Watch Tip: Poorly-sited Dog Houses

Posted on February 26th, 2011 by Anna Nirva

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Watch for poorly-sited dog or cat houses—those without shade or shelter from winds, or those set in low-lying areas, or those set too far from household entrances. To maintain health, outside pets need protection from extreme weather, lingering dampness, and insect pests. They need social interaction too. Seasonal moves of the pet’s house might make the most sense.

Savvy outside dog or cat owners could move pet houses seasonally if needed

Be thoughtful about placement of dog and cat houses, especially if the pet lives outdoors continuously. Climate, seasonal weathers, landscape and home features, and neighbors should all be considered. Don’t shy away from moving the house seasonally to optimize features of the yard; the turf will have an opportunity to heal too.

In cold climates, the pet’s entrance must face away from freezing north and northeast winds and the house must be well insulated. In hot climates, the house must be shaded most of the day and should be sited to capture breezes; it should be ventilated. In all climates, the house must be set on a high spot or be raised on a platform to prevent floor dampness and insect infestations. Exposure to continual dampness can cause skin conditions such as mange.

Ideally outside pets are contained by fences, not tethers or chains which are known to cause behavior problems such as biting (especially if the pet is not socialized). If you know of a continuously-tethered dog, consider offering to help build a kennel or fence as a neighborly gesture.

In every climate, outside pets need mental stimulation, exercise, and socializing with their families, so the dog and cat houses should always be near household entrances to maximize those opportunities. And for those who think of outside dogs as guards of the home, remember that a dog will not guard that which it doesn’t regard as a home. If you site the dog house too far away, you defeat the purpose.



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