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The Best Dog House Heaters

Getting cool outside? Get those Dog House Heaters going because it’s time to keep your pooch warm and cozy. Just make sure the power supply is safe, preferably with a circuit breaker involved. I’ve got all the info you need to keep your dog warm and more importantly safe, so read on my friend.

Dog house heaters can come in a variety of forms such as heating pad, ceramic heat emitter or coil heaters like you find in a hairdryer for example. The most effective and safest being the heating pad and ceramic heat emitter types.


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In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of each type of heating, as well as effective ways to control the heat. I will also include a few tips that can really save you time and money, let’s dive in…


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Types of Dog House Heaters

Forced Air Heaters

A forced air heater is the most common type of heater. This is what everyone is familiar with. A hairdryer is a typical example of a forced-air heater.

How Does A Forced Air Heater Work?

A forced air heater works very simply. The heater is usually shaped like a coil of heater wire, also called the heater element. A fan then blows air across the heater element. This forced air movement causes the air to warm as it passes over the heater coil. This is a common, cheap form of heater.

This type of dog house heater can be very efficient and effective at warming the air inside the dog house. The drawbacks are simple. First, this type of heater forces air movement. This can be good to warm the interior of the dog house but requires the best possible seal and insulation to avoid heat loss.

The other drawback to this type of heater relates to your dog’s hair. If your dog has long hair or is a shedder, then there is the potential for the dog hair to get into the heater and cause a fire. We don’t want our dog house burning to the ground, especially if our pooch is in it. This is why this is the last type of heater I recommend to use.

Ceramic Heat Emitters and Heat Lamps

When I was researching dog house heaters, I realized that I first came across a ceramic heat emitter when I was searching for a way to keep my lizards warm at night time. This was years before I ever had a dog house. I’ve always had dogs but they were small, indoor dogs that were not suited for life outside.

I live in Canada and it gets pretty cold where I am, especially at night during the dead of winter. With that in mind, I used to keep Chameleons. Keeping the Chameleons warm was always a challenge, especially when trying to keep the hydro bills down. I used to use ceramic heat emitters. It was a very simple system.

Fixture Type

I use a porcelain fixture on a steel junction box, both purchased from either a hardware store or online from Amazon. As far as dog house heaters go, this works great because it’s good for hot bulbs, or in this case a hot ceramic heat emitter. The only downside to the ceramic heat emitters is that they get very hot.

If your pooch likes to stick his or her nose or tongue onto everything, you may want to design a safety cage around the heater so your dog doesn’t get burned. According to Wikipedia, thermal burns are quite possible with ceramic and other types of heaters so a safety cage is important. These heaters are very effective at warming a small area.

I do not recommend using a heat lamp. Only a ceramic heat emitter. There is evidence to support retinal damage caused by long term exposure to the red spectrum which these lamps give off.

Heat Pads

I have saved the best for last: Heat Pads. This is my personal favorite heater idea for a dog house. You can easily find decent weatherproof heat pads specifically designed for pets like this one. There are plenty of heat pads that are sold specifying that they are for use with dogs, however, this one is the one I recommend and I’ll tell you why.

It has a heavy-duty cord, which is protected by a metal casing. This heating pad was intended for use with rabbits and other small animals who tend to chew and bite, so it’s fairly pet-proof compared to many others I looked at. This one is also intended for outdoor use, many others are not. If you have a larger dog, you could use two of these.

Cover Up For Best Results

To ensure the heating pad is adequately heating and not burning your pet, I recommend making a pouch to keep the heating pad covered. Safety is paramount when choosing which type of dog house heaters you will use. You can even use an old pillowcase and put the heating pad inside and wrap it around the pad. Then toss a blanket on top of that and you have a heated bed in your dog house for your dog. If you hook the heating pad up to a thermostat inside the dog house to control the heat, you have a fully automated heating system for your dog.

Thermostats For Dog House Heaters

Thermostats make maintaining temperature easy. A thermostat will switch on your heater when it gets cold, and/or will switch on your fan or cooling system when it gets hot. The reverse is true of course, for turning off the heater when it gets warm, and turning off the fan or cooling system when it gets cold. You can get a thermostat that controls one or more than one circuit. For example, you can pick up a simple thermostat to control a single heater. This is a simple and cheap way to control your heater.


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Always A Down Side

The only problem with this is if you have a fan or cooling system you also want to control. This only gives you one of two options. One is to get another single appliance thermostat and have one thermostat for your heater and one for your cooling system. The other option is to get a single thermostat that can control both. These are typically significantly more money but often have the ability to set schedules for multiple appliances so it may be worth your while to get one of these in the first place.

Smart Thermostats. So you want to go next-gen with your dog house? You want to control and monitor your dog house from your smartphone? Well, that kind of tech is totally do-able, but it’s gonna cost you.

This is the next-gen tech I wish I had as a kid. Put this on your dog house and it’ll be the talk of the town. Of course, you want to make sure that you are paying attention to keeping things extra waterproof if you’re going to that much effort.

Timers For Dog House Heaters

Installing a timer on your dog house heater can be very beneficial and cost-effective. For example, if you happen to go to work all day and you leave the dog indoors while you are at work. You could set up a timer to keep the heater off during the day while you are at work. Likewise, should you keep your dog outside only during the night, you could set your timer to only turn on the heater at night time. Although a timer has many benefits, I think it makes more sense to have a thermostat control the dog house heaters or heater. A thermostat combined with a timer would be a formidable ally against sucking back electricity when not needed.

Modern Times And Modern Timers

Modern timers are plug and play, super easy to install and also easy to program. Finding timers that are 7 days and also intended for outdoor use is relatively easy which makes obtaining and installing a breeze. Check this timer out. This is an affiliate link, however, I would like to point out one thing. I make so little money off this link that I might as well be collecting scrap to pay my bills. I selected these items because I trust the product(s) and they work. Period. The pennies I might make from the link are so minimal. I just wanted to give you the quick link to get one, not to make money. FYI.

Power Supply For Dog House Heaters

Any and all electrical systems you are including in your dog house build must be treated with extreme caution. Like any outdoor circuit, when you have electrical circuits outdoors, you must be cognizant of the rain and elements. You must make sure that your dog and property are safe. There is no point in putting a heater on your dog house if you are going to ignore safety. Have a potential electrocution hazard for your pooch from the power supply? I think not.

There are also concerns with melting and fire when dealing with heaters. This is again why we recommend heating pads that are intended for pet use. This is the best way to eliminate the possibility of fire. With regards to your power supply to the dog house, I have a few best practices to share. For instance, I recommend only using a circuit breaking power source.


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How A Circuit Breaker Works

A circuit breaker on a power supply is an essential part of the safety controls in a good heater circuit. A circuit breaker works by cutting off the power when an over-current occurs. An over-current occurs when there is a short that allows electricity to flow at a great rate out of an electric circuit. This typically only happens when there is a short circuit of some kind. For instance, if a power source overheats and melts the wires which then touch each other, shorting out. This sort of situation would provide the circuit breaker with a reason for the switch to activate, cutting off the power. Or, heaven forbid a dog decides to chew through a power cable. We definitely want to have a circuit breaker on our power supply should that dreadful sort of situation occur.

My Experience

For my pooch at home, I run an extension cord from my garage. It goes into a nice small box that I mounted on the side of the dog house. The box is a NEMA 4 rated weatherproof enclosure and inside is where I keep my electronics such as the power supply for my LED lights, and also a circuit breaking power bar where I plug in my lights, heater, and fan. All of these items have their cords routed for maximum protection against damage. And the electrical box is mounted well off the ground with the roof overhang covering the already weatherproof box. This doubles up my protection against having water enter my electrical. I also recommend that if you intend to hardwire the power source, that you have a plug going to a GFI plug to again help in case of electrical short.

Pro-Tip: Try going with a solar power supply for ultimate dog house awesomeness!

A solar power supply
A solar power supply source.


At the end of the day, I believe a combination of two dog house heater types works best. The first would be a forced-air heater. One specifically designed for the dog house. Much like the one shown above in this article. The second type I really think works well is the heating pad. Combine these two and your pooch will be nice and toasty. And don’t forget to use a thermostat to control the heaters. This is so you save by only using the heaters when they are really needed.

Thanks to Andre for the awesome photo.


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