Dogs are indeed our best friends. They chase the ball when we throw it, they have fun when we laugh, and the comfort us when we cry. Of course, they can’t take care of themselves the way we can, so it is up to us to provide them with a more than adequate quality of life. As we all know, dogs aren’t meant to be inside all of the time.  They were once wild animals and they definitely enjoy the outdoors.

Also, sometimes we just don’t want them inside so much. Either way, when it comes to cold weather and winter time, we can’t just let them freeze out in the snow. This is where the dog house comes into play (we have reviewed our top picks on this post). That being said, not all dog house are ready made for winter time. So, we’re here to talk about how you can insulate your dog house for winter, or even just build your own winter ready dog house. Let’s get right to it!

How To Insulate Your Dog House

Insulating a dog house for the winter is really not that hard, but it will take a bit of work. First off, many dog houses already come insulated for either summer or winter weather. However, when it comes to really cold places like Canada or the mid-western US, these dog houses probably won’t cut it.

Dogs aren’t too particular about the additions or changes you might make to their home as long as they aren’t hugely noticeable and they don’t make things worse than before. Luckily, insulating an already built dog house is not all that difficult.

The best way to go about it is to get some polystyrene or Styrofoam sheets. These are usually fairly inexpensive, but they do a fairly good job at keeping heat in and keeping the cold out. Now, if you have an open front dog house, this will be fairly easy. Simply attach the sheets to the inside walls user light nails or even just some industrial glue.

You will not want to leave these sheets exposed though, as they may get wet or torn apart by your dogs. This means that you will need some plywood sheets to cover up the Styrofoam. Simply cut the plywood to size, the same size as the sheets, and yes, this means that you should always measure twice before cutting, and attach them to the Styrofoam.

You should probably use longer nails or other attachment methods that will go straight through the plywood, the Styrofoam barrier, and the already existing dog house. This will help make everything very secure.

Now, if you already have one of those dog house with just a little opening for a door, this will all be more difficult as you will have to remove the front wall first. Realistically, instead of removing the front wall of an existing dog house, it might be easier to just build a new one from scratch.

We are not going to get into a whole DIY winter dog house thing here, but the main takeaway is that you will want to add this Styrofoam layer between two layers of plywood, which will make up the walls. Even better is also adding some insulation to the roof of the dog house, as well as the floor.

A Moisture Barrier

That is not all though, because while insulation might win you a battle or two, it won’t win the whole war. Moisture is another big issue that can mess with dog houses in the winter. It can make the dog house much colder than it should be, plus it can cause the dog house to deteriorate.

If you really want to make sure that the dog house is totally winterized, you need to go the extra mile and add some moisture barriers too. These are just simple plastic sheets that are very rugged and keep moisture at bay.

You should add these moisture barriers between the Styrofoam insulation and the outer layer of the plywood or other wood being used to build the dog house. This should be done for the roof and the floor of the dog house as well.

Floor & Roof

Speaking of the floor, you are going to want to make sure that your dog house is elevated off of the cold ground slightly. This will help to keep moisture at bay and keep it warmer too. Using some sort of prop or stilts, either made of wood or some sort of concrete blocks or bricks will do just fine.

The ground is very cold, so making sure that the floor of the dog house is well off the ground is essential to a well winterized dog house. When it comes to the roof, some good old shingles will be helpful too. They will add another layer of insulation, plus they will help stop snow and rain from seeping in.

Checking For Integrity

You should also check for any cracks, holes, or weak spots in your dog house. Fix them or fill them in any way you see fit, but just make sure that there are no holes or cracks in the dog house by the time you are done with it.

Some Extras – Heaters & Bedding

If you really want to go the extra mile, you can add in some heating pads too. These are just simple little electrical pads that you can put on the floor of the dog house. They can be set at a specific temperature to keep your dog warm and cozy.

You can even add in a little space heater, but make sure that it is highly rated for safety because you don’t want Fido and his house going up in flames. Either way, try to hide the cords so your dog doesn’t chew on them.

Also, when it comes to bedding, you should use some kind of soft wood shavings or straw, as they dry easily, keep your dog warm, and provide some insulation. You may be tempted to use linens or simple blankets, but those will get cold and freeze when they are wet, or in other words, they are not ideal for providing warmth in the winter.


As long as you remember to make sure there are no holes and cracks, that you have a center layer of Styrofoam insulation, a water barrier, some heat, some shingles, and good bedding, your dog will be just fine. As you can see, winterizing your dog house may be a little labor intensive, but when it comes to the happiness and health of our dogs, it is certainly worth it.