How to Create a Warm Kennel for Winter

  • Posted By: Tim
  • Date: 01 November 2019

As the temperatures plunge this time of year is an important time to assess what your dogs need to survive the harsh winter weather.

Every year we are told that this winter could be a particularly bleak one, so it is important to think about the conditions you provide for your beloved dog. In this article, we explore what are the best solutions to keep your dogs kennels fit for purpose.

More and more people are tending to realise that keeping a dog in a house just isn’t healthy for them as they were bred for outdoors purposes. There are serious potential health issues when a dog is kept inside a house with the central heating on during the winter months.

Warm houses are not healthy for most dogs and they would prefer to be in an outdoor kennel, many dogs find living in your house just too warm and they suffer with dehydration and many skin allergies as they dry out in the stifling heat.

Most people during winter will heat their house to approx. 20-24 degrees which is a way to hot for dogs especially the longer coated breeds. The guidelines in the new licensing guidelines suggest dogs to be kept at a minimum of 10 degrees, so we would suggest a kennel should be heated somewhere between 10-12 degrees.

One of the main issues with dog kennels in winter is that they are so poorly insulated that the only way to heat a kennel to achieve a warmer temperature is to pump lots of heat into it. This is not a great solution as most heat will escape through the walls and ceiling of the kennel plus it is extremely inefficient and will cost you a small fortune.

Wood kennels, plastic kennels and even GRP kennels have very poor thermal properties so tend to leak heat and suffer from high thermal U values meaning they are poor insulators. Breeze block kennels are also quite poor unless they have been lined with Rockwool or Celotex type of materials.

In any well-insulated kennel all the components of a kennel need to have good insulation so the walls and ceiling for sure but many customers fail to make sure that the floor needs insulating too. In very cold spells cold will permeate through the floor, so even if this is concrete base insulation should have been added to the concrete slab during the groundworks.

If your concrete base is already down it’s a good idea to build a raised floor and then put insulation underneath this to ensure that your kennel is not chilled from the ground up.

During very cold spells dogs can suffer in a kennel if it is poorly insulated. Some of the signs to look out for are as follows:
Shivering- Any signs of a dog shivering or trembling can be a sign that the kennel is too cold.

Snuggling- Dogs love to snuggle but take notice and if this is excessive it’s a sign that the kennel is too cold

Lethargy- If your dog is moving less it can be a sign that it has suffered during the night. If your dog doesn’t come rushing out to greet you then this could be a sign.

Skin Colour- Check your dog’s belly for colour change from pink to blue as this is a sign that your dog is cold

Whining- If your dog is whining more than normal it is a sign that they are unhappy about possibly the cold conditions.

Thermometer- Invest in a thermometer and hang this high up out of your dogs reach so that you can monitor the temperature, these are inexpensive but essential.

It is important to ensure that your kennel is also ventilated which of course is a potential heat loss but essential otherwise they can suffer from health issues and kennel cough. So what you are really looking to achieve is as follows:

A warm, dry environment with a constant night time temperature of 10-12 degrees
A kennel that is not too hot to cause your dog to overheat
A well ventilated kennel that can be adjusted
Well insulated kennel floor, walls and roof
An appropriate efficient heat source
Warm bedding to make your dogs comfortable
A thermometer