Winters can be very harsh and some dogs shouldn’t spend entire day outside in cold temperatures. But if your dog enjoys sleeping outside, it may be necessary to provide them with a warm dog house.
While insulated dog house is a good start, sometimes it's not enough. A dog house heater or a dog house furnace that's pet-friendly is a great way to warm up your pup's home.
When Pets Need a Dog House Heater or Furnace
A dog’s size, weight, age and overall health also play a role.
Some northern dog breeds like Huskies or Malamutes are fine with cold weather and can manage to keep themselves warm. Most dogs, however, will need some type of an external heat source in their outdoor dog house to keep them warm in severe weather.
When it drops below 45°F (7°C), some breeds will start getting uncomfortable, cold and will be exposed to health risks of frostbite and hypothermia. Short-haired dogs and small breeds will need a heat source in their dog house even in warmer winter temperatures.
Small dog breeds get cold faster than large breeds because they have a larger surface area to volume ratio. Smaller dogs have more skin in relation to their overall body size, so they lose heat more easily than large breeds.
Thin dogs that don’t weigh a lot will become cold faster than heavier dogs because body fat is a good insulator. The most vulnerable dogs are seniors since they have slower metabolism than adult dogs, and they're unable to produce as much heat.
Pregnant and whelping dogs require constant warmth as well, both before and after the delivery. Cold air can sometimes be lethal for the bitch and the puppies.
Below, we've reviewed some of the best dog house heaters currently available based on their price tag, features, safety, the area they affect and how long they keep a dog house warm in extremely cold temperatures. Here are our top five rated choices:
No products found.
5 Types of Dog House Heaters and Furnaces
A dog house heater is any device that serves to produce heat, whether for a small area or the entire dog house. There are five common types of heating devices for dog houses.
1. Heated Pads and Bedding
This is usually a thick bed with fleece lining, or a thermal pad that can fit under a fabric bed, or inside of it. Dog heating pads are one of the cheaper solutions to keep your pet warm inside a dog house, but they're also not very effective in extremely cold weather or for larger dog houses.
2. Microwavable Pads
This is another affordable and convenient solution that offers a quick fix if you need to heat one small area of the dog house. It's a simple dog pad that you can heat up in a microwave. It will then continue to produce heat for approx. 8 hours on average. It's not a long-term solution and it is more suitable for crates or playpens located indoors.
3. Light Bulb Heaters
This type of heating device is typically used with farm animals and reptiles, but it has become increasingly popular for dog houses over the last few years. It is a light bulb or even a ceramic bulb that only emits heat but not light, so it won’t be uncomfortable on your dog’s eyes. Again, it won't be too effective in very cold temperatures.
4. Electric Dog House Heaters
An electric type of dog house heater is the most effective device and it usually comes with a steeper price. These heaters are either mounted on the dog house wall or placed on top of some solid object. They use electrical currents and convert them into heat that can warm a large area, usually the entire dog house, depending on the brand.
5. Solar-Powered Heaters
Solar-powered dog house heaters are still not easily available commercially and many dog owners choose to build this system on their own. These heaters are energy-efficient, sustainable and can save a lot of money for dog owners in the long run but will require some initial investment if you choose to do a DIY dog house heater option.
Dog House Heaters vs. Heated Dog Houses
In addition to the best dog house heaters we've reviewed here, there is another option that is becoming more popular – heated dog houses. As you expect, these are houses that already come with their own system.
A heated dog houses are still a relatively new product. They have a heat source already pre-installed into their design, most commonly an electric heating system or a light bulb. The heat source is combined with better insulation and materials meant to retain heat to provide a more efficient heating system in dog houses.
Buying a heated dog house is a more expensive option than buying and installing separate dog house heaters or furnaces, especially if you already own a dog house. But heated dog houses are more efficient and come with a pre-installed heating system specifically designed for that individual house.
If you are on a budget and you already have a house for your pooch, getting a high-quality dog house heater or furnace is likely to be a more cost-effective option.
How to Choose the Best Dog House Heater or Furnace
Not all dog house heaters are made the same. Some heating systems require manual installation and for you to be very handy with tools, while others can simply be placed in the house. Some heaters can also cover a much larger area of dog house, and some must be accompanied by certain safety measures. Here's what to consider before you buy one.
The amount of heating power you will need depends on several factors: the size of a dog house, a dog's needs for heat (breed, size, weight, age, health), your location (how cold are the winters where you live) and whether the dog house is well-insulated or not.
The key is to choose a dog heating device that will provide enough heat to your pooch without being too aggressive; otherwise, your pet can get overheated.
Quality of Materials
When dealing with heat sources, quality is of utmost importance due to safety. The heater or furnace needs to be made from durable and dog-friendly materials so your dog can’t chew through it or scratch it.
Any wires and other electrical parts of the dog house heater need to be chew-proof, like wires with a steel outer layer that prevent your dog from getting to the wire itself. Ideally, you choose a heating system with a proven track record to be certain they don't malfunction and become a safety hazard.
Some dog heaters come with useful additional features, such as being controlled by a thermostat, having the ability to cool the area as well as heat it, automatic shut-off system to prevent overheating, having a carry handle to make it portable and more.
All of these can be very useful, particularly if you plan to use the heating system for a long period of time, but they all raise the price, too.
Speaking of the price, if you shop on a budget, a dog house heater's cost is an important factor to consider. Luckily, there are various choices in different price ranges, especially if your dog’s house is not large and doesn’t require a lot of heating power. We've consider this when ranking the best dog house heater brands and reviewing them below.
How Safe are Dog House Heaters and Furnaces?
Dog house heaters that are made from quality materials to prevent chewing or scratching, and heaters that have certain safety mechanisms in place, are generally safe.
For example, a dog house heater's safety mechanisms may include a thermostat that shuts the heater off to prevent overheating, distance protection to prevent your dog from getting burned if he comes too close and other similar features.
However, you must still ensure your dog’s safety using certain precautions. Don’t buy just any heater – make sure that it's the one designed specifically for dog houses, and from a company/brand with a proven track record with no malfunctioning.
Also, a dog’s house must be large enough to host these heaters. Small dog houses don’t have enough room for it. Measure the dog house to be sure before you buy a heater.
Follow the installation instructions to the letter and don’t use a heater outdoors if it is meant for indoor use. Heaters for outdoor use are usually waterproof because they may come in contact with elements like snow or rain, while indoor ones will not be waterproof.
Finally, remember not to put any winter clothes on your dog if you have a dog house heater installed, and don't use any other additional heating options such as heat pads or light bulbs. These dog house heaters are made under the assumption of being the single source of heat in a dog's home.
The Best Dog House Heaters and Furnaces
1 Dog House Furnace
by Hound Heater
This is one of the best dog house heaters currently on the market. It can heat up to 75 cubic feet thanks to the 300-watt heating element. The heater comes with three different settings – low, medium and high. That allows you to use the heater for both mild and extremely cold nights.
No products found.
What we liked the most about this heater is the fact that it is thermostat-controlled. We are able to adjust the thermostat anywhere between 30 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (-1° to 38° C) and the heater will only run when necessary so our electricity bill doesn’t go through the roof while keeping the dog warm.
The heater also doesn’t use a lot of energy when it is turned on – just 1.3 amps (just for comparison, an iPhone charger uses 2.1 amps). This product also includes a heat shield to prevent our dog from getting burned when in a house, and has an 8-ft spring cord that keeps the dog safe.
Now, one of the biggest drawbacks we found with this dog house heater is the price. It's expensive, but compared to other brands, the quality is much better. Then, there was also a small issue we have with installing it – it's not very hard but it requires some technical skills. Also, it seems like the heat shield gets a little too warm so we suggest that you mount the heater high on the wall so your pooch can’t reach it.
Finally, while this is the best dog house heater out there, for extremely cold winter nights we don't think it will produce enough heat, especially for the large area in a big dog house (the company claims that it does, but we beg to differ).
» PROS: Heats up to 75 Cubic Feet, Comes with Three Different Settings, Thermostat-Controlled, Includes a Heat Shield, Doesn’t Use a Lot of Energy, Protective Cord, Easy to Install
« CONS: Expensive, Needs to Be Installed, Small Issue with Heat Shield, Not Heating Well Enough in Very Cold Temperatures
2 CL Safe Chicken Coop Heater
by Cozy Products
Although this pet house heater is meant for chicken coops, it is a suitable option you can also use for your dog’s house. The heater uses only 200 watts, so it is very energy efficient. However, this heater can’t properly heat large areas and won't be good for large dog house and very cold winters, but it is more than enough to provide a warm area for your pooch or to heat a small dog house in generally cold weather.
No products found.
The heater is compact and lightweight and you can use it indoors as well. You can mount this unit on the wall or simply place it somewhere in the dog house since it can stand up on its own. The unit heats the area radiantly, which means that it is safe to touch and your dog won’t get burned on it.
This heater comes with a built-in thermostat as well but you cannot control the unit through it. While we did find this heater helpful for somewhat cold weather, we've checked with other pet owners and some claimed that the heater can become too hot and thus dangerous. There were also some reports of the heater getting broken after short use.
» PROS: Energy Efficient, Compact, Lightweight, Can Be Mounted or Stand On Its Own, Built-In Thermostat, Safe to Touch
« CONS: Not For Larger Areas, May Get Too Hot (Depending on the Unit; Lack of Quality Control)
3 Heat-N-Breeze Dog House Heater and Fan
This product is a bit different than the rest because it is both heater and ventilator packed into one. This dual function is certainly a great advantage but the heating element rated at 150 watts was our main concern. This element is also replaceable, so you can still keep the complete device after you replace the heating element if necessary.
No products found.
The heater is very similar to the best dog house heater above from Hound Heater. It follows the same installation process, which can be a hassle but it was actually pretty simple on the second try, and the instructions are included. The unit came with a built-in thermostat that allows you to set the preferred temperature and turns the heater off when it achieves it.
This unit is made out of 16 ga. powder-coated steel and with an 8-ft steel-wrapped power cord that prevents a dog from chewing through it. And while this product doesn’t have many reviews yet, they are mostly positive. The drawbacks are similar to the first rated dog house heater, and also with this, the heater part of the unit seems to work better than the cooling part.
» PROS: Can Heat and Cool the Dog House, Easy Installation, Energy Efficient, Good for Larger Areas, Controlled by Thermostat, Safe to Use
« CONS: Expensive, Fan Not Cooling Well Enough, Needs to Be Installed
4 AVH2 Whole Room Vortex Heater
This product was built for nurseries and other kid-friendly environments but that only means that the heater is meant to be as safe as possible. The heater is compact and lightweight, so you can carry it easily from your dog house to any other room if necessary.
No products found.
Although small, this heater can heat our entire dog house thanks to the vortex technology that distributes warm air evenly across the dog house. You can set the desired temperature and the heater will automatically adjust heat output to achieve it. This heater came with a digital display that allowed us to change the settings manually as well, whether it is heat level or fan speed.
This heater is perfectly safe for pets since the cabinet remains cool even after hours of use and the product has an automatic shut-off system for overheating. The heater is very sturdy and constructed in a way that prevents it from being easily tipped over. However, it is still better to place the heater somewhere high to ensure your dog’s safety.
While we find this to be a good choice and decent alternative to other best dog house heaters, there were some reports from other pet owners about malfunctioning after short use. Others also found the thermostat not working properly and a few dog owners reported burning smell after turning on the heater.
» PROS: Lightweight, Portable, Safe to Touch, Auto Shut-Off Feature, Can Heat a Whole Dog House
« CONS: A Bit Expensive, Thermostat Is Tricky, Some Reports of Burning Odor and Malfunction
5 Lectro-Soft Heated Outdoor Pet Bed
by K&H Pet Products
If a dog house furnace isn't an option, then this heating dog pad may be better suited to keep your pup warm. It comes in three different sizes – small, medium and large. This pad is specifically designed for outdoor use, which means it is waterproof and safe for your pets to use since it can’t be harmed by the elements.
No products found.
The heating pad came with a 5.5 feet steel-wrapped cord that a dog won’t be able to damage by chewing or scratching. The heat this pad emits is thermostatically controlled and designed not to exceed a dog’s natural body temperature. The pad runs on low wattage (20-60 watts, depending on the size), which makes it a smart choice from an economic standpoint.
The materials used to make this heating pad seem to be soft but also durable enough (PVC and orthopedic foam). That is why we ranked this pad as the fifth of best dog house heaters, because it's a very viable alternative. It's also great for senior dogs and dogs with joint problems or arthritis. This heater also included a removable, machine-washable fleece cover.
In terms of drawbacks, you may argue that this pad doesn’t produce enough heat to keep a dog warm in very cold weather. Also, the orthopedic foam didn't feel like it's evenly distributed.
» PROS: Available in Three Sizes, Comes with a Steel-Wrapped Cord, Orthopedic, Waterproof, Energy Efficient, Thermostatically Controlled, Machine-Washable Cover
« CONS: A Bit Expensive, Low Heat Output, Pad Somewhat Uncomfortable, Not Suitable for Large Areas
6 Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter
This sixth best dog house heater is the most affordable solution on our list but it can also be very effective if used in the right way. Often misconstrued to be a lamp, this ceramic heat emitter or bulb actually doesn’t emit any light at all, so your dog won’t be bothered by it when they want to sleep. This heat emitter can be used for terrariums and chicken coops as well.
No products found.
The heater is partly made of metal but it is mostly ceramic and you must use it only with a porcelain socket. The product came with AC 110-120V voltage and power of 150 watts. It cannot heat large areas, obviously, and won't be as effective as the rest of best dog house heaters listed above, but it can provide enough heat in one spot to keep your pooch warm(er) during cold-ish winter months.
This ceramic heater is also waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about the elements. However, you need to make sure that there are at least 11 inches of distance between the heater and your pet to ensure their safety.
The main problem with this product comes from its longevity. The manufacturer states that the bulb should last up to 10,000 hours but one of ours stopped working after a month (while the second one still works). The heater’s base is not well-built and the tip melted a little after using it for a longer time.
» PROS: Very Affordable, Easy to Install, Waterproof, Energy-Efficient, Quiet, Only Emits Heat
« CONS: Not Suitable for Large Areas, Not Very Durable, Tip Melting a Little
7 HMP1500 Mica Panel Heater
This panel heater is not made specifically for dog houses but it can be used for that purpose since it is safe for pets. That being said, if your dog’s house is not well-built and there is a chance that the heater can come in contact with the elements, we do not recommend it.
No products found.
The heater utilizes Mica technology, which allows the unit to emit multi-directional warmth. This means that this dog house heater can cover a wider area and should be enough to an average pet house since it has 1500 watts of heating power. This heater has a thermal cut-off feature to prevent overheating, as well as an internal switch that can turn the unit off if it becomes unstable or gets tipped over.
The panel is very lightweight and portable and it came with a carry handle and detachable wheels. This unit can stand on its own but you can also detach the feet and hang it on the wall of your dog’s house. And if your dog doesn’t like noisy things, this heater is perfectly quiet and won’t disturb the pet in any way.
There were some instances of this pet house heater getting overheated a little, despite the safety feature that should have prevented this.
» PROS: Lightweight, Portable, Includes Carry Handle, Quiet, Auto Shut-Off Feature, Can Heat Large Areas
« CONS: Expensive, Overheating