Heated dog houses have a branding problem. For the most part, heated dog houses are not heated, or at least like we heat our homes. From $500 to $50, most options are built to insulate and keep a small space warm through your pup's natural warmth first and foremost. Using electricity, gas or batteries to heat a dog house can be effective, but it can also be dangerous if a dog has a go at the wiring in the middle of the night or knocks a tank over. Here's what to look for in a heated dog house and which ones to buy.
Related: Best Gifts for Dog Owners
What to look for in a heated dog house
Raised floors: Though a dog house planted firmly on the ground will be better insulated from below, it's also then subject to the perils of cold weather precipitation. If it rains or sleets or your dog has to pee and doesn't want to go out in the cold to do it, a dog house with a base fixed to the ground will not be livable in the colder months. Being dry is a pre-requisite for warmth.
Material matters: Most dog houses built to withstand cold weather are made with wood or thick plastic and may include an added layer of insulation material like EPS foam.
In through the out door: A door or design feature meant to keep biting, cold winds out of your dog's bed room is absolutely essential.
Insulation over electricity: What you'll find in this guide and in the "heated" dog house market is that there aren't many options for dog houses artificially heated with electricity, gas or batteries. The reasons are many, but it generally comes down to cost and safety. With the exception of extreme cold, most outdoor dog breeds get by comfortably in a dog house built with insulating material, a door of some kind and and elevated base.
Extreme cold protection not included: If you're looking to keep your dogs outside in a place where the temperature drops way low on a regular basis you'll need more than just a dog house. Consider thermostatic dog beds (they get warm when the dog sits on them) for the house or even a dog house-specific heater (this one comes with chew-resistant cords). Remember that dogs, even those with winter-ready coats, are susceptible to similar low temperature risks humans are, including hypothermia. Leaving a dog outside in the cold can be considered neglect, which is a misdemeanor crime in all 50 states.
The Dogloo is one of the most popular budget-minded heated dog house options. The floor is raised off the ground and it's equipped with tiny drainage moats that run around the inside of the structure. The doorway is open but offset slightly to give your pup reasonable escape from rain, wind and snow. The dome shape is also useful for snowy and rainy weather, shedding precipitation naturally over time.
A simpler and more affordable take on the dog house. There isn't a door obstruction to block wind, so we don't recommend this setup for a backyard that gets a lot of wind, but it checks our other boxes nicely. The floor is elevated off the ground and the floorboards come out for easy cleaning (the roof swings open as well).
Equipped with walls and floorboards that are more than 1-inch thick, Aivituvin's dog kennel is heated naturally by your dog's body heat. The structure is wood with foam inside of it to beef up its insulation capabilities. Elsewhere, nice-to-have features like a chew-resistant aluminum-lined door and a divider panel to keep the wind off your dog abound.
Pet Imperial's dog house checks just about every box. It's got four legs to hold the house above the ground, and its feet are individually height-adjustable, meaning it can remain level even if your backyard is on a slight gradient. The construction is solid wood and insulation is bolstered by layers of plywood Styrofoam. It's also got a simple flap door and the floorboards come out for easy cleaning.
Made of molded plastic filled with two to four inches of EPS foam per panel, ASL Solution's palace for dogs is definitely on the premium end of the dog house market. It's lifted off the ground and it has a self-closing door to block of wind and rain. According to the brand, the insulation is so effective the interior of the house (when your dog is inside) is, on average, 25 degrees warmer than the outside temp. This means it's a cozy 70 degrees in your dog's bedroom when the weather dips into the 40s, and so on.
The high price reflects the size and quality of the Dog Palace. Instead of a plastic flap door the door is made of the same heavy, insulated molded plastic as the rest of the structure (the lower panel of the door can be flipped out to work as a window during warmer months, too). Instead of using Styrofoam, the Dog Palace uses EPS insulation, which has been used to insulated flat boards and beams for more than 70 years. The floor is raised four inches off the ground and is ever so slightly angled so cleaning is as simple as hosing out the inside and waiting for the water to escape through a small drain hole.