There are hundreds of doghouses to choose from on the market. If you have decided you want your dog to live full-time or part-time outdoors, you will need to consider appropriate size (for the dog), personal style, and extra comforts you may want to offer your pooch. Whether you visit a big box store or look for more specialized doghouses online, you will be faced with an amazing array of options. You can expect to spend anywhere from around $50 for what is essentially a crate, to well over $450 for a designer doghouse that looks like a modern home complete with front porch, a log cabin, an A-frame house, or even a barn. There are also “green” doghouses that are made up of a composite of recycled plastics and wood fibers. You can have your doghouse premade or assemble yourself. Many new doghouse designs don’t even require tools to assemble.

Doghouse roofs: Is your dog like Snoopy?

Depending on the breed dog you have, some dogs especially enjoy being able to be on top of the doghouse to survey their surroundings or bask in the warmth of the sun. You can choose a simple flat-roofed doghouse, which are usually available at your local farmer’s supply store, or go upscale and get a doghouse with a covered or uncovered deck (complete with stairs).

Keep in mind if you have a flat-roofed doghouse or it has a deck, you’ll need to shovel it off if it snows where you live like it does here in the Boston area. If you don’t think your dog has any need to sit on top of its doghouse, then a pitched roof will be the better choice in terms of maintenance. Some doghouse roofs have asphalt shingles which also help with sluicing off rain and snow.

What’s good about green doghouses?

Besides the obvious earth-friendly aspect, green doghouses from such companies as Eco Concepts are also relatively inexpensive, about $99 to $270. Recycled polymer doghouses can be painted the color of your choice (if you want it to match your house for example), are very easy to assemble, durable, and easy to clean. Many come with a removable roof. They are also pest-resistant, so you'll be less likely to need to call an exterminator.

Having a wood doghouse can be also just as green, but is also more susceptible to mold, mildew and pests, so will likely require a bit more upkeep. If your dog is a chewer, you need to be careful of parts of the doghouse that may splinter when chewed.

Doghouse accessories for comfort and health:

Depending on the age, health, and breed of your dog, you may want to have a system in the doghouse to keep your dog cool in the summer, and warm in cold weather. Dogs don’t want to be cold, wet or overheated any more than we do. Also, just like us, as dogs age, they can feel more achy and sore, so a cooling pad or heating element in the doghouse can be more than a comfort for your dog.

Cooling pads, which cost around $50, are durable, and require no electricity. Some types are filled with tap water and others require no water and are “activated” when the pet lies on them. Cooling pads absorb your pet’s body heat and generally work for a few hours at a time.   

Heating your doghouse can be as elaborate as a heater that is mounted to the wall of the doghouse and is controlled by a thermostat (the cord is out of the reach of the dog and is plugged into an outside grounded outlet), or there are several types of electric pads that work about the same way as a human heating pad — just bigger.

Having fun with your dog’s house can be part of the fun of having a dog. Please tell us about your fabulous doghouse.

Cris Carl originally wrote this story for Networx.com. It is reprinted with permission here.

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