In the hot summer sun, your dog needs shelter to protect him from the heat. His dog house is his den, but it is sizzling as an oven when the sun is beating down on it. Take time to provide cooling solutions for your best friend and, when the heat is extreme, don't leave him outside -- he likes air-conditioning as much as you do.
Move the dog house into the shade of a tree or under the eaves of the house. The less sun that hits the dog house, the cooler it stays. If the house is in a dog pen, use shade cloth that screens out at least 70 percent of sunlight and UV rays cover the top and sides of the pen to block the sun. Unlike a tarp, shade cloth allows air circulation while providing shade.
Lift the dog house on to 12-inch square pavers so air circulates under it. Three or four pavers neatly stacked under each corner and in the middle of the dog house provide a stable support and lift it 3 to 4 inches. Alternately, use a 4-by-4 post cut into 6- to 12-inch "feet" and screw them to the bottom or sides of the dog house for a permanent solution.
Add a layer of insulation inside the dog house and cover it with plywood. You will probably have to remove the roof to make the job easier, so add a screened vent or two that you can cover in winter to keep the heat in. Insulation keeps the dog house cooler in summer and warmer in winter, just as your house insulation keeps you cooler and warmer through the seasons.
Small solar-powered exhaust fans can be retrofitted onto a dog house. By pulling the hot stagnant air out of the dog house, the fan increases the air circulation inside. You can also add a cooling bed, which is a mat filled with water. The cooling bed provides a place for the dog to lie down, other than the hot floor of the structure, and helps him stay cooler.
Alternately, add a small window air conditioner to cool the dog house. Place the air conditioner so it blows into the dog house, but not directly onto the dog's bed. Cover the wiring to keep the dog from chewing on it.
While a plastic dog house is durable, unless it is built to accommodate hot and cold climates, it becomes unbearably hot in summer. A wood dog house "breathes" and is easier to cool in summer. It may be easier to simply replace the old dog house with an insulated wood model that already incorporates cooling solutions.
With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.