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The Best Vent For Dog House Air Circulation

A dog looks out a vent installed into the rear door of its dog house. Learn more about dog house vents at

Whether you build your own or purchase a pre-built dog house, there’s more than one reason to ensure it has the best vent for a dog house. The best dog house vents can help regulate interior temperature, reduce and prevent mold, and offer air exchange, so your dog doesn’t suffocate in the dog house. 

Whether you use a passive vent or a forced-air dog house fan, I’ve researched the best for your dog house. This guide examines all you need about dog house venting with great tips and suggestions.

Ventilation Basics

Air Exchange

Maintaining proper airflow inside a dog house is essential to keep your dog healthy and happy. Imagine being trapped inside a hot shed on a sunny day. You’d likely feel uncomfortable and want to exit the shed, right? Well, there’s a reason you don’t leave children or pets unattended in the car on a hot day. Simply put, you risk their life.

And there is a reason you don’t leave your dog in its house without installing the best dog house vents. They could quickly die from heatstroke. And so, we want to maintain a certain amount of airflow for the inside of your dog house to keep it safe and, even better: comfortable!

You can take this on for air exchange in a few different ways. First, you can use a passive air exchange system like a vent. Second, you can push the air with a dog house fan. But before diving into this, it’s best to understand how much air we need to move.

What Is CFM?

The airflow in a room, also known as the ventilation rate, is calculated using the CFM, or Cubic Feet per Minute of air movement. The CFM is the cubic feet of air that move past a point within one minute. According to, the recommended ventilation rate for an office is 20 CFM. But there are a few ways to look at this, and each could give us a different CFM.

How I Figure Out Fan Size

For a dog house, I like to look at the dog’s size versus the amount of space. For this, we need to know the essential volume of air the dog breathes, or inspiratory capacity, as it is called. Research has shown that a dog’s breath is typically about 1750mL IC for a dog that is 20 kg in weight. See the chart below.

A graph of dog lung capacity is shown in this file photo.
Courtesy: The National Center for Biotechnology Information

Example Air Flow Equations

So, let’s use a dog that weighs about 20 kg, like the Australian Cattle Dog, as our example.  One breath could be about 1750 mL in the volume of air. This equates to about 0.06 cubic feet of air per breath.

Now, if we look at our Dog House Sizing Chart, we see that the recommended interior floor space for the Australian Cattle Dog is 28” x 44” with an interior ceiling height of 27”.  

If we multiply these, we get the cubic inches of the dog house which is 33264 cubic inches of air volume.   Convert that to cubic feet, and we get 19.25 cubic feet. If a dog’s breath is 0.06 cubic feet and there are 19.25 cubic feet, dogs have a breathing rate of between 10 and 35 breaths per minute when at rest. If we use 35 breaths per minute, the dog breathes 2.1 cubic feet (per minute) of air.

At that rate, the dog will have breathed all the air in the dog house in 9 minutes. That doesn’t give the dog a long time (not that your dog house will be an airtight, sealed bubble, or anything). I’d like to exchange all the air at least every minute. So, I’m looking at a minimum of 20 CFM for my dog house to keep things relatively fresh in terms of air.

What Size Fan Do I Need?

You’ve done the math, and you know you want a certain CFM.  Using the example above, let’s say you want a minimum of 20 CFM for your dog house. Here’s some basic fan information for you:

For a 3” (80mm x 80mm) computer fan, here are the average specifications I found:

  • Voltage: 12 VDC
  • Wattage: 4 watt
  • Speed: 4000RPM
  • Airflow: 46.6CFM
  • Noise: 40 dBA

Recommended and Tested 3” Fan For Your Dog House:

A 12vdc fan from amazon.
Buy this 12vdc fan now on Amazon

  • Voltage: 12 VDC
  • Rated Current: 0.35Amp
  • Speed: 4500RPM
  • Great Airflow: 59CFM 
  • Low Noise: 43dBA
  • Simple, reliable, and inexpensive
  • Meets our requirements for recommended airflow for a dog house.

I built a setup for my dog house that did not require a waterproof fan because I had it encased and covered. However, you might want to grab a waterproof fan instead. Either way, you’ve got options.

You’ll want to make sure you shrink-wrap the wiring. That will help maintain the longevity of the wiring and also help to protect the electrical circuit. Only set up an electric fan inside the dog house where it can’t get wet. You’ll want to prevent short-circuiting and the like.

Types Of Best Vents For Dog House Builds

Roof Vents

There are a few types of roof vents. Two of the most common types are the ‘whirlybird’, the rotating type, and the covered vent fixed type. Finding a small whirlybird vent to match the size of a small dog house can be a chore. You could make your own with a can and a pair of steel cutters, but that can be a whole adventure. Due to this, I recommend the much more obtainable covered, fixed-roof style vent.

Wall Vents

Wall vents are my personal favorite way of venting a dog house. Here’s my favorite vent and grill guard.

My Preferences For Wall Vent Covers:

Stainless Steel Vent Cover With Louvers

A stainless steel vent or dog house fan cover shown in this file photo.
A stainless steel vent cover
  • Stainless Steel – won’t rust or stain.
  • It looks good. And being stainless, it should stay that way even outdoors.
  • Durable and will last the life of the dog house (maybe more?)
  • Easy Installation
  • Inexpensive – won’t break your wallet
  • It keeps the air moving, but louvers help control airflow, so you don’t lose too much heat when you don’t have the fan on.
  • Worth it? Yes, that’s why I recommend it.

Vent or dog house fan mesh protector screen.
A vent guard screen.

Bird And Small Critter Guard

  • Great for keeping birds out of the roof.
  • It helps control airflow.
  • Fits three to eight-inch fan openings.
  • It can easily be installed behind the stainless louver cover I mentioned.
  • Aluminum alloy is much better than plastic.
  • Lifetime limited warranty. Seriously.
  • Adds another level of ‘wow’ to your dog house build.
  • Worth it? You bet.

Are Floor Vents The Best Vent For Dog House Builders?

Using a vent on the floor is not what I would recommend for colder climates. But, for warmer climates, it may help to control the heat by having a vent in the floor and another at the highest point of the dog house. It would create an airflow that would pull cooler air upward from the floor as the upper vent blows out the hot air. You know the old saying, hot air rises, right?  

Which Floor Vent Should You Pick?

I really like the classic look of a stained wood dog house. So, if I were to choose, I’d go for a wood floor grate like this one:

A wooden floor vent cover
A wooden floor vent cover.

“Wooden floor covers? You bet!”

Jer the dog house builder.

Okay, these are beautiful. Using one of these covers as a vent for your dog house? Yeah, I think that is a great idea. They stain well and are pretty decent quality for the price point. Color me impressed.

  • Beautiful vent. This is going to impress for sure.
  • Easy installation. It isn’t hard to incorporate this into your dog house build.
  • Not hard on the eyes or the wallet. Decent quality at a reasonable price.
  • I say go for it.

Forced Air VS Free Flowing

Deciding to use forced air or have a free-flowing air vent in your dog’s house shouldn’t be difficult. If you live somewhere that gets hot weather, I’d recommend the forced air vent so you can help to keep the dog house cool. Now, this won’t work if you use a dog house air conditioner, but it will definitely help to keep the dog house cool.  

Forced air ventilation is also good if you have a damp climate. You can have extended periods where the temperature may not fluctuate enough to warrant turning on a fan via a thermostat. However, if you utilize a timer for a fan to ventilate the dog house regularly, you can decrease the possibility of mold growing inside the dog house.  

DIY Best Vent For Dog House Setup

Forced Air Cooling Systems

It’s super easy to set up an automated ventilating and cooling system for your dog house. Here are the basic materials I recommend you will need.


  • Thermostat
  • Wiring
  • All-Weather Extension Cord
  • Transformer
  • Fan
  • Fan Grill/Guard
  • Wire Crimp Connectors – male/female pairs
  • Heat Shrink
  • Weather Proof Box
  • Self-Closing House Dryer Vent Cover

If you need any of these, go ahead and look at my Recommendations page, where I have a whole bunch of the tools and materials I use for projects like this one. Similarly, I’ll put some links to sorted Amazon products I’d use for the build.

For convenience, I’ve included some quick links to Amazon for each item:

Moving along, here is a quick list of the tools you need.


  • Wire Strippers
  • Crimpers for Electrical Crimp Connectors
  • Heat Gun
  • 3” Hole Saw and Drill

For convenience, I’ve included some quick links to Amazon for each item:

How To Make A Fan Cooling System

Seal The House.

First, make sure your dog house interior is sealed from getting wet. Make sure the roof doesn’t leak, and you have somewhere to mount your weatherproof box that will hold your transformer and extension cord. Ideally, this will be located inside the dog house. If you don’t have room inside, build a dog house extension so it can be mounted outside the dog house. It must be totally weatherproof.

Cut The Vent

Using your 3” hole saw and drill, make a vent hole close to the highest point of the dog house. Near the peak is a good idea for placement. Make sure there is a roof overhanging the area to protect the hole from the rain.

Mount The Vent Cover

Mount the exterior dryer vent cover over the outside of the hole you made. It will keep the air from moving in when you don’t want it to, but it will allow the air out when the fan turns on.  

Mount The Fan

Mount the fan inside the dog house, pointing it so that it blows out the hole. Make sure you also mount the fan grill cover inside so your dog can’t get its tail caught in the fan. It is very important.

WARNING: If your dog is a long hair breed, I DO NOT recommend the use of a fan at all, as the long hair could catch in the fan.

Wire The Fan

Wire the fan so the connectors are at each end, and put heat shrink over the whole thing to cover and protect it. Run the wire along the edges and secure it so your dog can’t bite or scratch at the wiring.  

Mount And Wire The Thermostat

Mount the thermostat in a place away from the door and vent. Wire the fan and transformer to it as per the wiring instructions.  This depends on whether you get a 12 VDC or a 120V thermostat.  

Route The Wiring

Run the wiring into your weather-proof box and connect power once you’ve ensured you have wired the circuit correctly and safely.

Electrical Notes

The transformer should be plugged into a circuit breaker of some type (I like to use a heavy-duty circuit breaker power bar for my dog’s house power supply). A proper, outdoor-rated, circuit-breaker-protected power source is a good idea when doing anything electrical outside.  

Set The Temperature

Now set the temperature on your thermostat. The concept is that when your dog’s house gets hot, the thermostat turns on the fan, which circulates the air. Because the fan and vent are mounted at the highest point of the dog house, it achieves the most efficient removal of hot air inside the dog house.


When making holes for electrical, only do so on the bottom of your weather-proof box.  That way, water can’t drip down inside the box, but it can escape if it gets inside somehow.

Wooden Dog House – Venting

If you have a wooden dog house, having it correctly vented is an excellent idea. Wood can rot, and rotting typically occurs faster in moist conditions. Also, wood that has not been appropriately treated, painted, or protected is susceptible to mold growth. Mold will usually grow better in conditions where you do not have good air movement. These facts make ventilation for a wooden dog house a vital part of the dog house design.

Plastic Dog House – Venting

Venting a plastic dog house is suitable for a few reasons. First, a plastic dog house does not allow air to flow anywhere except through an opening like the doorway. It can cause a high humidity level inside the dog’s house if it is inside the house for any time. See why picking the best dog house vents is such a good idea? And this interior humidity is amplified when you have a door like a PVC strip curtain to hold back the elements.

All this moisture trapped inside the dog house has nowhere to go except to saturate the dog’s bedding. It is a recipe for mold and a cold, clammy bed that your dog won’t get any warmth. Venting the dog house will alleviate the moisture issue.

The heat of summer is the next thing to consider for venting into a plastic dog house.  A plastic dog house heats up in the sun like an oven. I’ve checked plastic dog houses baking out in the sun, and I swear you could cook an egg inside the dog house on a hot summer day. Your dog won’t want or should they spend any time in the plastic ‘oven’ in the hot summer sun.

Final Thoughts

Dog house ventilation can be used to help regulate interior air temperature. Venting can also help prevent mold growth and maintain stable humidity levels. Stable and comfortable temperature and humidity levels add comfort for any dog, just like climate controls add comfort to your home. There are some tremendous venting ideas, from passive vents to a dog house fan. If you need any advice or help with a dog house project, leave a comment, and I’ll be happy to help.

Outside Sources

I Hope You Liked The Best Dog House Vents Article.

Farmer Jer aka Jeremy Shantz, 2019

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