How to Heat a Dog House Without Electricity [Simple Methods]

Heating a dog house is usually an easy task…when you have electricity, that is! If you want to heat a dog house without electricity, things become a bit more complicated. To make matters worse, if you’ve done some research on this topic, you’ve probably noticed many sources talking about methods that are way too complicated, such as piping heat from your house to the dog house or pumping hot water from your house to the dog house.

dogs need to stay warm in their dog house even if you don't have electricity

Although methods like that can work, it takes a lot of skill that most of us don’t have. So for those of you who are looking for practical methods to heat a dog house without electricity, we’ve got you covered.

Heating a dog house without electricity comes down to two things.

  1. Finding non-electrical sources to produce heat
  2. Trapping the heat

To produce heat, you can make sure the dog house is exposed to the sun, use a microwavable cushion, thermal dog pad, or put rice in a sock and microwave it. To trap the heat, you can insulate the dog house, raise it a few inches off the floor, use straw as flooring, use a flap on the door, and patch up any holes.

We will go into more detail on all these methods below. But before we get into the details, it’s important to mention that you won’t be able to heat a dog house as much without electricity as you would be able to with electricity. Although the methods we will discuss can help, if it’s frigid temperature outside, it might be best to bring your dog inside.

Using Non-Electrical Sources to Produce Heat

To heat a dog house, the obvious solution is to find sources that produce heat. This is easy to do when you can use electricity. Without electricity, you’ll need to get a little creative.

Expose The Dog House to The Sun

Keep the dog house warm by exposing it to the sun

It’s hard to warm a dog house that is never exposed to the sun. If the dog house is under a tree, wall, or roof that blocks the sun from shining on it, you’ll want to move the dog house to a location that will get plenty of sunshine.

Even during the cold winter months, exposure to the sun can be a massive help in heating the dog house. Just because you can’t feel the heat of the sun doesn’t mean the dog house can’t trap the heat!

Microwavable Cushion

The best thing about microwavable cushions is that they’re cheap! You can usually pick one up for less than $30. These cushions are usually gel pads covered with cloth. Not only will this produce heat to raise the temperature of the dog house, but it will keep your dog warm when laying on them.

Simply place the pad in a microwave for a few minutes, and the pad will stay warm for up to 8 hours. We have a couple of them to place in the dog house at night to produce even more heat for the dog house to trap.

Thermal Dog Pad

Combining a microwavable cushion with a thermal dog pad is one of the best ways to keep your dog warm during those cold nights.

Thermal dog pads are typically made up of reflective material and insulating material such as polyester fiber. These two things work together to capture the body heat of your dog and reflect it back.

The best part is that these usually have a ton of cushion, so not only will your dog stay warm at night, but they’ll be comfortable as well.

Sock and Rice

Ahh yes, the good ole sock and rice method. Does anyone else remember putting rice in a sock and then microwaving it to apply to an injury? You can actually do the same thing to produce heat in the dog house.

However, it’ll take more than just one sock filled with rice to produce enough heat to warm up a dog house, but depending on the size of the house, 5-6 should do the trick.

All you need to do is fill a sock with rice, tie the top and place it in a microwave for about 90-120 seconds. Then take the sock and put it in the dog house.

No, it’s not going to heat the dog house as much as electricity would, but it will still help produce heat, and as long as you do a good job insulating the dog house, the heat should be trapped.

Trapping The Heat

The methods talked about above (how to produce heat without electricity) do a great job. However, they’re pointless if the dog house is not retaining the heat. Below we will talk about the best ways to make sure the heat being produced actually stays in the dog house.

Insulate The Dog House

Before doing anything else, you should first make sure the dog house is adequately insulated. There are several methods to insulate a dog house, including the use of fiberglass, reflective foil, and bubble wrap.

My personal favorite is reflective foil since it’s easy to install and easy to take down when no longer needed. A quick search on how to insulate a dog house will give you all the information you need.

Purchase an Insulated Dog House

Don’t feel like putting in the effort to insulate the dog house yourself? I don’t blame you! It can be hard work. The simple solution to this is to purchase a dog house that has already been insulated.

These can be a little more expensive but are still reasonably priced for what you’re getting. You can find an excellent insulated dog house for around $100. Just make sure it’s the right size for your dog. Some of the cheaper ones are cheap because they’re small.

Raise The Dog House Off The Ground

Lifting the dog house off the ground is a great way to capture heat

Raising the dog house a few inches off the ground is a crucial step if you want to trap heat. The ground pulls heat from whatever is touching it. This is why dogs sprawl out on the ground during those hot winter days. They are relying on the ground to pull the heat from them.

The easiest way to raise a dog house is to purchase a wooden pallet and place the dog house on the pallet.

Use a Flap

If the door isn’t covered, there’s no chance of retaining the heat. The best solution to cover the door so your dog can still easily get in and out of the dog house is to use a flap.

If you have a few extra bucks to spend, getting a “weatherproof” dog flap is your best option. These are only about $30 more than standard flaps, but they do a much better job keeping the wind and rain out.

Line The Flooring With Straw

Not only is straw comfortable for dogs to lay on, but it’s super cheap and helps with insulation. Many people are worried that straw will attract fleas and other bugs. Although it does attract fleas, as long as you replace it every few days, you should be ok.

If you’d rather not use straw in the dog house, you can still gain the insulation benefits by putting it in the wooden pallet we talked about earlier. That way, the straw is under the dog house and not inside.

Paint it a Dark Color

The last thing you’ll want to do to help retain heat is to paint the dog house a dark color. As we all know, dark colors attract and retain more heat than lighter colors. Sure, that white dog house might look cute, but will it retain enough heat for your dog during those cold months? Black or dark brown are the best colors to paint a dog house if attracting and retaining heat are the primary goals.

Items Your Dog Can Wear

use clothing to keep your dog warm outside

In addition to heating a dog house, there are a few clothing items you can purchase for your dog to keep them warmer when outside.

Beanie

Yup, dogs can actually pull off beanies…and look pretty darn cute while wearing them! If you’re going to get a beanie for your dog, make sure it has slots for the ears to poke out. Many beanies cover the ears. This will drive your dog crazy since dogs rely so much on their hearing.

Jacket/Sweater

If your dog has never worn a jacket or sweater before, it may take some time to get used to it. But once they realize it keeps them warm, they’ll learn to love it.

If you live in an area with heavy snow or rain, you’ll want to spend a little extra money to get a waterproof jacket. If water gets inside the jacket, it can cause the dog’s body temperature to drop, which is the opposite of what we want to accomplish!

Boots

If it took your dog some time to get used to the sweater, it’s going to take them even longer to get used to boots! Most dogs feel incredibly uncomfortable in boots at first, but just like everything else, they’ll get used to it.

If you live in an area where it snows, you’ll want to make sure your dog is wearing boots every time they go outside. If ice gets stuck between the paws, it can turn into frostbite. Boots will prevent this from happening.

Methods to Avoid When Heating a Dog House Without Electricity

gas heaters are dangerous when heating a dog house

You’ve probably seen a few of these methods below when doing research on how to heat a dog house without electricity. You should AVOID each method mentioned below. They are either ineffective or dangerous.

Battery Heaters

Most battery heaters aren’t strong enough to heat up a dog house. But even the ones that are, it’s never a good idea to leave your dog alone next to a heater. If they lay too close for too long or if they touch it, it can cause damage.

Infrared Light Bulb (Battery Operated)

These get very hot. If your dog touches it, it can cause a burn, just like the battery heater.

Gas Heaters

This is one of the most popular methods for heating a dog house without electricity. The propane adds an extra level of danger that we want to avoid.

It’s Important to Keep Your Dog Warm

Taking on the responsibility of dog ownership means keeping your dog happy and healthy. Dogs can get sick (just like humans) when they’re out in the cold for too long. Remember to adequately insulate the dog house to trap all the hot air. Then use the methods mentioned above to see how warm you can get the dog house without electricity. If you’ve tried all the methods and the dog house remains cold, it might be time to bring your pooch inside for the night. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for your dog.

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