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How to Heat Up a Dog House Without Electricity

Written by Laura
Laura is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Thursday 29 October 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how to heat up a dog house without electricity
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No one likes to sleep in the cold, and dogs are no exception. But if your dog doesn’t sleep indoors, you need to take extra steps to keep them comfy and cozy outside. Heaters powered by electricity might be the easiest way to do this, but it’s not an option for everyone. So, how do we go about heating a dog house without electricity?

Well, good news.

Non-electric dog house heating doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated to install. In this article, we will look at the simplest and most effective ways to heat up your dog house without electricity, ensuring complete warmth and safety overnight.

Can You Heat Up a Dog House Without Electricity?

Electricity is great, but it can be dangerous for dogs who like to chew cables, or maybe you just don’t want the hassle of all that wiring. Either way, if you can’t or don’t want to use electricity in your dog house, there are several ways to heat one up without it, involving proper insulation, solar heating, thermal beds, and more.

Why do Dog Houses Need to be Heated?

Despite their warm, fluffy coats, dogs can feel the cold just as much as the rest of us. And when sleeping outside, they need extra protection from those harsh winter temperatures. Spending a significant period of time outdoors in conditions below 50°F can cause your dog’s body temperature to lower beneath what’s safe. This can lead to hypothermia and frostbites (on ears and paws), a potentially life-threatening condition that can cause the body’s organs to shut down. The cold also worsens the painful symptoms of arthritis in older dogs.

Signs of hypothermia include shivering, muscle weakness, mental dullness, and shallow breathing. Dogs with severe cases may also have an inaudible heartbeat, dilated, fixed pupils, and fall into unconsciousness. Dogs with hypothermia must be warmed up with blankets until they can be seen by a vet (as soon as possible) for proper insulation, IV fluids, and possibly oxygen.

To keep track of the temperature of your dog house, consider installing a thermometer on the wall. It’s equally important to make sure you don’t overheat it. If it’s too hot, your dog won’t be able to regulate his body temperature and he will overheat. This is just as dangerous and life-threatening as getting too cold. Keep your dog house above 50°F, and below 75°F.

How to Heat Up a Dog House Without Electricity?

Let’s take a look at the internal & external heating methods available to you and your four legged friend.


You can buy readily heated or insulated dog houses for a reasonable price. But you can also insulate the one you already have. Especially if you already have a pricey dog house that your dog loves to sleep in.

If your dog house is made from wood or plastic, congratulations! These are the best outer materials for warmth. Proper insulation comes from using materials that trap the heat inside and stop it from getting out, and foam is the best thing to use.

To insulate your dog house, cover the wall frames, roof frames, and floor joists, with 1-inch thick foam boards or spray. Because cold air falls, the ground is always the coldest place. So, carpeting the floor of your dog house will also help to keep the cold from the outside ground out and make a huge difference.

Foam insulation is easy to install and a perfectly safe, and non-toxic material. However, it is quite expensive and also soundproof. So, if your dog hurts themselves and needs you in the middle of the night, you might not be able to hear them woofing or crying. If this worries you, you could invest in a pet camera that alerts you when your dog is making noises and lets you see what’s going on.

Alternatively, you could use carpet all over the inside of your dog house for a cheaper, mildly less effective method of insulation, or a durable type of reflective foil.

Patch the Gaps

It probably goes without saying, but patching any gaps that are in your dog house is the first step to proper insulation. Again, foam is the best material to use, but anything that covers the gaps will vastly improve the warmth of your dog’s house.

If any gaps are within reach of your dog, maybe use wood or something less tempting to chew, as the foam is a potential choking hazard.

Add a Dog Door

Dog houses typically don’t have a door: just a big gap that your dog can use to walk in and out. But this lets out all of the heat and lets cold air and wind in. Adding a dog flap will ensure no heat is lost throughout the night, it also keeps your dog nice and safe. They are also very affordable and easy to install.


Though you can buy reasonably priced readily solar-heated dog houses, you can also buy some solar panels and fit them to the dog house you already have. This is a much cheaper option and they attach very easily. Just make sure the house is in a place where it gets a lot of light during the day time, and the panels will heat up the house internally all night long.

Alternatively, you could try a battery-operated heater. They aren’t nearly as effective as electric heaters, but they get the job done and are a lot safer for dogs. Keep in mind, though, you will go through a lot of batteries.

Gas heaters are also an option, but probably not the safest one for pets as they pose a huge fire hazard if covered or knocked over. With any method of heating, you might want to invest in something that is thermostatically controlled to ensure the temperature never goes above what is safe and comfortable for your dog.

Thermal or Self-heating Dog Beds

If you’re wondering what to put in a dog house for bedding, thermal and self-heating beds and blankets are a very inexpensive way to create a lovely, warm, cozy environment for your dog inside their little house. They are the perfect dog beds for winter and work by absorbing the heat that naturally emanates from your dog’s body, trapping it inside and radiating it out.

heat up a dog house
You can use dog beds to keep your pup warm during the winter.

Microwaveable Cushions

This is more of a temporary way to heat up a dog house, but it’s still effective in short bursts. Simply put these cushions in your microwave for a couple of minutes and place them on your dog’s bed. They absorb the heat and radiate it out again – but only for a short time.

They need to be reheated every hour or so, so it’s not really for overnight use. But if you just want something cheap that will keep your dog house heated while he hangs out alone for a couple of hours – they’re great!

External Methods

Externally, there are also things you can do. For example, painting your dog house a dark color will attract the heat, and placing it in a spot in your garden where the sun shines on it regularly will help to soak up natural warmth.

There are a few ways you can use placement to improve the heat of your dog house. Weather damage makes it less insulated over time. So to limit and prevent this, you could move it under some kind of shelter. And, again, cold air falls; elevating your dog house off of the cold garden ground is an effortless way to keep it warmer in there. If you have decking, for example, this would be the perfect place the put it.

However, the easiest way to keep your dog house warm is by moving it into yours! But if you don’t want your dog sleeping in your house, moving it as close as possible will also help. Your home exudes warmth and will keep the dog house, and your dog, nice and cozy.

Dog House Insulation FAQ

Here are a couple of commonly asked questions about insulating a dog house for wintertime.

What is the best way to heat up a dog house?

First and foremost, insulation. Properly insulating a dog house by patching up any gaps, adding a dog door, lining the wall frames, roof frames, and floor joists with foam, and carpeting the floor is the only way to ensure consistent warmth in your dog house. Additionally, buying your dog a thermal, self-heating bed and possibly adding a safe heater or some solar panels. Placing your dog’s house as close to yours as possible, or somewhere it will get regular sunlight, and painting it a dark color are also other ways you can externally warm up your dog house.

Can you have heat without electricity?

With proper insulation, a thermal bed, and making sure you put it in the right place, you can heat up a dog house safely and sufficiently without electricity.

Do igloo dog houses keep dogs warm?

Igloo houses are a great choice of dog house when trying to keep your dog cozy and warm. They have thicker walls that keep the heat in and raised floors to keep that cold outdoor ground away from your dog.

What have you found to be the best methods of insulation and heating up a dog house without electricity? Let us know in the comments below. If you came for tips, tell us which methods you’re going to try out!

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