When the weather turns cold, the best place for your dog is inside with his family. If that isn't an option, it's important to take precautions to keep your dog warm and safe during the bitter winter months. Sadly, cold weather claims the lives of many pets whose accommodations are not suitable to fend off the chill of winter.
Why Choose Igloo
The word igloo, from the Inuit word "iglu," meaning "house," is derived from the Inuit tribe inhabiting the far reaches of northern Canada. The igloo design served the needs of the Inuit by creating a safe shelter from the fierce Canadian winds. Igloo dog houses share in these similarities in that they are designed to keep dogs warm in winter weather. Their rounded dome shape and elongated tunnel entrance allows a dog to stay warm utilizing its own body heat. Igloo houses are made of sturdy foam that helps stave off the brutal cold that may leach into shelters constructed from other materials.
Igloo dog houses are naturally insulated by the hard foam with which they're constructed. Raising the dog house onto a pallet or concrete blocks will further insulate the house and keep the cold from seeping in from the ground below. Bedding also provides insulation, and straw is the best choice. Fabric bedding, such as blankets, quilts and towels, should be avoided, especially in snowy terrains. Dogs move in and out of their dog houses, and tracked-in snow can turn a warm blanket into a freezing and soggy mess.
The best form of insulation is your dog's own body heat. Selecting the right size Igloo house for your dog is imperative. His house should be no larger than what is required for him to be able to stand, turn, lie down and sleep comfortably. If you live in an area of extreme cold, consider heating the dog house, or the dog's bed. Dog house heaters and heated dog beds are available online and at pet product retailers.
When in Doubt, Don't Leave Him Out
Igloo houses are designed to withstand temperatures far below zero, but during times of severe weather, dogs should be brought inside whenever possible. Small breed dogs, dogs of lean build and older dogs, especially those that are arthritic, are especially susceptible to the bitter, winter cold. Hypothermia can set in quickly, and even the healthiest dogs can succumb to the effects of the brutal cold. Keeping your dog happy, healthy and warm is easy with the proper tools and preparation. Your dog deserves to be protected from whatever Mother Nature has to offer. He is man's best friend, after all.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images