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DIY pet: How to build a doghouse

If you have extra time these days, perhaps due to the ongoing shelter-in-place order, building a doghouse can be a great way to keep busy and care for your pet. A DIY dog shelter can be fun and rewarding, and you’ll be able to give your canine a haven from the weather and a place to rest. Read on to learn how to construct a DIY doghouse for your four-legged friend.

Types of Doghouses

Provide a safe and proper shelter by choosing the type of doghouse that’s ideal for your canine’s breed and necessities. The following are common types of shelters.

Large Doghouse

All owners want their pooch to be comfortable. If you have a big dog, consider creating a large or extra-large doghouse. These should have wider doors so your pet can easily enter and exit without bumping its head or feeling cramped.

When learning how to build a large doghouse, the first step is to determine the dimensions. Estimate the size of the house in proportion to your canine. Follow this general rule of thumb: The length of the house should equal your dog’s length plus 18 inches. The width should equal your dog’s width plus 12 inches, and the height should be the height of your dog plus nine inches.

Insulated Doghouse

In order to keep your pet warm in the winter and cool in the summer, add insulation. If you’re wondering how to build an insulated doghouse, simply install rigid foam padding in the wall cavities. Be sure the lining is covered with plywood so your canine can’t chew or eat it.

Simple Doghouse

Simple doghouses often include an a-frame (think of Snoopy’s doghouse) or a single-panel flat roof. These straightforward designs are easy to build and ideal for small- to medium-sized dogs.

Tips for Designing a Doghouse

If you’re thinking about creating a palace for your pooch, keep these basic principles in mind:

  • The canine’s size. The doghouse should be big enough to allow your pet to turn around and stretch its limbs fully.
  • The dog’s habits. Does your pup like to keep tabs on its surroundings? An outdoor house with a flat roof can ensure full visibility. Does your pet have a tendency to overheat? If so, avoid lining the roof with shingles, since they can attract and retain heat from the sun. Instead, opt for exterior plywood panels and treat them with a nontoxic stain.
  • The climate. Consider raising the floor a few inches above the ground to prevent water from seeping in when it rains.

How to Construct a Doghouse

Follow these steps to make your DIY dog shelter a reality.

1. Design and print your doghouse plans.

2. Gather tools and materials, such as plywood, screws, box nails, wood siding and roof shingles.

3. Transfer the dimensions from the doghouse plans to the plywood, then carefully cut out the pieces with a saw. Be sure to wear a dust mask. Sand the edges to remove any rough spots and splinters.

4. Construct the floor. Create a frame for the base and nail down the flooring material, similar to how you might install flooring in a house.

5. Add the walls and secure with screws—nails have a tendency to back out over time.

6. Attach the roof panels, again using screws.

7. Shingle the roof or use exterior plywood panels. Make sure that the roofing nails do not protrude into the interior, so they don’t harm your pet.

8. Finish the doghouse with a low-VOC exterior stain or paint.

Constructing a safe and attractive doghouse doesn’t have to be a complicated process. By following these useful tips and steps, you can build your best buddy a durable, cozy space.

Editor’s Note: With so many dog breeds to choose from, trying to find the right fit for your home and family can be overwhelming. Here are tips for finding the right-sized dog for you.


Figo is committed to helping pets and their families enjoy their lives together by fusing innovative technology—the first-of-its-kind Figo Pet Cloud—and the industry’s most comprehensive pet insurance plans.

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