If you don't want your wife and kids to cry to let the dog into the house during the cold winter months, you'd better learn how to build a dog house that's heated. A heated dog house will keep your pooch comfortable and, better yet, will get you off the hook with your more soft-hearted family members. A dog that is supposed to sleep outside should never be allowed to sleep inside the house. The dog should be acclimated to sleeping outside as winter approaches, so that he develops a tolerance to the temperature and develops an appropriate coat. This is the reason you can staunchly assure your family that letting the dog inside for "just one night" will do him more harm than good. (Of course, if it gets extremely cold where you live, you might want to break down enough to put the heated dog house inside your garage).
There are many heating mats on the market to make your dog house toasty, but why bother with those? A real man makes his own dog house heater; it requires little money and time.
To make your dog house heated, you will need:
- A light fixture rated for outdoor use.
- A coffee can, or other metal can big enough to fit around your light with a little room to spare.
- Conduit to run the wire from the fixture to the power outlet. (Can't have Fido chewing the wires and frying himself, very bad for the "good dad" image.)
- Screwdriver, screws, and a drill. (Of course power is best, need you ask?)
- Saw. A hole saw is ideal, but any small saw will work.
- Roofing tar or something similar to keep the elements out of the hole you just sawed in the dog house roof.
- Place the light fixture against the roof and trace the size of hole you need to cut. Cut the hole just large enough to get the light fixture into the dog house. Attach the fixture and screw in the bulb. Run the wire from the fixture through conduit to reach the outlet.
- Punch or drill a few holes in the body of the coffee can. Drill holes around the top of the coffee can so that you can attach it to the dog house ceiling. Use the wire to make loops through the holes at the top of the can and attach them to screws in the roof. Use short screws so that they don't go through the ceiling and put new holes in the roof. The coffee can will act as a radiating heater, absorbing the heat from the light and dispersing it into the dog house.
- Use the roofing tar to seal around the light fixture. Seal any gaps or holes to keep the heat in the dog house and the rain and snow out. Put some fresh cedar chips in the dog house to make it cozy. Sit down, enjoy a beer, and admire your handiwork.