Does your dog need a doghouse?

A fancy doghouse may seem an unnecessary expenditure, more so if you intend to keep your dog mostly indoors. Some people argue that dogs are den animals and the doghouse serves the same purpose of a den. Wolves and wild dogs are known to spend the early part of their lives in dens, but eventually they move out into the open. But they are known to seek secluded areas occasionally, for rest, shelter from the elements, and recuperation from injuries. But many dog lovers consider it unethical to separate the dog from its pack, which is the human family it is attached to.

But dogs have come a long way since their first association with humans. Their domestic lives are different from that of their ancestors, even though many of their wolf-instincts are still present. When dogs and people live together, certain adjustments are required from both.

Why your dog needs a doghouse?

Need for a quiet, personal space

Most dogs are sociable and love to spend a major part of their time with their human family. But they do need some space of their own to retire to. Female pet dogs show “nesting behavior” towards the end of their pregnancy, and prefer a quiet and secluded corner or a box to give birth in. You may find even adult dogs snuggling up in some cozy areas or hiding in closets and under the couch every now and then. Many dogs push their dog beds away from public areas or prefer to bury under blankets.

A doghouse provides a ‘dog’s own’ space; a place to have a nap or spend some time alone with a bone. Even a house dog that’s kept indoors at all times needs this personal space. The doghouse that’s used indoors need not be a rigid structure, but it should be cozy and comfortable. The other members of the family, especially children, should be made to understand that the personal time and space of the dog has to be respected when it retires to the doghouse. A flexible flap covering the entrance is also a good idea to ensure privacy.

Need for shelter

If your dog is spending a considerable amount of time outdoors in the yard, a doghouse may be necessary to shelter it from the elements. Leaving a dog outside without access to a shelter can have health consequences, as an open yard can get unbearably hot during summer and dangerously cold in winter. In fact, in most states, it is mandatory to provide a shelter for dogs even if you’re letting it out for only a short period of time.

A doghouse slightly raised off the ground will keep the dog warm in winter, and cool in summer. A waterproof roof will protect it from rain. A flexible flap over the door will ensure protection from drafts. In extreme climates, a heated doghouse may be the best option.

Safety

When we bring a dog home, its safety is our responsibility. Confining the dog to a small space is not the ideal thing to do, but there are times when it may be necessary. We may need to keep the dog away from visitors or kids to prevent untoward incidents. In such situations, a doghouse with a locking door is preferable to chaining the dog. This is especially so if there’s a chance of hostility between your dog and another visiting pet.

In areas where wildlife is known to stray into the property, a secure doghouse can keep your dog safe from possible attacks and chances of contracting contagious diseases such as rabies or parasites.

Having a doghouse, or not, is ultimately the choice of the owner, but consider the above before you decide. The needs of the dog and the climatic conditions of the area as well as the needs of the owner determine the type of doghouse you should invest in. It can be as simple as a wooden/plastic barrel on its side, or an extensive one with a deck attached.

The earlier you introduce the dog to the doghouse, the easier the transition, as some dogs may not accept a new doghouse, especially if they feel they are being sent away to it. If you have more than one dog, it is ideal to have individual doghouses. They can be either close by or at different locations, but you may find them sharing each other’s space at times. Even dogs love house guests!

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