Is your dog house legal?

Giving Your Dog Proper ShelterIt is strongly recommended that all pets be kept indoors with the family.

Leaving dogs outside can be physically, emotionally, and behaviorally detrimental, especially if he is chained or tethered.

Dogs are flesh and blood. In the wild, they find or dig themselves a cozy den to curl up in during frigid weather. Their fur, like your own winter coat, offers some protection, but not immunity to the cold. Small and shorthaired breeds like Pointers and Dobermans can’t handle the cold well.  Puppies and elderly dogs are especially susceptible to cold and should not be left outside for more than a few minutes during cold snaps.

Is Your Dogs’ house Legal?

The law requires a pet to have access to “proper” shelter at all times.  Below are some guidelines for your dogs’ house:

  • Use hard plastic or painted wood (metal rusts and conducts heat and cold).
  • Make sure it does not leak.
  • Raise it off the ground several inches.
  • It should face south in winter, North in summer.
  • Put a flap over the door (clear vinyl, burlap, and old rug or rubber mat with strips cut vertically).
  • The roof should extend 8” over the door to keep the rain out.
  • Nail a strip of wood at the bottom of the doghouse door to keep bedding from spilling out.  Don’t use rugs or blankets—they absorb water and can freeze.  A thick bed of straw makes a good bed.  Add straw every few weeks since the straw packs down.
  • Put water in a sturdy, tip resistant bucket and use a pail/birdbath deicer.  If a deicer is not used, check for freezing several times a day during winter.  Put the bowl inside a rubber tire to prevent tipping.
  • The house should be large enough to allow the dog to stand up and turn around comfortably, but small enough to enable the dog to retain body heat.
  • The house should have a slanted, waterproof roof to allow rainwater to run off.
  • The door should be just large enough for your dog to enter easily.
  • In warmer months, the dog should also be provided with shade such as a large tree or tarp.  A doghouse in direct sun becomes an oven and will not keep a dog cool.

If you have more than one dog, you need to provide a doghouse for each one.

If you are concerned about a dog that is frequently chained or otherwise left outside without proper shelter, food, or water, please contact your local humane society or Police Department.  A growing number of anti-cruelty laws and ordinances include “adequate care standards” that make it illegal to keep a dog outside without proper shelter.  (A few communities have even enacted ordinances prohibiting the tethering of dogs.)