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How To Insulate a Dog House – Best Materials, Tips & FAQ

Written by Khalil
Khalil is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Published on
Wednesday 4 November 2020
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how to insulate a dog house
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Insulating a dog house is essential to keep out the cold and maintain your dog’s body temperature. Most people like to keep their dogs inside the house with them. Some prefer to build them a dog house so that their pooches have a place of their own. Just like people, dogs need their place to protect themselves from the chilly wind in the winter. A drastic variation in temperature is intolerable for most dogs.

They also need shelter when it is raining cats and dogs. Moreover, a shady place to protect them from the sun is also a must. A basic kennel does deflect rain and wind but it does nothing to hold in heat. Dog house insulation, along with dry and warm bedding, give your pampered pup the perfect interior to enjoy itself.

How to Insulate a Dog House

Insulating an outdoor dog house is easier than you’d think. All you need is a motivated and resourceful pet owner. There are a wide variety of dog house ideas available along with many types of insulating materials. You can use something as cheap as bubble wrap or go for the relatively expensive spray foam. The guiding principle is keeping the wind out and the heat in. Firstly, try to select a good location e.g. near the wall of your house. Your doghouse should not directly be in the wind or sunlight’s path. Make sure that you insulate every aspect of the insides.

The walls and the ceiling should be covered with insulation. Any gaps between the walls and the insulation ought to be filled up. You must also not forget about the floor. It is the part that the dog comes most into contact with. Try to raise up the kennel to avoid direct contact with the cold and damp ground. Make sure to use a flap door with insulation both on the inside and outside panels. It will conserve a lot of heat and be dog-friendly too.

Moreover, put up some nice and warm bedding for the dog to lay on. It’ll capture the heat and be comfortable at the same time. Don’t forget paneling up the insulation so that your dog doesn’t start chewing it. If all of this sounds too taxing to you, then you might want to consider checking out our list of the best dog houses for winter. With that said, let’s get into a little detail about how to insulate a dog house.

Which Materials Should You Use to Insulate the Dog House?

There is a wide variety of materials available for insulating a dog house. Whether you want to retain as much heat as possible or lower the use of an external kennel heater or heating pad, insulation is key.

Some can be used for exterior insulation while others serve for interior insulation. Some can also be used as a flap on the entrance to block the wind. Let’s run through a list of the most popular and effective insulation materials.

Fiberglass Insulation

The pink fiberglass is among the best insulation materials on this list. It is affordable and easy to install. Fiberglass insulated dog kennels are among the coziest in town. What’s more, fiberglass has one of the highest R values in building materials (a parameter for heat insulation, High R-value = better insulation). You can also easily cut it using high-duty scissors rather than creating a mess while using a saw.

Conversely, fiberglass is quite irritating for the skin and lungs (airborne fibers). Hence, you need to wear gloves and a mask while working with it. You also need to cover it with paneling to prevent your dog from coming into contact with it. Moreover, it is easily damaged by moisture so, covering it up is important to prevent that too.

Reflective Coil

Reflective coil is the best choice for a lot of pet owners owing to its effectiveness, affordability, and user-friendliness. It is also lightweight, non-toxic, and serves as a vapor barrier. You can simply carve up a piece of reflective coil and use it as you like.

Furthermore, it can easily be used along with other insulation materials. You can simply attach it to fiberglass and then hide them behind wooden or plastic panels. Similarly, it is also used together with bubble wrap. Both materials used together add up their insulation properties (and R values). The result is a happy owner and a cozy tenant.

Foil Bubble Wrap

It is based on a concept as effective as it is simple. The wrap uses the same principle as your blanket. Air bubbles are trapped across a sheet and provide great insulation from variations of temperature across it. However, this is not your average bubble wrap. This is a specialized variety that combines the simple wrap with a layer of aluminum foil. It is specially designed for insulation purposes. However, you still have to cover it up with panels to avoid bored Butch chomping on it.

Polystyrene Foam

Polystyrene foam or Styrofoam is also one of the best available insulating materials for dog houses. It is cheap, easy to use and readily available. They are available in different thicknesses. A half-inch foam gives you an R-value of 2.5 and you easily fold it and double it up to give an excellent R-value of 5.

However, it is not the most durable of materials and can deteriorate quickly if exposed. It also needs to be paneled to prevent your dog from ingesting any of it.

Spray Foam Insulation

If you’ve got a little cash at hand and want to go the posh route, get spray foam. It is easy to use and expands to fill the space. Moreover, it also resists moisture and mold growth. You just have to put up the panels along the inner side and spray in the space between them. If your kennel already has inner and outer walls, you can forego the paneling and just spray between the layers.

On the other side, there is the risk of spray foam shrinking over time. Its application also requires planning and experience as it expands quickly.


Using pieces of carpet is another innovative method of insulation and recycling. You can get them at cheaper prices if you don’t mind getting any size or print. They can be easily stapled or glued to the insides and the floor of the kennel. Some people even hang them from cup hooks on the outer walls so as to break the impact of wind. Dog flaps can also be insulated by stapling their insides with an appropriate carpet piece.


Wood is not the best of insulators for insulating a dog kennel. But you can still cut up panels for all the walls and the roof and fix them up on the insides. We’d also advise using a water sealant to improve insulation and help the wood last longer. You should use softer woods like cedar lumber because they contain a greater number of air pockets.

Wooden kennels are not necessarily bad and out of most commercial options, wooden dog houses are probably the best against plastic or worse, meshed metal wires.

insulating a dog house
Wood is not the best for insulating a dog house.

Tips on Insulating a Dog House

All dog owners love their pets and want them to have a consistently good time. Here are some useful tips about dog house insulation, just for them.

Repair Damages

Building a kennel is not exactly an easy job. Once you’re done, you also have to maintain it. Keeping a kennel, just like keeping a dog, is always a work in progress. You should constantly be on the lookout for any holes or cracks.

Regular inspections of both the insides and outsides of the dog house should be carried out. These can lead to the wastage of all the effort that you put in for insulating the kennel. Hence, a solitary hole or a single crack can prove to be the difference between a comfortable sleep and hypothermia. As soon as you find any damage, repair it. You can easily fill up any hole with spray foam. Any laziness in this regard could have dire consequences for your pup.

Don’t Forget the Floors

Many people fail to notice that the floor, after the door, is among the biggest sources of heat loss. The dog’s body and paws come into direct contact with it which is why a cold floor can easily lead to hypothermia and frostbites.

Raising the dog house is a great way of protecting your pooch from the bone-rattling cold. Surfaces such as concrete and grass are poor insulators as they fail to deny entry to cold and moisture. You can easily use joists or a couple of 2 x 4 pieces to make a platform for the doghouse. It is a cheap and effective method. Building your kennel on a verandah is another way to avoid the cold seeping through the floor.

Some of the best materials for covering the floor include a cold-weather dog bed, carpet, and rugs. You could also use straw (dogs love them) with a thick thermal blanket.

Doggie Flap Door

Flap doors are a great addition to your dog house. They prevent wind and rain from entering while providing an easy route of entry for your dog. However, they can also lead to the loss of heat if not properly insulated. This can prove fatal for older and smaller dogs.

The outer aspect can be covered with a PVC curtain and the inner side can be stapled to a fabric curtain. This will greatly reduce the amount of heat lost while not obstructing your dog’s entry. You can make them at home or buy one online, choosing whatever is best for you.

Check for Nails and Screws

Another important aspect of building an insulated dog house is making sure that no nails, screws, or splinters are sticking out. Such splinters often prick your pooch’s skin. The underside of the paws is a common site for such an injury.

You shouldn’t take splinters lightly as they can lead to infection and an unwelcome visit to the vet. Hence, it is better to take out any nails or hammer them in properly. Similarly, try to make the wooden panels as smooth as possible to avoid any injuries through the splinters. This is the last thing you want for your dog.

Kennel Insulation – FAQ

So, there you have it! We tried covering all there is about insulating a dog kennel. However, you might still have a few questions in mind. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions on this topic by our readers.

How do you build a dog house for the winter?

First, select a suitable location that provides some cover from the wind and snow. You can use fiberglass, foil bubble wrap, reflective coil, and spray foam to insulate the interior. These materials should be placed between the walls and panels to stop your dog from eating them. Similarly, you can protect the floor from the cold by raising it up using joists or 2×4s.

You should put up some nice and warm bedding as well. The door should be a dog flap with insulation both on its inside and outside.

What should I put in my dog house in the winter?

You can use a variety of readily available and cheap materials. They include fiberglass, Styrofoam, reflective coil, and foil bubble wrap. All of them provide great insulation with fiberglass having great R value (higher the value, better the insulation). You can also use many of these materials to combine their insulating properties. Spray foam is another alternative for a quick fix.

You can buy dog house flap doors online that are dog-friendly and heat-conserving at the same time. Also, nice and warm bedding will serve to protect your dog from the cold floor. Finally, you can also use dog-safe red bulbs with guards attached to give your furry sweetheart some extra warmth.

What is the best thing to put in a dog house for warmth?

With that done, your dog produces enough body heat to keep itself comfortable most of the time. However, you can also have additional sources for some extra heat.

Incandescent bulbs can be used if the ceiling is high enough to prevent the dog from reaching it. A red bulb (with a fire-proof guard) works better as it does not interfere with your dog’s sleep. You could also use a dryer hose to transfer some of the heat from your house to the kennel. You can also use “Plug and Play” heaters. Just make sure that your dog isn’t chewing the wire.

The first step should always be to eliminate any source of heat loss and wind entry such as a hole or a crack. Your dog house should be appropriately insulated with materials such as fiberglass, Styrofoam, or foil bubble wrap.

Now you know how to insulate a dog house. Why not go do so now so this winter, your dog is snuggly inside and out.

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