If circumstances dictate that your dog be outdoors during the day, you'll want to get him the best doghouse you can find. You may be debating whether he'll be better off with a basic wooden doghouse or if you should spring for the plastic, igloo-shaped house. It's a tough decision because both have practical features and are capable of keeping your pooch comfortable and out of the weather.
When it comes to durability, the igloo doghouses have an advantage over wooden houses. Igloos are made from structural foam that provides a natural insulating effect. It's also long-lasting and weatherproof, meaning that drafts, rain and snow won't seep in to cause your dog discomfort or damage the house. Doghouses that are made from a natural material like wood can become weather damaged. This can open the door for drafts and moisture to get inside and can lead the structure to deteriorate. Additionally, the synthetic material used to make igloos is resistant to mold, mildew and bacteria, a feature that wood cannot match without being treated.
Having the floor of your dog's house elevated at least 2 inches off the ground is necessary to give your dog a buffer from the ground temperature. Igloo doghouses are constructed with raised floors but you might need to build up a wooden house if the floor sits on the ground. This not only provides a comfort barrier, it also keeps the floor of a wooden house from rotting.
Proper ventilation is necessary in any doghouse to ensure that your dog gets fresh air. Airflow shouldn't be a problem with either a dog igloo or a wooden doghouse. Igloos have an adjustable chimney vent that allows you to control the air circulation and avoid humidity buildup. Newer models of commercially constructed wooden doghouses also come with vents in the roof. If you have an older wooden doghouse or it's one you constructed yourself, you should install vents to improve air circulation.
Wooden houses are higher-maintenance abodes for dogs. The synthetic igloos are all-weather and don't need much more than an exterior washing to keep them looking presentable. Wooden houses, though, must be weather-proofed, at least with stain and a water sealer that should be applied annually. In her 2005 book "The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know", Tracie Hotchner recommends painting wooden doghouses with dark-colored paint in the winter to help them absorb heat and then repainting them with light-colored paint in the summer so that they deflect heat.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.