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How to heat a dog house: Do It Right
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DENVER -- Heating a dog house is tough. A hot water heater or heat lamp won't work.
So how do you do it right?
It may seem simple enough, but it's not.
And some heaters are dangerous to use.
"Heaters in the summer are not just for your dog, they can be dangerous to you too," says Marcia Raupp, founder of the organization DANGEROUS! Dogs.
Her group has put out a series of videos on how to heat dog houses. They're free for you to watch and share.
Raupp says that when you have a small dog, a heat lamp or small heater will do the job. However, they need to be kept at least 20 feet away from your child, and 30 feet away from any sleeping person.
"We do not recommend using any type of electrical heaters that use electricity," she says.
"Any time you have something electrical running, it needs to be in the off position and unplugged. Just because the battery is dead doesn't mean it's off," she adds.
So how do you heat a dog house?
There's no single perfect solution.
"You need a heat source that is going to get up to 120 degrees," Raupp says.
"If you're looking to buy a new dog house, you're going to need at least a 60, 80 or 120 watt heater," she says.
The size is determined by the space of the dog house you're using.
"It really does depend on the size of the dog house. But 60 and 120 watt heaters will really give a nice warm welcome," says Raupp.
The heater needs to stay within 3 feet of the back of the dog house.
If the heater is too close, it could cause serious burns, she says.
"Make sure you can see the dogs at all times, when you use the dog house, you don't want to lose your dogs in the heat of the summer," she says.
When you're heating a dog house, you should make sure that your dogs don't knock anything off the shelves.
"Some people will use a crate or a bed to cover up the shelf for a place for the dog to stand up on," Raupp says.
Some people will use a crate or a bed to cover up the shelf for a place for the dog to stand up on."
When you start the heater, you need to make sure to turn it off.
"Make sure you turn it off when you finish using the dog house," Raupp says.
The time to turn it off depends on the type of heater you're using.
"If you're using a heat lamp or a heat pack, you'll want to turn it off at the end of the day," she says.
"If you're using an electrical heater, you'll want to turn it off when you have finished using it, so you don't forget."
The best dog house heating system will be the one that doesn't cost a lot, and that you're not going to have to pay for every time you use it.
"That's probably the one you're going to choose," Raupp says.
"A heater you can plug in and it'll work all day long is going to be the least expensive one, and it's probably going to be the least safe. So you want to make sure you don't spend a lot of money on something that isn't going to work," she says.
Raupp adds that you need to keep the heater at a distance that's safe.
"If the heater is too close, you could be putting your child or you or someone else at risk."
When you first buy a heater, Raupp suggests taking a close look at the wiring.
"Just because it says 110 volts, that doesn't mean it's going to be safe.
"You want to make sure the wiring is protected. The wires should be on top of the heater so they don't get touched," she says.
You can also make sure the wiring is properly grounded to protect against electric shock.
Some heaters come with a built-in thermostat.
"Make sure you check the owner's manual to make sure the dog house is the proper temperature when you first use it," says Raupp.
And if you're worried about your dog getting too hot, you can wrap the heater in a towel or cloth before putting it in the dog house, Raupp says.
If the heater has to be stored, be sure to keep it out of the heat.
And don't forget to turn it off when you're done using it.
"The last thing you want to happen is for your dog to have an electrical shock and be electrocuted," Raupp says.
If you live in Colorado, the best dog houses to buy are those that have no electrical wires and are made of fire-retardant materials.
The DANGEROUS! Dogs website has all the resources you need to learn how to heat a dog house, and they've made a list of companies that make safe dog houses.
"They can also be a little bit expensive," says Raupp, but she adds that a safe and reliable dog house is a lot better than risking a fire.
"This way, your dog can have a safe and reliable place to live all summer," says Raupp.
We got a little crazy with our dog house and bought the heat lamp from Amazon, and it was a good decision - the lamp and a pair of batteries lasted nearly two years without incident and are still going strong. The heat is a bit