panels should be made with a peak at the top. This is for installing the roof later on.

The front wall should have an opening cut into it for the dog door. A medium-sized dog will likely need an opening of about 13 inches tall and 10 inches wide. Again, this size should be based on your dog’s unique height and width.

Build the Roof

A pitched roof helps rain and snow to run off the dog house. This design also creates more height in the house for added comfort.

A shallow-pitched roof is more likely to get leaks over time. So, pitched roof designs are best to build a long-lasting dog house.

Use two pieces of plywood panels to create the two sides of the roof. These panels will get nailed to the support beams and siding already in place.

If installing a skylight, be sure to cut out a rectangle shape for this. Then you can use quality plexiglass to fit into the window frame.

When installing roof panels be sure to have them hang over the sides of the house. This keeps rainwater away from the house. To do this you’ll need to account for a few extra inches on each side of the roof.

After the roof panels are installed, you can then add shingles or roofing paper. This custom feature creates a more realistic look and helps protect your house.

Add the Finishing Touches

Before your dog moves in, there are a few things you can do to make the house more inviting. One idea is to paint the exterior of the dog house.

You can pick a fun and vibrant color pattern. Other homeowners choose to match the paint to their existing home color palette.

Dogs get about 12 to 14 hours of sleep every day. So, you want to make sure they have a comfortable sleeping area inside the dog house.

You can also install carpeting or place a small rug or bed inside the house. This creates added comfort for your dog during naptime.

Other design details include adding on a deck or porch around the base of the house. You can also add a small window with wooden shutters for a charming look.

Another great idea is to add a custom wooden sign to display your dog’s name. You can also get creative with a small mailbox or white picket fence. Landscaping and small shrubs will enhance the dog house as well.

You may even want to build a ramp to provide easier access to the dog house. This is ideal for older dogs who may have trouble getting into the dog door opening if it’s off the ground.

There are plenty of upgrades and renovations to add on to your doghouse later on. Free online plans with video tutorials can also show you how to build a dog house. Other key dog house information to research includes ventilation, heating, and waterproofing tips.

How to Build a Dog House Your Pup Will Love

This guide will teach you how to build a dog house that is perfect for your pet. When designing your house, you want to keep comfort, safety, and style in mind. Your dog house should also get built to the perfect size based on your dog’s measurements.

Looking for more tips to enhance your backyard? Check out the latest from the blog for all the best inspiration.

About the author

Rachel Slifka

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