How to Build an Easy DIY Dog House Step-by-Step (2023)



Saturday skill builder.

Time to complete

4 hours

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What you'll need:


  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Circular saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Mixing bowl (or other large, round object)
  • Power saw
  • Paintbrush
(Video) How to Build a DIY Dog House | The Home Depot


  • One or more 3/4-inch plywood panels (based on your blueprint)
  • 4 boards of 2-by-4 lumber cut to match the dimensions of your base panel
  • 4 boards of 2-by-2 lumber cut to match the height of your wall panels
  • 4 boards of 2-by-2 lumber cut to match the width of your roof panels
  • Graph paper
  • Galvanized wood screws
  • Sandpaper
  • Dog door (optional)
  • Insulation material (optional)
  • Asphalt roofing paper (optional)
  • Roofing shingles (optional)
  • Non-toxic exterior paint (optional)
  • Dog bed, blanket, or carpet remnant (optional)
  • Custom metal nameplate (optional)

Building a dog house can help you create a dog-friendly yard and also cut down on dog odors in your home by offering Fido a fantastic outdoors spot to call their own. Whatever your reason for building a dog house, this simple weekend project is the perfect way for DIY dog owners to save money and practice their woodworking skills. Follow these seven simple steps to build a dog house.

Prepping to Build Your Own DIY Dog House

Before you shop for supplies, keep in mind that you want to use non-toxic, water-resistant materials. High-quality lumber such as cedar, redwood, and treated plywood will be able to resist rotting and pests. Additionally, you want to avoid reusing old pressure-treated lumber, which may be treated with toxic chemicals that could harm you or your dog.

Other materials like glue and paint can make your dog sick if accidentally ingested. To keep your dog safe while you build, keep them away from the work area until the structure is completely finished. That includes allowing any adhesives and paints to dry thoroughly. Be sure to clean up all leftover building materials and locate any dropped screws that your dog could find.

7 Steps to Build a Simple Dog House

Have your supplies ready? Now it’s time to get to work.

  1. Measure Your Dog

    To be comfortable in your DIY dog house, your dog should be able to stand, turn around, and lay comfortably on their side. To get the size right, you’ll need to build to accommodate your dog’s length and height as a full-grown adult. If you’re building a house for a puppy, you should build the house according to the maximum size the breed typically grows to be.

    Use your measuring tape to take two measurements:

    • Length: Measure from the tip of your dog’s nose to the tip of their fully extended tail and add four inches.

      (Video) How to Build a Dog House

    • Height: Measure from the top of your dog’s head to the ground, or from the tip of its ears to the ground if they have naturally erect ears, and add four inches.

    These adjusted measurements are the minimum dimensions you should use. You can opt for a larger dog house to give your dog more room, but keep in mind that dogs tend to prefer a snug interior with low-hanging ceilings that mimic the kind of shelter they might naturally seek out in the wild. A cozy space will also warm up more quickly when the weather is chilly.

  2. Lay Out Your Dog House Plan

    Once you have your dimensions, you’ll be able to draw up a blueprint on graph paper that includes seven or eight panels. You’ll need three identical rectangular panels for the base and sides that match your adjusted length and height measurements. The base will be wide enough so your dog can lay on their side. If you’re adding insulation, you’ll need a second base panel.

    You’ll also need identical front and back panels with a rectangular portion on the bottom that lines up with your side walls and a triangular portion at the top where your two roof panels will sit and come to a point. The triangular portion can be at any angle, though the steeper your roof, the more plywood you’ll need for your two roof panels.

    See if you can fit your design inside of a standard eight-by-four-foot three-quarter-inch plywood panel. If not, you may need to buy a second panel.

  3. Cut Your Wood

    How to Build an Easy DIY Dog House Step-by-Step (1)

    Photo: monkeybusinessimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

    With your blueprint laid out, cut your panels from standard three-quarter-inch plywood using a circular saw, or have the cuts made wherever you purchase your lumber. Do the same with the two-by-four and two-by-two lumber, which you’ll need to build a base and secure the frame of your dog house.

    (Video) Build A Dog House - Step By Step Guide + Free download

    You’ll also want to cut an entryway into the front panel large enough so your dog can walk in comfortably. Measure and draw a rectangular opening on the plywood, then trace the edge of a large mixing bowl or another round object to create an archway. Cut this archway entrance out of the panel using a jigsaw. You can also install a dog door as an optional touch.

  4. Build a Base

    Your base will be a raised floor, either with a space of air under a single base panel or insulation material placed between two panels. This will prevent flooding from beneath and help keep the dog house cooler in warm weather and warmer in cold weather.

    Using a power drill and galvanized wood screws, attach your two-by-four boards in a square- or rectangular–shaped base frame that your base panel can rest square on top of. Place your side pieces inside of the front and back pieces, with the two-inch side of each board resting on the ground. Attach the base panel top by drilling a screw into each corner of the base.

    If adding insulation, do so and then seal it inside the floor by screwing another base panel into the opposite side of the base frame.

  5. Put Up Walls

    Using the two-by-two boards you cut to the height of your wall panels, screw one standing upright in each corner of your base. To create a secure structure, screw your side, front, and back wall panels onto the outside of these corner studs at the top and into the outside of your base at the bottom.

  6. Add a Roof

    There are a variety of roof styles you can create, but for this design, you’ll make a triangular, sloping roof that allows rain and snow to slide off and gives your dog some extra height to walk around comfortably. Your roof panels will rest on top of your four wall panels, meeting at a point at the top, and should lay perfectly if you’ve done everything correctly to this point.

    First, attach your remaining two-by-twos so that they run the length of the triangular portions of your front and back panels on the inside of the doghouse. These will provide additional support for the roof and a surface to drive screws through.

    Place each roof panel on top of its respective side, allowing an overhang at the top of each side wall. With the peak tight, secure the roof panels to the dog house with galvanized wood screws. With the roof secure, you may wish to cover it with asphalt roofing paper and shingles to make it more sturdy and to keep the wood from becoming saturated with moisture.

    (Video) Building a Cold Weather Dog House / Easy and Cheap!

  7. Paint and Decorate

    How to Build an Easy DIY Dog House Step-by-Step (2)

    Photo: Sladic / E+ / Getty Images

    Your final step is to customize your dog house! Using sandpaper, non-toxic exterior paints, and a paintbrush, you can sand and paint the exterior to match your own home or choose a fun theme to match your pup’s personality. If you have children or grandchildren, painting your dog house can be a fun craft project. You can even attach a name custom plate above the entrance.

    To furnish the interior, you may wish to add a comfy dog bed, blanket, or piece of carpeting. To secure the carpeting, you can simply glue it down with wood glue.

DIY Dog House vs. Hiring a Pro

Using this guide to build a simple wooden dog house as a DIY project, you’ll spend between $50 and $470 on materials. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to hire a handyperson to build a dog house for you is around $300, though high-end custom-made models can get up to $8,340. You can also call a local carpenter to see if they will take on the project.

Depending on your skill level and the material you use, you may save money building a dog house yourself. However, a professionally handcrafted dog house will likely last longer and allow for a more extensive array of customization options.

Additional Questions

What kind of wood should I use to build a dog house?

You should use non toxic, moisture-resistant wood to build a dog house. Some common options include cedar, pine, redwood, or fir.

Is it less expensive to build your own dog house?

It can certainly cost less to build your own dog house than to hire a pro. A basic wooden dog house is a fairly simple, budget-friendly DIY project that can be completed with basic tools and carpentry skills. Alternatively, you can buy and assemble prefabricated plastic dog houses from a pet store or hardware store.

(Video) Extra large dog house plans


What are the 5 Steps to Building a dog house? ›

How to Build a Doghouse
  1. What You'll Need.
  2. Step 1: Purchase the Necessary Wood, Screws, and Other Materials.
  3. Step 2: Measure, Cut, and Build the Base.
  4. Step 3: Install the Insulated Floor.
  5. Step 4: Construct the Framework.
  6. Step 5: Attach Plywood Walls and Roof.
  7. Step 6: Add Shingles to Prevent Leaks (Optional)
11 Jul 2022

How do you build a good dog room? ›

11 Ideas for Organizing & Designing a Dog Room
  1. Set Up Gates or Fencing. ...
  2. Install Dog-Safe Flooring. ...
  3. Provide Lots of Traditional Toys. ...
  4. Give Your Dog Interactive Puzzle Toys. ...
  5. Put in Some Pet Stairs. ...
  6. Set up "Dog TV" ...
  7. Fill the Room with Dog-Themed Decor. ...
  8. Make Sure You Have Some Comfy Beds.
8 Mar 2021

How do you build a cold dog house? ›

Use air vents or windows to create a breeze.

If your doghouse has closable air vents, open them! If it doesn't you can create a vent by drilling holes around the tops of the walls or installing a couple of small vents that are closable (for when winter returns).

Is dog house good for dog? ›

A cozy doghouse will give your dog a safe place to go and should provide: Protection from the elements such as rain, sleet, snow and wind. Shade from the hot summer sun. Insulation from the bitter cold.

What is dog house called? ›

A "kennel" is a doghouse, run, or other small structure in which a dog is kept.

Do dogs prefer beds or floor? ›

Though many people think dogs can curl up and sleep most anywhere, your furry friend really shouldn't be sleeping on the floor. You also probably don't want him climbing up on your beds or sofas. The truth is, dogs need beds just like we do, and they are beneficial for a variety of reasons.

How do I create a place for my dog? ›

Place the crate in a quiet part of your house that isn't too far removed from the action. (The garage or seldom-visited basement aren't good options.) Then, cover the crate with a blanket that you've used a few times to surround your pooch with your scent. Place an extra-cozy bed inside that feels like a hug.

What colors can dogs see? ›

Human eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, blue, and green. Dogs possess only two types of cones and can only discern blue and yellow - this limited color perception is called dichromatic vision.

What color hides dog Hair Best? ›

Patterns, textures, and darker colors help hide pet hair and dirt until you have a chance to clean. Match your pet to your furniture or vice versa. If you have a pet with white hair, a lighter fabric will be a better choice.

What materials go into a dog house? ›

The most common materials for dog houses are either wood or plastic. Wood is generally used the most, and you'll find most instructions use lumber in their examples. This is because wood is inexpensive and pretty easy to work with.

What makes a house dog friendly? ›

Your dog's home – our top tips

Make sure your dog has a warm, comfy bed. Keep poisons and hazards safely out of paw's reach. Make sure your dog has lots to keep them happy and occupied when they can't play with you. Set boundaries from the moment you get your dog.

How do you make a street dog at home? ›

Lightly toast the hot buns, by opening them up, spreading with mayo and setting them on the griddle for a minute or two. Top the dogs with caramelized onions, peppers, and ketchup, mayo and mustard… and some roasted jalapenos.

What keeps an outside dog warm in the winter? ›

Be sure your dog has a warm shelter.

In the winter, add an outdoor heated bed or pad (some are even igloo-shaped!) to keep your dog warm—and yes, you can leave them on 24/7, as long as the product has been installed as per the instructions, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to turn them off or on.

Do dogs stay warm in a dog house? ›

Your dog's house should be a cozy den for your pup where his own body heat will warm the space. If his house is large but your pooch is small, make it easier for him to naturally warm the house by sectioning off a small space as his den.

How do you make a super warm dog house? ›

To help keep your pet warm in the winter and cool in the summer, install rigid foam insulation in the wall cavities. Use either 1-1/2"-thick foam or glue up layers of 1" and 1/2" foam. Cut these to fit and then cover them with 1/4"-plywood. (If you don't, your pup may discover the foam is fun to nibble on.)

What size should a dog house be? ›

The width and length of a dog house should be about 25 percent larger than your dog's nose-to-flank length. To calculate, measure your dog from her nose to the base of her tail, and multiply the result by 1.25. Example: If your dog's length is 25 in., the dog house needs to be at least 31.25 in. wide on each side.

Do igloo dog houses work? ›

Igloo dog houses work especially well in areas that are prone to wind, rain, and snow. Dog igloos also work well to provide insulation from cold temperatures as well as protection from the sun and hot temperatures. If you need an insulated dog house, igloo dog houses are a great choice.

Do dog houses work? ›

In winter, a dog house can help prevent hypothermia in dogs and provide protection from rain, snow, wind, and extreme temperatures, says Orenchuk, who adds that these structures are not meant to be permanent shelters.

How cold is too cold for a dog? ›

Cold-Temperature Guidelines for Dogs

While broad generalizations are difficult, cold should not become a problem for most dogs until the temperature falls below 45 F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable.

Should a dog house be off the ground? ›

If you plan on building your own dog house, you should consider lifting the floor of the house off the ground to prevent the shelter from sitting in mud, rain or snow. This will also promote more air flow, keeping your dog cooler in the summer and drier in the winter.

How cold can dogs handle? ›

Generally speaking, dogs will be okay until the temperature drops to below 45°F. At that point, they may start to “feel” cold (and might seek out shelter or a way to stay warm). At 32°F, small dogs, elderly dogs, and dogs with preexisting health conditions should probably stay indoors.

What do dogs do when they are angry? ›

Don't expect an angry, “Bad human! Go!” but dogs do have plenty of ways of telling you to keep your distance because they are not happy with you right now. This can mean he darts away from you or it can also be a hard stare, flattened ears, paw lift, sharp barks, or a raised tail among other signs, Askeland says.

Where do dogs like to live? ›

In the wild, dogs succeed in habitats that provide ample food, water and cover, like forests and brush lands. For shelter, some dogs will dig burrows, but most of the time they will use manmade cover or inhabit abandoned fox or coyote dens.

Why is it called a dog? ›

The history of dog

About seven centuries ago, the word hound, which came from the Old English hund, was the word for all domestic canines. Dog was just used to refer to a subgroup of hounds that includes the lovely but frequently slobbering mastiff.

How do you make a homemade dog bed? ›

The simplest DIY dog bed is a huge pillow, which you can make by cutting two large rectangles of fabric and sewing them together on three sides. One or two old fleece blankets make a great recycled cushion. Before stitching up the fourth side, choose a stuffing that will be safe and comfortable for your dog.

How do you build a dog run? ›

How to build a dog run?
  1. Step 1: Find the perfect place for dog run.
  2. Step 2: Determine the size.
  3. Step 3: Prepare the area.
  4. Step 4: Dig holes.
  5. Step 5: Lay down the floor.
  6. Step 6: Fencing (not the sport)
  7. Step 7: Add accessories.
31 Oct 2018

Is wood or plastic better for dog house? ›

The best material for dog houses

One of the biggest choices you will need to make is whether to get a plastic dog house or a wooden one. A plastic dog house will be less expensive and easier to put together, but a wooden dog house will hold up better over time and likely be a more attractive choice for your backyard.

How do you make a dog bed out of old sheets? ›

  1. Step 1: Prep Your Comforter for Sewing. Lay your comforter out flat on the floor, with the side you want facing up towards the floor. ...
  2. Step 2: Sew the Bumpers. ...
  3. Step 3: Create the Sack and Pillow and Sew Into Place. ...
  4. Step 4: Adjust Bed for Size. ...
  5. Step 5: Present Your Dog With His New Bed!
16 Apr 2022

Is it cheaper to buy or build a dog house? ›

Constructing your own dog kennel from scratch or buying a prefab dog house kit is the cheapest way to go. If you have some basic DIY skills, you can find plenty of dog house ideas and plans online that could save you a fortune.

What kind of wood should I use to build a dog house? ›

Fir, cedar, and pine are go-to choices for types of wood, though parts of the doghouse can even use plywood or wooden pallets. You can even use shingles for the roof of the house.

How much does it cost to build a small dog house? ›

Written by HomeAdvisor. A professionally-built dog house costs $310 on average. Costs could run as low as $70 for a simpler installation or hiring a handyperson to assemble a prefab kit. On the higher end of the price spectrum, you could pay up to $8,340 or more for a high-end, custom model or dog mansion.

Do dogs like dog houses? ›

Dogs tend to like “dens” and young dogs especially like to curl up in a den where they feel secure. An older dog that has not been exposed to a dog house before may be more reluctant to enter the dog house and find it confusing or view it as a trap or punishment.

Do dog houses stay warm? ›

It may be a few degrees warmer than the temperature outside, but in subfreezing weather, the temperature in the dog house will still be unbearable for any length of time.

How big is a normal size dog house? ›

Standard A-Frame Dog House Pricing
Dog House SizeWidthHeight
1 more row

What type of floor is best for dogs? ›

6 Best Dog-Friendly Flooring Options
  1. Tile. Tile is a timeless option that has frequently been a go-to choice for pet owners. ...
  2. Luxury Vinyl. Vinyl flooring is durable, cost-effective and waterproof, making it an excellent choice for dog owners. ...
  3. Laminate. ...
  4. Engineered Hardwood. ...
  5. Bamboo. ...
  6. Cork.
21 Jun 2021

What is too cold for a dog? ›

Below 32°F – Owners of smaller breed dogs, dogs with short or thin coats, and/or very young, senior dogs, dogs with health conditions, or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet's well-being. Below 20°F – All owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop hypothermia and frostbite.

Should a dog house have a floor? ›

Step 1: Plan for a Dog House

The house should have a floor that sits far enough above the ground to prevent water from entering on the rainiest days. Raising the floor will also isolate it from the cold ground in the winter.

Do dogs like big dog houses? ›

Not necessarily. Bigger isn't necessarily better when it comes to a dog house. Dogs like room enough to move around, but not necessarily a lot of extra room. Instinct tells them to find a cozy spot that is warm, provides shelter from the elements, and is safe from predators.

How do you build a street dog house in the winter? ›

Make temporary shelter using cardboard, leftover boxes, used tires, etc. Making a temporary shelter is easier than finding a shelter. You can use plastic bags, cardboard boxes and bricks to create a temporary shelter for dogs with newborn puppies.


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