With winter and cold, windy weather slowly approaching, it’s time to start thinking about how to keep your pup warm and cozy in his outdoor house. Although most dogs can heat themselves quite well during chilly weather, many are not able to during truly cold winter months. To ensure your dog’s comfort and safety when the temperature dips too low, consider installing a kennel heater.
To save you time and effort when searching for the right heater, we’ve rounded up 8 of the best dog house heaters and heating pads on the market. And if you need more information on these devices and how to keep your furry friend warm during cold months? No worries, our buying guide and FAQ section cover everything you need to know.
Best Dog House Heater Guide & FAQ
Unless your dog is a breed that thrives in cold, snowy climates, a house heater is a must-have if he’s spending most of his time outside. When the temperature falls below 45 degrees Fahrenheit or 7 degrees Celsius, most dogs require a source of heat in order to stay warm and healthy. This is especially true for short-haired pups, pregnant and nursing dogs, seniors, and of course, puppies. But how to choose the right dog house heater? From heat lamps for dog houses to heated dog kennels to various dog house kits that offer insulation and warmth in one form or another, the market seems to be full of different types of heaters. It’s no wonder it’s hard to pick the right one!
To help you find the best dog house heater for your pet, we’ve prepared this handy buying guide in which we cover everything you need to know when purchasing a heater. We also answer some of the frequently asked questions about this topic, so make sure you check out the FAQ section as well.
Things to Consider When Buying a Dog House Heater
When choosing a heater, consider the following things.
- Your dog’s breed: as mentioned, some dog breeds tolerate winters really well, while others don’t at all. For instance, Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed, Siberian Husky and other breeds with thick, double-layered coats don’t really need a heater until the temperature falls way below the usual – in fact, they may not need it until the temperature drops around 20°F. On the other hand, Dobermans, Grayhounds, Chihuahuas and other breeds with thin coats, need a quality heater as soon as the temperature falls below 45°F.
- Your dog’s age and weight: body fat is a good insulator so it’s not a surprise that chubbier canines need less protection in order to feel warm compared to than their skinnier counterparts. Of course, this will also depend on the breed and age of your dog – smaller dogs naturally have less body fat than larger dogs (unless they’re overweight, which is something you definitely don’t want as health risks outweigh any potential benefits!), so it’s normal they may need warmer houses to feel comfortable. As for the age of your pet, know that puppies, just like senior dogs, are not able to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as healthy adult dogs, so they need much more protection from the cold.
- The size of the pet house: the smaller your dog’s house, the smaller the heater you need. Generally speaking, if your pet prefers traditional dog houses over garages, porches, etc., it may be a good idea to purchase a heated dog house orf a house that is insulated. This is especially a good idea if your dog likes the cold and is used to it. This way you don’t have to bother with pretty much anything as insulated dog houses offer enough protection and warmth for dogs who are already used to cold weather. If, on the other hand, your pet spends most of her time in larger rooms, a heater is a must-have.
Why Do You Need a Heater For a Dog House?
Unless your dog is a cold-weather breed or spends the entire winter in your house, a heater should be used during low temperatures. Generally speaking, cold weather is not a problem for most adult healthy dogs, but when the temperature falls below 45°F, breeds sensitive to cold might already begin to feel uncomfortable. Once the temperature dips below 32°F, small breed pups, dogs with thin coats, elder canines and very young or sickly pups should be placed in heated rooms, whether that’s your own apartment, a garage or a dog house – it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the room is properly insulated and/or heated. And for that, you’ll usually need a quality dog house heater.
Types of Dog House Heaters
There are many different types of heaters available, so it’s easy to find the model that is just right for you and your pet. These are some of the most popular choices.
- Electric heaters: the most common and popular heaters on the market, most electric heaters are reliable, safe and easy to install. They are usually designed to be mounted on the wall of a dog house or placed on top of a solid object. There are many models available, from smaller ones for small dog houses to larger and more powerful ones for spacious rooms.
- Lamp/bulb heaters: traditionally used for farm animals such as chicken brooders or for reptile terrariums, lamp heaters can also be used for dog houses. Usually, these devices are made from ceramic materials and don’t emit light but infrared heat, or electromagnetic radiation to transfer energy. If you intend to buy this type of a heater, make sure you mount it properly or place it so that your pet is not able to touch it, as some models can become very hot while working (check the instructions on your specific heater though).
- Insulated pet houses: pet houses built with thick walls, usually filled with foam for extra insulation, are popular choices for owners who live in areas with colder climates all year around. These pet houses usually feature thick walls and floors, self-closing doors and solid, thick roofs. Usually, a simple light bulb will raise the temperature inside the house and will be enough, however, during very harsh winters, a heated kennel pad may be necessary.
- Heated beds/pads: there are various models of heated pet beds, but most are thermostatically controlled to heat to the body temperature of the animal lying on it. Although simple in design, these heaters are really convenient as they’re comfortable and just warm enough for most dogs. Even though you could use them outdoors (on your porch for example), these beds are best used indoors, such as in not-too-cold garages, drafty rooms, rooms with tile floors, etc.
Dog House Heater Maintenance
The maintenance of a dog house heater depends on the heater in question. Mountable electric heaters don’t’ require much of a maintenance, but you should check if all the parts are working properly before installing them on your dog’s house. The best way to do this is to use it for one whole day inside your house. This way you’ll be able to see if the device heats properly or overheats too soon.
As for the other types of heaters, such as a heating pet bed, besides checking if it’s working properly before letting your pet sleep on it, you should also clean it with a damp rag from time to time.
Best Dog House Heaters Guide FAQ:
Q: Are dog house heaters safe?
A: Dog heaters are the easiest and most effective way to help your pet stay warm and comfortable during the cold months. They’re also very safe – if installed and used properly. As long as you follow the specific instructions for the installation and usage of the heater you purchase, there’ nothing to worry about. However, it should be said that heaters are not ideal for very small dog houses as there should be some space between the animal and the heater, no matter how well the unit may be designed.
Q: Is the electrical cord protected from dog chewing?
A: Most dog house heaters have protected electrical cords, often wrapped in steel or other material that prevents the dog from ruining it. That said, you should always check the specifics of the heater you’re interested in purchasing as some ultra-cheap models are bound to use poor-quality materials as a means of protection (none of the units on our Top List, though!).
Q: How do I install a dog house heater?
A: Whether the installation of a dog house heater will be difficult or easy depends on the type and model of the heater you buy. Generally speaking though, these devices are easy to install and use, even the mountable ones. Usually, all you’ll have to do is drill a hole through the wall of a pet house so you can feed the cord through it, and then mount the heater as instructed.
Q: How long can a dog hose heater be plugged in?
A: Most kennel heaters are designed to be used 24/7. Saying that, if the weather is not super-cold and your pet’s house is well-insulated, there’s no need to keep the heater working all day long. To prevent the unit from overheating and save on your electric bill, it’s best to use it only when necessary – for example, keep it on during the night and use only when needed during the day.
Q: How warm does it get?
A: How warm the heater can get depends on the type and model of the heater you use. Some heaters come with adjustable thermostats, meaning you can set the temperature as you see fit. Other devices have automatic climate control, while some (heating beds for instance) will warm up only to the animal’s normal body temperature.
Q: Where should I place it?
A: If you purchase a mountable heater, it’s important to mount it as per instructions that come with the unit. Some should be mounted on a wall of the house, while others should be mounted on the roof. Same goes for the heating lamps – just follow the instructions and you’ll be good.
As for heating beds, it’s best to place them somewhere inside as they’re usually not warm enough to protect your pet from super-cold weather.
Our Top Pick
All dog heaters featured on our Top List are fantastic products and whichever one you choose, we’re positive both you and your furry companion will be satisfied. As for our own Top Pick, we chose the AKOMA Hound Heater Dog House Furnace Deluxe as the best dog house heater because of a few important reasons. One, it can be used for heating both big and small dog houses, and two, since it runs only when needed (it automatically adjusts from 30 °F to 100 °F), it saves energy. Another very important factor to note is that this heater is one of the safest units on the market – it comes with an internal high limit switch which shuts down if the heater reaches 210 degrees (this can only happen if the unit is improperly mounted).