Alternatives to Traditional Wooden Doghouses

Today you have plenty of designs and materials to choose from when it comes to doghouses. These alternatives to traditional wooden doghouses have many unique features that recommend them to dog owners. Light weight, portability, ease of maintenance and lesser cost are a few among them. You get doghouses made of plastic, metal and fiberglass. Some are combinations of different materials including wood.

Take a look at the alternatives to see whether they have any features you particularly want in a doghouse.

Plastic Resin Doghouses

These sturdy doghouses are constructed from all-weather plastic resin which makes them suitable for outdoor use. Low maintenance, portability, and price are the main attractions. They are light-weight, and mostly come in knockdown kits that are easy to assemble as they require no special tools, nuts or nails. The pieces just snap into place!

You get plastic resin doghouses in different shapes, colors and textures. They come in simple designs as well as elaborate ones complete with deck and loft space. While some are similar to wooden doghouses in their looks only, some others have wooden paneling inside and on the deck for better feel as well. If not, you can make the interior cozy with furnishings that mask the plastic-feel.

The roof, which can be flat, slanting or pitched, usually comes as a single piece, eliminating any danger of water seepage. In fact, high resistance to dampness is one of the greatest attributes of these plastic resin doghouses. Cleaning out the doghouse is a breeze too. If you have decided to get a doghouse mainly because your dog has issues with its toilet training, this would be the perfect one for you. Just remove the furnishings and hose it down! But remember to dry it out thoroughly before putting the soft furnishings back in. Or, they may get spoiled by dampness from the moisture trapped in the plastic panel joints.

Plastics are typically non-breathing materials unlike wood. Hence, to avoid the plastic structure becoming stuffy inside, good ventilation is usually provided. For areas experiencing extreme weather, you get well-insulated ones too; and the manufacturers claim that they are as good as any wooden structure in maintaining ambient internal temperature even in the height of winter and summer.

Fiberglass Doghouses

Fiberglass is easily molded into any shape, which makes it the ideal material for making doghouses in various organic shapes. If you think your dog deserves a unique, natural-looking, and cave-like structure to crawl into, go for doghouses made of fiberglass.

Dogloo is a popular fiberglass doghouse design that not only looks like an igloo from the Arctic, but also works on the same principle it employs to conserve internal heat. The structure comes in two pieces, a top portion, and a flat base to fix it on. The main part is the top portion which is large and dome-shaped, but the door is at the end of a short tunnel-like pathway leading from it. The roof of this tunnel is at a lower level, thus preventing the warm air collected at the top of the dome from escaping through the door. The length of the tunnel may vary, and some have it offset at an angle to prevent direct entry of cold air into the middle of the dome where the dog is expected to lie down. But as usual, you find dogs lying half-in and half-out at the doorway!

Dogloo is just one type of design; there are others that look like rough caves, tunnels, half barrels, geodesic domes, or caravans. It may be possible to get your own design custom made too. Since they are usually cast in one piece, or two at the most, simple designs are more suitable. Light-weight and highly portable, these can be taken with you for camping and vacations on the beach. Seamless designs offer unmatched protection from rain, snow and wind. They are easy to wash and easy to dry off. No loose joints and no need for repair too.

Fiberglass has some inherent insulating properties because of the fiber frame work on which the resin is cast. Some people argue that protection from wetness should be the most important feature of a doghouse, since dogs have their own thermoregulation mechanism to stay warm enough in most climates. There are some fiberglass doghouses with double walls with extruded foam in between, but more often they have dead air space that acts as insulation.

The interiors of fiberglass doghouses are minimally furnished with just a soft pad for the bottom. If space permits, you can add in some cushions or blankets for extra comfort.

Metal Doghouses

Doghouses made of metal, usually aluminum or stainless steel are available, even though they are not as common as wooden or plastic ones. The manufacturers claim these metal structures are built to last, and that they are as comfortable as any other type of doghouse. They are much more durable than other materials used for constructing doghouses. Metal structures are sturdy, no doubt, and dogs cannot chew it up as they often do with wood and plastic. In fact, this feature is pointed out as the main advantage of doghouses fabricated out of metals.

It should be mentioned here that metal doghouses are not the same as metal/wire boxes used for transporting dogs. The doghouses made of aluminum or stainless steel may be lighter that wooden doghouses, but they may not be as portable as the plastic ones. They are usually fixed to the ground, but at the same time, they can be transported across country without much damage when you relocate.

As we all know, both stainless steel and aluminum are easy-to-maintain materials and extremely durable, resistant to both dampness and rot. Some manufacturers even offer 5-year guarantees, so, if it is durability that you’re looking for, these are for you. Also, metal doghouses are quite hygienic; they can be easily disinfected when necessary. That’s one of the reasons why many dog breeders prefer this type. It is no wonder that they are quite pricey compared to other types of doghouses.

In areas with year-round mild climate, just an insulating roof over the metal structure may be sufficient, but to make the doghouse equally comfortable in both extreme winter and summer, some are factory-fitted with good insulation and heating. Many have double walls to maintain ambient conditions inside. Check out these details before deciding on metal doghouses.

Most metal doghouses come with flat roofs, but pitched and slanted ones are also available. Some combine a metal frame with wood or plastic.

Barrel doghouses

These come in all of the above materials as well as in wood. Basically, it is an open barrel on its side with or without a flap to cover the opening. They might have had their origins in the habit of dogs seeking out relatively tiny spaces to crawl into. It is not hard to imagine that they would have crawled into empty barrels lying around in a farm.

The traditional barrel doghouses are wooden structures, but doghouse manufacturers have turned to alternatives such as plastic and fiberglass for easy portability. Even though some add a pitched, flat, or arched roof to the barrels, and a base that gives stability too, they essentially maintain their simplicity. They are often used by the dog as a place to rest or take a nap during the day.

Metal barrels are also there, but their comfort-factor is questionable, unless used indoors or in permanent shade. Some of them come with an extra roof panel for shade.

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