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We are preparing to start building a large dog house for our dog. We may be building a double house to accomodate another large dog at a future date.

We currently have an 80 lb Komondor pup, with another two years of growing to do. We do not plan to fully cord him because he's mostly outside. He'll have some built in insulation with that massive amount of fur, but winters can be bitterly cold here.

What would be an affordable, safe insulation (besides a hay bed) for a dog? I thought of constructing most of the frame out of pallets since they're readily available, and stuffing straw between the slats before nailing plywood or another sheet board on the interior and exterior sides to create a short of natural wall insulation.

Ideas?
 

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Newspaper. Crumpled and stuffed into "walls" and shredded for bedding will keep Fido quite toasty.
 

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Construction/design is more insulation. If the dog is an outdoor dog, not one which spends some time inside and some outside then as long as he can get out of the wind, rain and snow he'll be fine. Remember they grow a winter coat that keeps them toasty.

The worse design is the "Snoopy house" where its a box with a huge door. There's no way for the dog to get out of the wind/weather.

The best, IMO, is to build a house where there is a 'mud room' where dog has to zig-zag to get into the main house. This prevents the wind from being able to whip in on him and keeps the weather out.

I also suggest using a hinged roof so in the summer you can crack it open for ventilation.
 

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Something that I have seen done is after the dog house is built, straw bales are stacked around the house, and over the top and a second roof is built (or just tarped) over the straw.
 

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I make a "door" out of a piece of scrap, heavy carpet, stapled to the top and sides. Then cut a slit down the center so it parts as the dog walks in, and closes back. Face the door opening away from the prevailing wind side, and it will work fine.

Also, don't build it TOO big. The heating is going to be the body heat of the dog, so the more space you put inside, the less the dog will be able to heat it.
 

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We built a great dog house just inside the garage. Nobody can tell it's a dog house and people were surprised when our dog appeared "out of nowhere". DH insulated it with the thick pink rigid foam - walls, ceiling, and floor. He then put in a heated mat that can be unplugged in the summer and hung flap doors made from blankets - one leading outside and one leading into the garage. It' wasn't unusual to find the cat snuggled in there with the dog. A chicken actually tried to move in with her this year, too. The dog and chicken bonded. It was cute. We used it for our elderly german shepherd who developed bladder control problems, so she could get outside quickly to do her business. She just passed away a couple of weeks ago and the two dogs we have left sleep indoors so it's not getting used - but it will be there when they need it.
 

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Although you're building a shelter for a dog that (assuming) spends most, if not all, of its time outdoors, I would advise against some of the suggestions for insulation that have been offered, particularly, using organic materials. I assume you love your dog and want to keep it healthy - Any exposure to the climate will result in damp, moldy conditions, that will very easily result in a bacterial infection such as pneumonia. It can also attract parasites.

I would suggest cutting up a SIPS panel: they are perfectly safe (no VOCs, off-gassing, etc.)---alternatively, you can make your own with some rigid poly and particle board--- then clad it with some wrap and whatever material suits you
 
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