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9 Ways To Heat a Dog House Without Electricity + Tips For Winter

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If you have a dog house a common question you’ve likely wondered about is how to heat a dog house without electricity?

Will heating your dog house without electricity keep your pup warm enough in the winter?

It is important to keep your dog house warm to provide a comfortable living condition for your pet. Electric dog houses are the best, but they do not work in the case of a power outage due to natural causes or power rationing.

Moreover, these dwellings are not suitable for low-income pet lovers. You might be living in a stable electric state, and still have a good income, but it is essential to be aware of the other alternatives you have in case things change

Electric dog houses are expensive, but in this article we will learn:

  • 9 efficient ways to heat a dog house without electricity. 
  • Things to avoid and precautions to keep your dog safe.
  • What temperature your dog house should be to keep your dog comfortable
How to heat a dog house without electricity

How to Heat a Dog House Without Electricity: 9 Tips

You can heat a dog house without electricity using: thick bedding, solar-heated dog houses, insulating materials, heat-retaining accessories, the proper location, and a vinyl flap door. Also, depending where you live raising the dog house off the ground can help.

Let’s dive into the details on how to apply each of these methods and why they work for heating dog houses.  

1.) Using Dog House Bedding

Bedding provides a cushion for your pet and keeps them warm and cozy. There are various ways of making them cozy, among which includes using linens. They act as good bedding and provide warmth during cold nights.

They also do not host pests and are easy to wash and replace.

Other bedding options include the use of rugs, dog beds, and wood chips. Rugs are soft, and the rubber side keeps away moisture.

Dog beds are an expensive choice, but they are also useful. For those who are economically stable, this is the best option. Avoid buying low-quality beds, as they do not last long.

Using wood chips made from pine or cedarwood, newspapers, and other methods as dog bedding can also work but will not be as effective at increasing the dog house temperature.

Related Reading: What to Put in a Dog House for Bedding?

2.) Insulating the Dog House

This technique retains the heat that is already present. The first of the various insulating practices to partake in is patching up holes using either wood or plastic.

By filling the gaps, you prevent the escape of heat and retain the heat within, keeping your dog warm. Another technique is insulating the walls and roof by using insulation foam boards.

Various insulation boards ensure retention and block away moisture.

There are several other methods to insulate a dog house, including the use of fiberglass, reflective foil, and bubble wrap.

Extra Tip: During extreme winter weather you can clothe your dog to keep them warm and comfortable. So long as your dog lets you… haha

3.) Use Heat-Retaining Accessories

This is just another hack to remedy short-term problems. It involves filling up a plastic bottle with warm water, not boiling water. Cover the bottle using a soft sock and place it on the dog’s bed.

The bottle keeps the dog warm the whole night. The dog’s heat also helps maintain the heat of the water in the bottle. Ensure that the water is bearable to the dog. Hot or colder water will be uncomfortable, disturbing your pet’s sleep.

As funny as it sounds, this can also be done using rice-filled socks. It is one of the best hacks to provide heat, but it is not a long-term solution.

Fill uncooked rice grains in a sock, tie the open end, and heat it in a microwave until it is warm enough. After that, place the sock in the house. Depending on the temperatures, the sock can keep the house warm for the whole night.

4.) Stuff the Dog House with Padding

To some point, this is similar to using bedding, but it is much more comfortable. It involves filling up the excess spaces with dog blankets, pillows, and other comfy materials to retain heat during cold weather. 

You can also stuff it up with the heated rice-filled socks that we talked about above.

Make sure that you cover a large area leaving enough space for your pet to move around freely. Be careful to leave some breathing space as you add up linens and other materials. This prevents the pet from suffocating and keeps the kennel odorless.

5.) Add a Doggy Door

One of the greatest ways to keep your dog house warm is to trap the heat within. You can easily add a door to a dog house using a vinyl flap.

That way your dog can get in and out but once inside, heat will stay inside easier, and cold air will stay out. Make sure to select the right size so it fits properly and you can maximize the coverage on the door.

6.) Locating Your Dog House

Experts at DailyPaws suggest placing your dog house In area’s the sun can shine on it is optimal. You also want to avoid locations where there are lots of winds.

Ideally look for areas with shelter from the wind but access to the sun.

Another great place is right up against your house! It will insulate and shield it from wind on one side. Your house will also warm your dog’s house as heat is conducted through the walls.

Extra Tip: You can paint the dog’s house with a dark colour to help absorb more heat from the sun. Scientists say black is the ultimate heat absorber since it absorbs all light wavelengths making it the hottest possible color. So opt for black for maximal heat absorption.

7.) Raise Your Dog House

Raising your dog bed off the ground by a few inches can allow you to control the climate of your dog house for both winter and summer.

The ground pulls heat from whatever is touching it. If you live in a location with cold winter months, cool air flows down onto the surface of the ground. This can make the ground (and floor of your dog house) colder than the air around.

By raising the dog house 6 inches or so you can actually increase the temperature in the dog house. However, if the temperature of the ground is warmer than the air the raised dog house can actually make it colder.

Add some straw and insulation below to protect even further from cold drafts.

8.) Use Solar Power To Heat

Solar is always the best alternative for electricity, and solar-heated kennels are among the best ways to keep your pet house warm without using electrical power.

These kennels incorporate a solar operation that involves placing the solar panels in open spaces to absorb heat from the sun. Simply install solar panels in a sunny spot where your dog can’t chew them, attach an inverter, and plug in anything that requires power—a heater, a warming mat, or a heated water bowl.

Shop for one here: Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit, $160; amazon.com

The heat absorbed can heat tubing filled with water. The heated water moves to the kennel’s thermal concrete floor, where the heat is stored. The floor stays warm enough to provide heat to your pet all night.

You can use a piece of cloth to cover the house to create a “greenhouse” effect around the house. Use the thermal concrete floor instead of the whole solar construction to save some money.

It’s definitely one of the more complicated approaches on this list. I recommend heading over to youtube for some more detailed videos on setting this up.

9.) Buy A New Thermal Dog House 

This last tip is for those that have a dog house that needs an upgrade. If you find your dog house has tons of holes and might be made of crummy material it might be time to upgrade.

There are tons of options out there but usually wooden dog houses work best and can hold up in cold weather conditions.

You can find a few insulated dog houses online but they are more expensive. Most usually don’t come with insulation or padding inside so there will still be work to be down in order to make those dog houses warm. Especially during winter months.

Having a good dog house with solid material can make keeping a dog house warm without electricity very easy.

Shop here for some top rated dog houses on amazon.com.

How to Heat a Dog House Without Electricity - pawscessories.com

Additional Tips For Heating A Dog House In The Winter


Place a synthetic, waterproof covering over the kennel to protect it from wind and moisture and retain heat. Attach it with staples or sealing tape, which will make it easier to remove and store away for the summer.

Look for plastic sheeting or “house wrap” at your local hardware store. An old tent or tarpaulin will work too. This will keep snow off of the house reducing the moisture build up on the dog house.

This is a crucial step to take when preparing your dog house for the winter. Without this step the dog house will build up moisture, which can lead to all sorts of issues.


Avoid heating a kennel electrically for safety reasons. But if you feel like a challenge, try plumbing hot water through the kennel in pipes. This will need to be done by a plumber, and care must be taken to ensure there is no chance of scalding. Or you can use a fan to push in hot air from the house via an aircon duct.

Microwaveable heating pads are less adventurous and more budget-conscious. They can be placed in the dog house to provide initial heat. A rice-filled sock does the same thing, as long as it’s not seen as a tasty midnight snack! 

Winter Insulation

Insulating a kennel will keep it warm in winter and cool in summer. Materials such as fiberglass, foil-backed foam board, or loose-fill insulation can be great options for insulation. The walls, floor, and roof of the kennel should all be insulated and must be between walls where Fido can’t get to it. If necessary, install “false” walls to cover it.

For a less permanent solution, staple carpet to the walls, floor, and roof. These can help as temporary solutions if you live in an area where the temperature changes greatly from season to season.

Further Reading: How To Keep A Dog House Warm In The Winter

5 Things To Avoid Using When Heating Dog Houses

Some of these methods can be dangerous to your pup and add unnecessary risk or are just not effective. These are things you’ll want to consider avoiding or taking precaution when using.

Straw Bedding

Straw can in some cases be an ok option for bedding in a dog house. It’s comfortable and can help with insulation. However, there are a few things you should consider.

First and foremost fleas and bugs. This is not always a problem but in order to avoid this you’ll need to replace the straw every few days which can be time consuming.

Woods chips are a better alternative since certain types like cedar and pine will repel fleas rather than attracting them like straw.

All in all it’s best to avoid using straw if you can, as there are better options you can choose.

Battery Heaters

When it comes to battery heaters it is usually best practice to avoid these. They are not the greatest when it comes to heating a dog house since they usually aren’t strong enough.

However, even the ones you can find that are strong enough, you shouldn’t leave with your pup in the dog house. If your dog touches these or falls asleep close to one, it could harm them.

It’s better to avoid these and stick to safer methods of heating your dog house.

Gas Heaters

Similar to battery heaters, gas heaters can also be dangerous for your pet to be left alone with these. Not only can these cause issues but the propane adds an extra level of risk.

If anything were to go wrong with a gas heater this could leave your pet at severe risk. It’s always best to avoid the unnecessary risk.

Infrared Light Bulb

Infrared light bulbs that are battery operated get extremely hot. It can cause burns, just like the battery heater and is something to keep in mind when considering this.

12 Volt Electric Blankets

These electric blankets that can be used with batteries are typically not very effective. Not to mention the risk with leaving your dog with these blankets.

If your dog ever got in the mood to chew his blanket it could end up harming them.

What Temperature Should A Dog House Be?

Now that you know how to increase the temperature of your dog house, what should the temperature actually be?

Of course some breeds are going to differ from others based on their heritage. For example, huskies are more normalized to colder conditions.

Thus, they are equipped with a thicker coat and have more protection against the cold.

The temperature of a dog house should be maintained between 69-75 degrees fahrenheit for optimal comfort for dogs. The larger the dog and thicker/longer their fur, the more resistant they will be to cold temperature. The opposite is true for smaller dogs.

The next thing you might be wondering is, how to accurately measure the temperature of the dog house?

Let me explain.

How To Measure Dog House Temperatures

To measure a dog house temperature, get an indoor-outdoor thermometer with a remote temperature probe that you can install inside of your dog house. The remote probe will measure the internal temperature and you can install the display elsewhere in your home.

These thermometers are inexpensive and provide some peace of mind if you are concerned with the temperature of the dog house and the wellbeing of your pup.

One of the best thermometers we found online is the SMARTRO SC92 that you can find on amazon.com for $26.99 and is perfect for the job.

Final Thoughts

Dogs can withstand and adapt to cold temperatures, but they need extra warmth to keep them comfortable during adverse conditions.

I hope this article provides insight into some of the electricity-free ways of heating your pet’s house. These techniques are all cost-effective and, for some, just as efficient as using electricity.

Other Posts You May Find Interesting:

Best Dog Houses for Winter to Keep Your Dog Warm

Complete (Honest) Petmate Igloo Dog House Review + Pros & Cons

Best Outdoor Dog Houses: Reviews with Comparison