Posted on October 10, 2011
By Joe Shown, President of K-9 Kondo
Bigger isn’t always better. Especially when it comes to keeping your dog warm during the winter.
“I want my doghouse to be large enough for my dog to stand up, lay down, and stretch out.” I have heard this statement, or ones very much like it, many times when speaking to prospective customers. My response to them is always the same—your dog will never be warm in cold weather.
When most people shop for a doghouse, they think larger is better. Most of us consider the desirability of a home based on its size; hence, more square footage is best. But they forget that the big house has a big furnace to warm the interior. A dog’s furnace is his body. Through metabolism, a dog generates the heat required to maintain core temperature. More space means less warmth for the dog. In order to benefit the dog, the owner should select a shelter that suits the needs of the dog, rather than his desire for a large home.
If you ever have the occasion to see a coyote den, the first thing that you notice is how small it is. Nature has equipped the coyote with the ability to dig a hole that is just large enough to crawl in and curl up. With limited surplus volume to warm, the coyote is able to survive the coldest weather. The same principle applies to the coyote’s domesticated cousin. The owner may want the dog to have room to stretch out, but it is at the cost of heat conservation in the doghouse. If a dog has enough room to enter his shelter, lay down, and curl up, he has enough room. Anything larger is wasted space that will make it more difficult to maintain body heat. So when selecting a doghouse for your dog, remember that the more dog you can put in the smallest space, the better. Nature knows best!