Building a doghouse is not only a fun family activity, it also provides Fido a place to call his own. Though it takes a bit of planning and time, you don’t need an architectural design degree in order to get started. Consider this list of tips to make a doghouse Fido will be proud to call home.

1. Consider the size.
Just like dogs, doghouses come in all different shapes and sizes. Take note of the size of your dog when creating the dimensions of the house. According to Lowes, the house should be big enough so that your dog can easily turn himself around while inside. If you build the house any larger, your pup may not be able to use his own body heat to keep it warm, especially during the winter months. Knowing the dimensions of the doghouse may also provide an estimate of the total costs of materials.

2. Be mindful of your dog’s habits. Let’s face it: some pups have major personalities. If your pup would rather climb on top of the doghouse than sit inside it, reconsider using shingles or other kinds of roofing. Shingles get super hot while sitting under the summertime sun. Use building products that are appropriate for external use and conditions, like exterior plywood, and make sure that all screws/nails are set in the boards properly.

3. Purchase untreated wood. Although it boosts the appearance of the doghouse, the chemicals used in pre-treated or painted wood are toxic to animals. To make your doghouse shine, use a nontoxic paint or preservatives like linseed oil.

4. Make a platform. To prevent rain damage, as well as a wet puppy, it’s important to construct a sturdy platform base on which the doghouse is built upon. According to Lowes, building a raised floor will also help keep your dog and the doghouse warm during colder months. The reason: it’s not resting on the cold ground.

5. Use pet-friendly cleaning products. Just like us, your pet really hates the smells associated with household cleaning products. Plus, the chemicals found in cleaners and detergents may prove to be harmful to your pooch. Clean bedding, blankets and other doghouse furnishings with pet-friendly cleaning products or use common household items, like lemons, vinegar and even steeped tea to keep the doghouse fresh and clean.

The following local businesses may be able to help you get started.

Old School Hardware
3219 Mt. Pleasant St NW
Washington, DC 20010
(202) 462-1431

From doghouse building materials to plants, books and tools, Old School Hardware has it all. Come by the shop early and spend $20 or more, and you will receive a coupon for a free coffee and doughnut for Heller’s, the beloved bakery of the neighborhood.

Monarch Home Decorating Center
504 K St NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 289-1601

Monarch Home Decorating Center provides a wide variety of green products that are safe for the family and the environment. Speak with an on-site color specialist to determine which color scheme goes well with your pup’s new home.

Metro Mutts
508 H St NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 450-5661

Find everything you need to make your dog’s house a home. Metro Mutts offers a wide variety of dog products including beds, pillows, dishes, bowls, toys, treats and more.

Related: The Perfect Day for Your Dog in DC
Related: Best Places to Hang With Your Dog in the DC Area

For more great tricks, tips and advice about your home, visit


Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at


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