Dog Kennel Insulation

Years ago you could not find an insulated dog kennel. They were often rather hastily built structures, triangular shaped constructions made out of weatherboards or, later, out of gypsum boards. Not a lot of thought or planning went into building them when I was young. My dad would just slap one together in a morning without a lot of though as to how to build a dog run, and the dog usually seemed happy with it.

Later, when I became interested in breeding show dogs, we took a lot more care when building a dog run. Actually the dogs usually spent most of their time inside. I can remember at one point having two Doberman and two Irish Setters, plus one noisy little Beagle residing along with us and our three young children in our three bedroom house. We had a large pen outside where we left the dogs when we were all going out, but most of the time they lazed around inside or on the patio. It wasn't unheard of for people to steal show dogs, so we'd also make sure the pen was secured and locked.

We were without any pets for a while, but naturally when my second set of kids grew up a bit they begged to get a pet dog, and we complied with their wishes. I think dogs make great pets for children, and I love them myself, so it wasn't difficult to say yes to them. We didn't plan out in advance, though, where the new dog would be sleeping and spending it's days and nights. That was a mistake.

Puppy came home and she was the cutest little thing. But then she grew and got in the way of everyone, till the time came to relocate her to an outside dwelling place. We thought about buying a dog pen but couldn't see anything that really suited, so we looked up all we could find on building the dog kennel and run, and then decided to build our own.

External Insulation

Either pre-colored plaster or foiled tar paper can be used to insulate the outside of the kennel. These materials are attached to the outside of the kennel, offering relief from either temperature extreme. They're very easy to use and can be added to already built kennels. Perfect for a situation where you can't afford a new kennel, but neither are you able to get inside the kennel to easily add insulation to the inner walls.

We live in a sub-tropical zone. It's hot in summer, the temperature can go as high as 40 degrees.  We are subject to typhoons during summer too, and lots of rain.  During winter the temperature can drop to 5 degrees at night.  Such large swings in temperature, during the course of a year, made it difficult for us to decide what material to use for building the actual kennel.

We decided that we would insulate the kennel, to avoid it getting too hot in summer or too cold during those chilly winter nights.  After much debating, we went ahead with thin fibreglass insulation, and covered the sheets on the inside of the kennel with gypsum board.  So far, it has been really effective in keeping the heat out of the kennel.

Cool Dogs!

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Fibreglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is cheap and effective. These days, the fibreglass is wedged in between foil or panelling to protect you from getting in on your skin or in your eyes. This is very easy to insert into a dog pen and perhaps the simplest to use. You do need to be careful using it, though, if your dog is a chewer, or if you have a female dog and you're planning on breeding her and having her pups in the dog run. Even if it's wedged between panels, it is very easy for a dog to chew through the panelling and ingest the fibreglass. Needless to say, you wouldn't want that to happen!

If you think this might be a problem, you could cover the inner kennel side with gypsum board, or even hardboard (though I have known our dog to completely chew through hardboard. She hasn't made much progress with the gypsum yet.)

Insulating with Cork Board

Cork board is an alternative to fibreglass insulation. It's lightweight and easy to place inside the kennel. As it is very soft, you again can have the same problem with chewing and destroying the board unless it's wedged between panels and covered with a hard wood or gypsum layer. Some people find corkboard easier to work with, you can cut it exactly to shape and there's no discomfort like there is if you get fibreglass on exposed skin surfaces.

Of course, there's more to temperature control in the kennel that just insulating. One important consideration is the location of your kennel and run. You would want to avoid having it in either a damp shady place that rarely gets any sun, or in direct sunlight. It's nice if the kennel or run can catch either the early morning sun or the late afternoon sun, but best if it doesn't get full mid-day sun as that can make it extremely uncomfortable for your dog.

If you have a problem with heavy rain, snow or strong winds try to place your kennel door in such a way that it avoids being in the direct path of rain, snow or winds. Even if it means turning the kennel to the side or having the door face a wall, it's worth it if it keeps out the cold and rain.

Remember that color has an effect on heat management. Light colors refract the sunlight, and keep temperatures inside the kennel down. Alternatively, if you are trying to absorb more heat use darker wood for your kennel or paint it a dark brown color. Even a simple thing like this can help with lowering or increasing the temperature inside the pen.

Seal up any cracks where the roof meets the kennel walls and make sure the actual door to the dog pen isn't too wide or high. It should be high enough and wide enough for your dog to enter the kennel comfortably, but not give a lot of extra space between the dog and the door. The more compact the fit, the better insulation you'll have in your kennel.

Put flooring in the kennel. A wood floor is nice and keeps the dog up off the cement or ground. It's much warmer in winter and more comfortable for the dog in general. If you don't make a dog kennel flooring then you might want to invest in some Equine or Stable rugs for your dog to lie on. These can even be scattered around the actual run, if it's a cement run, so that the dog has comfortable places outside to rest also.

Whatever you decide, it is well worth insulating so that your dog kennel and run is a comfortable place for your pet to rest when he's not able to have the run of your yard or home.


Susan 6 years ago


Your kennel came out really well. If you would like any tips or advice, check out my website on dog house designs

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SusanWesty 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for the heads up on your site. We're doing fine. Just added Kennel decking to the run area, which has been a nice addition. She loves it!

Regina Smith 11 months ago

can you tell me what the quantity of materials used?

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