What Wood Should You Use For A Dog House? (Pros and Cons)

dog house

The choice of wood for a dog house can depend on a variety of factors including climate, durability, your dog’s specific needs, and budget. Here are some common types of wood you might consider:


  • Advantages: Naturally repels insects and resists rot. Cedar is also a good insulator and will help keep the dog house cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
  • Disadvantages: Can be more expensive.

Pine or Fir

  • Advantages: Generally less expensive and lighter than hardwoods, making it easier to move the dog house if needed.
  • Disadvantages: May require more frequent maintenance like re-staining or painting to prevent rot.

Plywood (Exterior Grade)

  • Advantages: More affordable than solid wood. Can be painted or stained to improve durability and appearance.
  • Disadvantages: May be less durable and not as attractive as solid wood. Make sure to use exterior-grade plywood, as it is designed to withstand the elements better than interior-grade plywood.

Pressure-Treated Wood

  • Advantages: Extremely durable and resistant to rot and insects.
  • Disadvantages: Contains chemicals that could be harmful to pets and humans if ingested. You should not use pressure-treated wood where your dog may chew on it.

Hardwoods (Oak, Maple)

  • Advantages: Extremely durable and can be very attractive.
  • Disadvantages: Can be expensive and heavy.

How thick should wood be for a dog house?

The thickness of the wood for a dog house really depends on a few factors like the size of your dog, the climate where you live, and how sturdy you want the structure to be.

If you have a smaller dog and live in a relatively mild climate, you might get away with using wood that’s about half an inch thick.

However, for larger dogs or in places where the weather can get extreme, it’s better to go with something a bit more robust, maybe around three-quarters of an inch to an inch thick.

Remember, thicker wood will offer better insulation, which is great for keeping your furry friend comfortable in both hot and cold seasons. But on the flip side, it’ll also make the dog house heavier and possibly more challenging to move around.

So if you plan on relocating the dog house now and then, you might want to consider that as well.

You’ll also want to think about the roof and floor. Often, a thicker roof provides better protection from elements like rain or snow.

On the other hand, if you’re elevating the dog house off the ground, the floor doesn’t necessarily have to be as thick as the walls or roof, but it still needs to be sturdy enough to support your dog’s weight comfortably.

What kind of plywood do you use for a doghouse?

If you’re going down the plywood route, you’ll want to make sure you’re picking the right kind for the job. Not all plywood is created equal, you know.

You’ve got interior-grade plywood, which is great for stuff inside your home, but for a dog house that’s going to be exposed to the elements, it just won’t cut it. What you’d want to go for is exterior-grade plywood.

This type of plywood is designed to withstand moisture and other weather conditions, which is perfect for keeping your dog dry and comfortable.

CDX plywood is a popular exterior-grade option that’s often used in construction. It’s strong, durable, and more water-resistant than interior types.

It’s not the prettiest plywood on the block, but for a dog house that needs to be functional first and foremost, it does the job well. Plus, you can always paint or stain it to give it a more finished look.

Another option could be marine-grade plywood. Now, this is like the Rolls-Royce of plywood when it comes to weather resistance. It’s often used in boat building, so you know it can handle moisture like a champ. But be prepared to spend a bit more for this level of durability.

One thing to keep in mind when using plywood is that the edges can be a bit more susceptible to moisture damage.

A good way to counter this is by sealing them with a weatherproof sealant. And speaking of sealing, you’ll probably want to add a coat of pet-friendly paint or stain over the whole thing, just to give it an extra layer of protection and maybe a bit of flair.

Are certain types of wood bad for dogs?

Some types of wood can be problematic for dogs, especially if your pup is the curious or chew-happy sort. Take pressure-treated wood, for instance.

It’s treated with chemicals to make it more resistant to things like bugs and rot, which sounds good in theory. But those same chemicals can be harmful, or even toxic if your dog decides to chew on it.

Certain natural woods can also be a concern. For example, cherry wood contains cyanide compounds, and while the risk might be low, do you really want to take a chance? Other woods like black walnut are also known to be toxic to animals.

Then you have softer woods like pine or cedar. Now, they’re generally safe and even repel pests, which is great. But if your dog is a chewer, they can easily break off pieces and ingest them, risking splinters or blockages in their digestive tract.

So, you’ve really got to know your dog’s habits. If you’ve got a chewer on your hands, you’ll want to be extra cautious with your wood selection and maybe even think about adding a chew-proof barrier or lining on the areas where your pup is most likely to gnaw.

And hey, no matter what type of wood you choose, it’s a good idea to seal it with pet-friendly paint or stain to add an extra layer of protection, both for the wood and for your dog.

How do you waterproof a wooden dog house?

Waterproofing a wooden dog house is a great idea to make sure your pup stays dry and cozy, and it also prolongs the life of the structure. One common way to go about it is by using a high-quality, water-resistant paint or stain.

This will not only give the wood a nice finish but also create a barrier against moisture. Just make sure whatever you’re using is pet-safe, because we all know how dogs like to chew on things!

You’ll want to focus especially on the seams and corners when you’re painting or staining. Those are the spots where water is most likely to seep in. Apply multiple coats for extra protection, letting it dry properly between each coat.

Another thing to think about is the roof. If it’s flat, you’ll definitely want to add a slope to encourage water runoff. For added protection, you could use roofing felt under the actual roofing material, whether that’s shingles, metal, or something else.

Roofing felt is a great way to provide an additional layer of waterproofing.

Don’t forget the base, elevating the dog house just a bit off the ground can really help prevent water from seeping in from below.

You could use bricks, paving stones, or even build a small wooden platform. Raising it up also improves air circulation underneath, which is another plus.

Sealants are also your friend here. A good, pet-safe sealant can be applied to the corners and edges both inside and outside to really make sure no water gets in.

Just make sure to read the instructions and safety guidelines to ensure it’s appropriate for use in a pet dwelling.

What Are the Best Wood Finishes for a Dog House?

Choosing the right finish can really make a difference, not just in how the dog house looks, but also in how long it lasts and even how safe it is for your pet.

So, let’s talk about some good options. One of the go-to finishes for a lot of people is water-based paint. It’s easy to apply, comes in tons of colors, and best of all, it’s typically safe for pets.

Just make sure to check the label for any toxic ingredients, and always opt for something that’s low-VOC or VOC-free. VOCs are volatile organic compounds, which can be harmful.

Stains are another option and they can bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Like with paint, you’ll want to make sure it’s a pet-friendly stain.

The good thing about stains is that they penetrate the wood, providing some weather resistance, but they don’t form a film on the surface the way paint does. That means less chipping and peeling over time.

Now, if you’re going for the ultimate in durability, you might consider a marine-grade varnish. This stuff is designed to stand up to extreme weather conditions, so it’s perfect for outdoor use.

But be careful: not all varnishes are pet-safe, so you’ll want to read the label carefully and maybe even do a bit of research to make sure it’s a good fit for your dog house.

For those who like to keep things natural, linseed oil is a classic choice. It’s derived from flaxseeds and is often used on outdoor wood furniture. It gives the wood a rich, warm tone and has the added bonus of being entirely natural.

Just remember, it’s not as durable as some other finishes, so you might need to reapply it more often.

And hey, don’t forget to prep your wood before applying any finish. A good sanding will make a world of difference in how well the finish adheres and how good it looks when it’s done.

What Wood Types Are Easiest to Work With for DIY Projects?

When it comes to building a dog house, budget is often a pretty big factor, right? And hey, let’s face it, the price tag on some types of wood can make your eyes water. But the good news is that you’ve got options that won’t break the bank.

So first off, pine is usually your friend if you’re on a budget. It’s widely available, easy to work with, and relatively cheap compared to most other woods.

The downside? Well, it’s soft, so it’s not the most durable choice out there, but if you’re looking for something cost-effective, it’s a solid option.

Now, if you’re willing to spend a little more for better durability, cedar could be a great choice. It’s resistant to rot and pests, and it smells amazing.

It’s not the cheapest wood on the market, but when you factor in its longevity and low-maintenance qualities, it might just be worth that extra cost in the long run.

Plywood, especially exterior-grade, is another wallet-friendly option. It doesn’t have the rustic charm of solid wood, but it’s sturdy and relatively cheap.

Plus, it’s super easy to work with, so you’ll save time and potentially avoid the cost of any do-over mistakes.

Then there are hardwoods like oak or maple. While they’re incredibly durable and look fantastic, they’re also pretty pricey. These woods are often overkill for a dog house unless you’re going for some sort of luxury doggy mansion!

Don’t forget, the type of wood isn’t the only cost you’ll have. You’ll also need to think about paint, stain, or some other type of finish to protect the wood. And these can vary in price too, though generally, they’re less of an expense compared to the wood itself.

Can you Use Recycled or Reclaimed Wood for a Dog House?

Using recycled or reclaimed wood for a dog house is a fantastic idea! Not only are you giving new life to old materials, but you’re also making an eco-friendly choice, which is always a win.

There’s a certain charm to reclaimed wood, isn’t there? It often has this rustic, lived-in look that’s hard to replicate with new wood.

Now, before you dive in, there are a few things to consider. First off, you’ll want to make sure that the wood is safe. Old wood can sometimes be treated with chemicals or preservatives that you wouldn’t want around your pet.

If you know where the wood is coming from, like if it’s old barn wood or something similar, that can give you some peace of mind.

You’ll also want to give the wood a good once-over for any nails, screws, or other hardware that might be lurking. And don’t forget to check for splinters or rough edges that could be a hazard for your furry friend.

A little sanding can go a long way in making the wood smooth and safe.

Another thing to consider is the type of wood you’re using. Different woods have different levels of durability and resistance to the elements.

If you’re lucky enough to find reclaimed cedar or redwood, that’s golden! Those are naturally more resistant to rot and pests. But if you’re using something like reclaimed pine, you’ll definitely want to add some extra protection like a good, pet-safe sealant or paint.

One more thing, reclaimed wood can be a bit of a patchwork in terms of sizes and shapes. So, you might have to get a bit creative with your design to make everything fit together. But hey, that’s part of the fun, right?

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