Prepare your Outdoor Dog Kennel for the winter

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When you keep your dog outside, and winter is approaching, you have to prepare your dog kennel. In this blog post, I will discuss how to winterize your dog kennel in 5 simple steps.

Prepare your Outdoor Dog Kennel for the winter:

  • Step 1: Inspect the structure of your outdoor dog kennel carefully using a flashlight
  • Step 2: Make sure that is the size of the outdoor dog kennel is appropriate to get insulated by the body heat of your dog
  • Step 3: Make warm and comfortable bedding for your dog
  • Step 4: Insulate and heat your outdoor dog kennel
  • Step 5: Raise your outdoor dog kennel
Prepare your Outdoor Dog Kennel for the winter 1
(CC BY 2.0) by Sarah M Stewart

What do you need?

To avoid last moment shopping trips, you must buy nine items ahead of time that will help you winterize your outdoor dog kennel. Here is a list:

  • Cedar and hay bedding
  • Bathtub mat,
  • Flashlight or torchlight
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Waterproof silicone caulk and
  • Wooden pallets.

Scroll on to read the detailed step-by-step guide given below that will help you winterize your outdoor dog kennel:

Step 1: Inspect the structure of your outdoor dog kennel carefully using a flashlight or torchlight:

Exposure of the walls of your outdoor dog kennel to rain and shine can make them thin and brittle. You must seek the help of your friend or partner and carefully inspect the roof, walls, and the floor of your outdoor dog kennel. You must hold a flashlight or the torchlight in your hand and move it on the outer walls and above the roof of your outdoor dog kennel, and ask your partner to look inside your outdoor dog kennel.

If there are any cracks or holes in your outdoor dog kennel, the flash of the light will pass through it. You must take some waterproof silicone caulk and cover these cracks and gaps. In this way, no rain and snow will enter your outdoor dog kennel. Also, it will prevent the heat inside your outdoor dog kennel from escaping.

The best option is to move your outdoor dog kennel if it is portable to a warmer place like a basement room, shed, or garage enclosed on all four sides. The strong wind can make your dog uncomfortable if you leave it in an open yard or lawn. If you live in a small place or condo and cannot accommodate your outdoor dog kennel indoors, you can allow your dog to spend a couple of months of peak winter in a pet nursery.

Another way to improve the temperature of your outdoor dog kennel is to place it against the wall of your house, which will resist the pressure of the wind. If your outdoor dog kennel is a lightweight and portable one, you must move it in a place where it can get enough sunlight during the daytime. A solar outdoor dog kennel is an excellent option to provide your dog with heat during the day, but it is useless at night.

Step 2: Make sure that is the size of the outdoor dog kennel  is appropriate to get insulated by the body heat of your dog:

An insulated outdoor dog kennel must not be more than three times the size of your pet dog. Of course, you will have to change it when your little puppy starts growing up. This size is enough to insulate the entire outdoor dog kennel with your dog's body heat, and it will also allow him to stand up comfortably and turn around when he wants.

You must ask your friend or partner to help you measure your outdoor dog kennel. You must take a measuring tape and hold it horizontally at the door of your outdoor dog kennel. Take a pen and paper and write down this measurement.

Now hold the measuring tape vertically from the top to the bottom of the door of your outdoor dog kennel, write down this measurement on the paper. Now you must get a rubber bathtub mat. And mark the height and width of the door of your outdoor dog kennel on it.

Cut along with these markings. A good quality utility knife will help you cut it within a couple of minutes. Now you must get your hammer and nails.

It would be best if you hung the rubber bathtub mat outside the door of your outdoor dog kennel. You must make sure that there are no holes or openings in this rubber bathtub mat. Now use your hammer to nail the rubber bathtub mat. One nail on each side on the top of the door of your outdoor dog kennel with a nail 4 inches apart between them is enough.

This is the best method to keep out the rain and the strong winds and to prevent the heat from escaping your outdoor dog kennel. If your dog is used to the doors, then it will like and adapt to this method very easily. Otherwise, some practice will help it.

Step 3: Make warm and comfortable bedding for your dog:

Before it is too late and the roads are slippery and covered with layers of snow, you must make sure that you order or go out to your local store and purchase enough cedar chips, hay, straw, or wood shavings to make thick bedding inside your outdoor dog kennel for the entire winter season. It would be best if you put these into your outdoor dog kennel.  Put enough so that they can make bedding at least 6 inches high. The best thing about straw and hay is that the body heat of your dog gets trapped between the hollow parts in it.

Depending on the size and the age of your dog, the quantity of the straw, hay, wood shavings, or cedar chips should be enough so that the dog can make a comfortable nest in it. These materials are ideal for insulating the floor of your outdoor dog, kennel. It is advisable for hygienic reasons that you keep checking the bedding of your dog, and when it needs a replacement, you must shovel out the old material and add fresh material to it.

It would be best if you also give your dog a blanket and a pillow for additional heat.

Step 4: Insulate and heat your outdoor dog kennel:

The blanket of snow is the best natural insulator. So it would help if you did not hurry in digging it out. But if it is too heavy to collapse the roof of your outdoor dog kennel, you must shovel it off.

You must shovel the snow around your outdoor dog kennel and pile it up along the walls of your outdoor dog kennel. In this way, the pressure of wind will reduce and will not enter the door, windows, and other vents of your outdoor dog kennel. Also, the heat inside your outdoor dog kennel will not escape.

You must make sure that electricity is installed inside your outdoor dog, kennel. It will help you add deicers, heated lamps, bulbs, and heated floor mats. When you add these electric devices to your outdoor dog kennel, you must monitor them regularly because if your dog has a habit of chewing on them, they can be dangerous for him.

You must also monitor the temperature of the heating devices inside your outdoor dog kennel regularly to avoid any mishappening or burning. You must hire an electrician to fix a bulb and the heated lamps above the bedding of your dog inside the outdoor dog kennel. Incandescent bulbs are much warmer and can make the outdoor dog kennel much warmer than the LED bulbs.

To keep the head of your dog safe from coming in contact with the incandescent bulb, you must use a ceramic bulb cover instead of a plastic one because it is fragile and can break easily. You must remember to add a fire-resistant wire guard or baffle around the incandescent bulb inside your outdoor dog kennel, to prevent the dry hair, hay, and straws from flying into it and catching fire. Red-colored incandescent bulbs are pet-safe instead of the white ones.

If your outdoor dog kennel is located close to your house, you can use the extra heat from inside your home and transfer it to the outdoor dog kennel using a dryer hose. Use an aluminum dryer hose and cut a small vent in the roof of your outdoor dog kennel, and connect it to the interior of your house. You can use a small fan to draw the heat from your home to your outdoor dog kennel.

Step 5: Raise your outdoor dog kennel:

You must order some wooden pallets that are of the same size as the base of your outdoor dog kennel or slightly larger than its base. It would be best if you then placed them on a ground that is well-balanced so that the water doesn't get collected in it. Now ask a friend or partner to help you lift the outdoor dog kennel and place it on the wooden pallets.

Remember to place the door of your outdoor dog kennel towards the wall of your house so that it acts as a wind block. Just leave as much as a gap as the length of your dog so that he can quickly enter and exit it.

Final Remarks

To sum up, if you live in an area where the winters are cold, it is essential to winterize your outdoor dog kennel for the health of your dog.