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Does a Dog Really Need a Dog House? Determining Factors & FAQs

Gregory Iacono

By Gregory Iacono

black and white dog in front of wooden dog house

Dogs have been our best friends since almost the dawn of creation, standing by our sides, protecting us, and giving us unlimited love and affection. Indeed, one of the most common sights in the United States is a doghouse, which can be found in the backyards of millions of American homes. One question many people have, however, goes against the very nature of owning a canine; does a dog really need a dog house? The answer to this question is a slightly confusing yes and no, depending on your circumstances and whether you have an inside or outside dog. To find out more and decide whether your canine chum needs a dog house or not, read on!

Divider 7Inside Dogs Don’t Need a Dog House

If there’s one thing that’s universal about most dogs kept as pets, it’s this; they want to be near you and their human family as much as possible. If you’re the type of person that likes having your dog inside with you, and they only go outside for walks, to play, and to go potty, there’s no real need to get your dog a dog house.

First, they won’t use it, and it will be a waste of money. Secondly, if they’re rarely outside alone, your dog simply won’t need a dog house because they won’t need shelter from the weather. If this sounds like the situation in your home, a high-quality dog bed or a crate will be a much better choice than a dog house. That way, your pup will be comfy and sleep wherever you want them to inside your home. Plus, they will have a place of their own.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel on its dog bed
Image Credit: Izabelly Marques, Unsplash


Outside Dogs Definitely Need a Dog House

If, for whatever reason, your dog spends a significant amount of time outside in your yard, getting a dog house is a must. There are a few reasons for this, and the most obvious of which is that if a storm or other foul weather approaches and your dog is outside, it will have adequate shelter and be okay until you get home.

Another reason is that, in every US state, there are laws protecting animals. Those laws state that if your dog is outside for a specific length of time, you need to provide them with a dog house. The laws vary from state to state, but to stay out of legal trouble, getting your dog a house is required.

dog and dog house under the sun
Image Credit: Polarpx, Shutterstock

What Will a Dog House Do for Your Dog?

Yes, dogs used to be wild animals, and there are wild dogs today that still sleep outside. However, dogs have the same frailties as humans and are subject to getting sick or injured if they get too cold, wet, hot, etc. That’s why a dog house is so crucial if your dog spends a lot of time outside, especially when you’re not home. Below are a few other reasons to have a dog house if your dog spends a lot of time in your yard.

  • Dog houses protect your dog from the weather.
  • Dog houses keep pests away, including mosquitoes, gnats, flies, and others that can bother and sting your poor pup.
  • Your dog will be protected from the hot sun in a dog house, which can prevent heat stroke in the summer.
  • In winter, a dog house is the best protection against the bitter cold. One with a front door that your dog can open (and closes automatically) is a good recommendation.
  • A dog house helps your dog feel secure when you’re not home. It becomes their “safe place” and helps them stay calm when you’re away.

Some Dogs Should Never be Kept Outside in a Dog House

Many dogs can handle the cold and even frigid temps, and some have no problem with heat, wind, and rain, as long as they can dry off occasionally. However, some dogs are not made to handle any type of temperature extremes, and others simply can’t handle living life outside. Those dogs include the following:

  • Puppies
  • Dogs with short, or very little, fur or hair
  • Highly social dogs that need companionship
  • Thin dogs with little body fat
  • Sick dogs that are weak from their sickness
Hungry Shih Tzu puppy holding an empty bowl
Image Credit: Rasulov, Shutterstock

divider 9

What Does a Good Dog House Need?

You might think that all dog houses are alike, but that’s far from the truth. Some dog houses are well-built and have everything a dog needs to be comfy and healthy, while others…don’t. Below are a few factors that make a dog house livable for your dog.


If you live where it gets cold, insulation is highly recommended when building a dog house. Insulation will help your pup stay warm at night and keep them cooler in summer.

insulate dog house
Image Credit: KellyNelson, Shutterstock


Dogs, as we know, can’t complain. If they could, most would complain about sleeping on a cold, wooden floor with no bedding in their dog house. If your dog house doesn’t have bedding, it’s best to purchase some and place it inside.


If you purchase a dog house, you should note that plastic dog houses aren’t recommended. The reason is that they stay too hot in hot weather and too cold in cold weather because plastic is such a lousy insulator, and it’s better to purchase a dog house made of wood. It might be more expensive, but it will better protect your dog from extreme temperatures.

happy pug in outdoor wooden dog house
Image Credit: Kichigin, Shutterstock


Many dog owners believe that a dog house needs to be fixed in place. There are, however, several excellent reasons to easily move your dog house from one place in your yard to another. For example, in summer, if your dog’s house is sitting in the sun all day, moving it to another part of the yard where there’s shade is a great idea. The same can be said In winter except that, rather than moving your dog’s house out of the sun, you can move it into the sun, so they stay warmer.

Knowing your dog well is essential as some dogs can handle their house staying in one place all year while others can’t. When needed, a mobile dog house can be pretty useful and is something to keep in mind when building or buying one.

The Correct Size

There’s nothing worse than a big dog in a small dog house with little room to move around and get comfortable. The same can be said for a small dog in a big dog house, as their body heat will escape too easily and leave them cold. Purchasing or building a dog house that’s the right size for your dog is thus critical.


In a warm climate, ventilation, or air low, is critical. Proper ventilation will keep your dog from overheating on hot days and nights.

Dog tied to dog house with high fence in background
Image Credit: Mimzy, Pixabay

Divider 7Final Thoughts

An outside dog that spends a lot of time in your yard will need a dog house for protection from the elements and weather. Plus, it’s the law in all 50 states. An inside dog, on the other hand, really doesn’t need a dog house because it spends most of its time inside with you and your family. Even when they’re outside, your dog is usually with you and only stays outside until you go back inside. Also, remember that several types of dogs can’t handle living outside in a dog house no matter what, including elderly dogs, puppies, sick dogs, and dogs that have little fur or are very thin.

We hope the information we provided today has answered all of your questions about whether your dog needs a dog house. If you’ve recently adopted, best of luck raising your new canine companion! Whether you keep them inside or out, protecting your dog and providing them everything they need to live a long, healthy life is your new priority.

Featured Image Credit: angel6000, Pixabay

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