Solar-Heated Dog Houses – Buying Guide, Benefits & Types

Solar-Heated Dog Houses

No doubt dogs are great at keeping themselves warm as their fur is a fantastic insulator that maintains their body temperature. With that said, even dogs might need a bit of heat in the chilly winters. If you’re one for going green, then a solar-heated dog house can keep your dogs comfortable without increasing the carbon footprint.

It’s true that dogs often don’t need artificially produced heat. However, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that you shouldn’t expose dogs to a temperature under 45 degrees Fahrenheit for over 4 hours. This is especially important for outdoor dogs. Now, we don’t judge you for keeping your pooch outdoors because everyone has his reasons. But it’s your responsibility to provide your outdoor mutt a nice, warm enclosure. Solar-heated houses for dogs are a great option for just that.

If the temperature is well below 45 degrees, then you’ll certainly need an artificial heating method for your dog. Especially for small dog breeds and puppies! But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to teach you how to keep your dog warm by using solar energy and list some of the best solar-heating methods for your pooch.

What is a Solar-Heated Dog House?

Solar-heated dog houses use infrared radiations from sunlight to produce heat within the kennel. There are a number of different types of solar-powered dog houses so how they do that varies.

Some of these dog houses use an absorptive floor that retains solar heat while others use solar panels. We’ll be discussing all these types in detail as we proceed.

Regardless of which type of solar heating your dog house has, one thing’s for sure. All solar-heated kennels are insulated as well. That’s because we need to retain heat inside them. If the house isn’t that good an insulator, it would dissipate all the heat that we’re trying so hard to retain.

Regular Dog House vs Solar Heated Dog House

Before we go into the types of solar-powered houses for dogs, it’s important to first understand how they differ from regular dog houses. Dog owners usually place regular dog houses outdoors. Manufacturers use sturdy, weather-proof materials in these houses so they can withstand the elements. From its materials down to the paint, everything is chosen with caution.

On the other hand, dog houses with solar heat are every bit like regular ones, albeit with the addition of a solar heating method. So, with them, you’ll have an extremely sturdy and insulated dog house that uses solar heat energy to keep your pooch warm.

Types of Solar-Heated Kennels

There are a number of different types of dog houses with solar heating mechanisms. Which type you choose depends on your needs, budget, and whether you’re up for a bit of DIY.

Thermal Mass Base

This is one of the most simple solar-heated houses for dogs. In these types of dog houses, you use a thermal mass as the floor. What the thermal mass does is retain heat during the day. At night, the thermal mass slowly dissipates heat which maintains your dog’s body temperature. Usually, dog owners use a concrete pad as the thermal mass.

This is especially useful for dogs that only need a bit of heat for the night. It’s obvious that this won’t be as efficient as a proper solar panel apparatus. But it’s still a cost-effective and simple method. However, bear in mind that you should cover the thermal mass in the summers to avoid overheating.

Passive Solar Enclosure

This is an innovative idea for someone who wants effective heating without having to purchase a solar heater. The idea is that you attach a kind of greenhouse to your dog’s enclosure so that the heat rays can’t escape. This greenhouse has a thermal mass at the bottom.

As a result, the thermal mass heats up and provides warmth. During the night, you can cover the greenhouse so that it retains warmth and allows your dog to enjoy the heated thermal mass in the chilly night.

During the summers, you’d want to keep the greenhouse covered at all times so as to avoid overheating or burning your dog.

Solar Panel System

This makes for one of the most effective solar heated dog houses. But at the same time, it costs more and is a technical process as well.

For a solar panel system, you’d want the panels mounted at the top of the dog house or somewhere beside it. Once these panels would absorb heat, this energy would be passed through a network of tubes that are filled with water. Now, these water-filled tubes create a webbing under the thermal mass and serve to heat it throughout.

In the winters, you’ll have to add a bit of glycol to the water so it doesn’t freeze. Regardless, this is one of the most efficient methods of creating a kind of heated dog bed.

how solar panels work
Diagram of how a solar panel system works! (via SanTan Solar)

Solar Dog House Heater

I wish manufacturers were selling these online, but currently, you’ll have to make one yourself. Even though that’s technical, it’s nothing that a DIY enthusiast can’t manage.

For this, you’ll need the following:

  • 100 Watt solar panel
  • 300 Watt solar inverter charger
  • 12 Volt battery
  • Power grid

The solar panel is used for absorbing heat. This is the energy that drives your heater. In order to convert that solar energy into electricity, you’ll use a solar inverter charger.

Now, the basic use of a solar dog house heater is for the night. So, in order to store electrical energy for the night, you’ll use a 12 Volt battery. Lastly, the power grid is where you’ll plug in a regular dog house heater that you can purchase from a pet store or online.

Benefits of Having a Solar-Heated Dog House

If you’re looking to heat your dog house with solar energy, then you wouldn’t want to miss out on this section. Here are a few benefits of having a solar-powered dog house:

Keep Your Dog Warm in the Winters

This is the first and most obvious benefit of solar-heated dog houses. As we mentioned, dogs do need a bit of warmth when the mercury drops below 40 degrees. Newborn puppies also require a heating source if the outside temperature is too low.

Solar heat for dog houses provides a natural and cost-effective way to provide warmth to your canine buddies.

You Save The World

According to estimates provided by research, there would be no fossil fuel except coal available after 2042, and that too will run out by 2112. That is if we keep depleting our fossil fuels at the current rate. There’s an immediate need to act now so we can save the world from running out of fuel.

The first step to doing so is using substitute energy sources like solar energy. Even though manufacturers aren’t making a lot of commercial products in the space, many green enthusiasts are installing solar panels themselves or using passive solar methods to heat their dog houses.

Save Money in the Long Run

Who doesn’t like saving money, eh? Providing solar heat to your dog is a great way of giving the little guy his share of heat without breaking the bank.

If you’re just going to use a thermal material at the bottom of your dog house, then it won’t cost you a lot. On the other hand, if you go with proper solar panels, then there’s a significant amount of initial investment involved. However, they would save you loads in the months and years to come.

A Fun DIY Project

Well, if you’re a DIY fan who loves taking on a fine challenge over the weekend, then this is your thing. Providing your dogs with a means for solar heat can prove to be a fun DIY project. Just make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

Breeders talk about keeping dogs warm during subzero and coldest days
Breeders talk about keeping dogs warm during subzero and coldest days.

FAQs About Solar-Heated Dog Houses

Solar heated houses for dogs are a relatively new and undiscovered realm. So, it’s natural for dog owners to have lots of questions and confusion about them.

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about solar-heated houses for dogs.

Why do dogs need heat?

Generally, dog fur is a good enough insulator to keep your mutt warm. However, this doesn’t stand true for all dogs and temperatures.

When the temperature drops below 40, dogs that are sensitive to cold start feeling uncomfortable. With that said, any temperature below 20 degrees is alarming for all types of dogs. So, if you live in an awfully cold location, then your dogs would definitely need heat. Also, puppies are at a greater risk of hypothermia, so you’d want to give them special consideration.

Is a heat lamp safe for my dog?

Usually, heat lamps are completely safe for dogs. But like everything hot, there are certain precautionary measures that you need to take for them. Firstly, make sure the lamp isn’t too close to your mutt. If it is, then it might burn your dog.

Also, when you use a heat lamp for kennels, make sure you’re keeping a good eye on your dog. If he looks distressed, then you’d want to turn it off as he might be feeling overheated.

Will a light bulb help heat my dog?

A properly installed light bulb in a small dog house could provide a bit of warmth. However, it won’t be much of an effective heating method. According to a rough estimate, a 60-75 Watt bulb should produce about 240 kJ of heat.

Now, that’s not a lot. But a little canine in a small dog house would feel comfortable with such a heat source.

Can my dog get burned with heat lamps?

Yes, dogs can get burned with heat lamps. So, you should always make sure that their’s a significant distance between the lamp and your dog. Whenever in doubt, it’s better to keep the lamp farther away than too close.

I’d recommend that you keep checking on your dog the first day you install a heat lamp for the dog house. See if he feels comfortable. Obvious signs like shivering or moving towards the lamp can signal that your dog feels cold. On the other hand, a distressed dog that’s moving away from the heat lamp would need it turned off or pulled farther away.

Is a dog heater safe for an outdoor dog house?

Dog house heaters are one of the most common heating methods for outdoor dog houses. So with that in mind, kennel heaters are indeed safe for dogs. Most of the top manufacturers keep your dog’s health in mind when making these heaters. Any danger that your dog might be in due to dog heaters would probably be due to your negligence.

Make sure you’re giving your dog enough space from the heater and that you aren’t overheating the outdoor dog house. If you don’t like heaters, then a dog house with solar heat might be the right option for you.

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