Top Dog Tips - The Importance of A Quality Dog HouseThe approaching Thanksgiving holiday means that fall is coming to an end. It's hard to believe that it is this time of year again. Here in Maine the temperatures have already dropped below freezing at night, and we've already had our first snow of the season. No matter where you live, it is important to make sure that your dog has a warm, safe place to go when he is left outside. Understanding the importance of a quality dog house is vital if your dog spends a measurable amount of time outdoors.

This week I wanted to learn more about quality dog houses and what makes one dog house superior to another. I had the opportunity to sit down with Larry Hobbs, co-founder and CEO of Bow Wow Dog Houses. His company crafts top of the line dog houses that are made with environmentally conscious materials that are safe for your pet.

All too often I see dogs out in the cold or in the baking sun, and their only shelter is a cheap plastic dog house with little ventilation and no insulation. Yes, these shelters do keep your dog out of the elements. They block the wind and keep the rain from beating down on him, but that's all they do.

These types of dog houses are usually too hot or too cold, depending on the weather. Sometimes they are even made with plastics that contain harmful chemicals which can have a negative effect on your dog's health if he is exposed to them over time. These types of shelters don't usually have enough room for a large breed dog either.

The Importance of A Quality Dog House

The Importance of A Quality Dog House
Photo: Bow Wow Dog Houses

Bow Wow Dog Houses are built like our homes. The parent company, Brent-Wood Products of Los Angeles, is a family owned and operated business with three generations of wood working experience and design. Back in the early 2000's Larry needed a house for his dog, but nothing on the market was comparable to what he could build himself.

RELATED: DIY Cold Weather Dog House: Keep Your Dog Warm in Winter

As soon as he placed his dog's new digs out in his yard, family and friends began to notice the expert craftsmanship and beautiful design. They wanted dog houses too. In 2010 Bow Wow Dog Houses was born, and they've been growing steadily ever since.

But what makes their dog houses so different? The quality and durability of a Bow Wow Dog House is unlike anything that I've seen on the market. Larry told me that they have products that have been in the field for 6 years and have yet to show and signs of damage. His goal is for his products to last pet parents for generations of dogs, not just a few years.

The Importance of A Quality Dog House
Photo: Bow Wow Dog Houses

The company tries to be eco-friendly when possible as well. Some of the materials used to build Bow Wow dog houses are excess materials that are re-purposed (or upcycled as they like to call it) from the industrial work done by Brent-Wood Products.

On average about 20% of the materials used for framing the dog houses are upcycled. These materials are still top-quality, they just can't be used for industrial purposes. Most companies would throw these leftover materials in the trash.

The framing for the dog houses is usually made with pine. Larry says that pine makes a clean interior framing structure, so if a dog owner chooses not to have the dog house finished with insulation or paneling, it will still have a great aesthetic appeal.

RELATED: Top 10 Best Dog Houses for Outdoors and Indoors

They also use cedar siding material that is defective and cannot be used for residential siding. They cut it to separate the defective area from the usable material and use it to side the dog houses. Cedar siding can be painted or stained easily, so families can customize their dog's home.

When learning about the importance of a quality dog house, Larry explained to me that dog owners need to be mindful about the materials that are used in the making of the shelter. He told me that many pet parents don't realize that formaldehyde is commonly used in the processing of plywood. There are also many well-known toxins used in making certain types of plastics.

First of all, these chemicals are extremely dangerous if your dog is a chewer. If he ingests these poison it could make him very sick. Secondly, think about the size of a dog house. It is a small enclosed space where your dog can go to stay warm and get out of the elements when he is left outside.

Chemicals from the materials of the dog house can diminish the air quality inside the shelter and they can also leach into your dog's system through his skin. Bow Wow Dog Houses only uses products that are compliant with California Air Quality Management regulations. They also do not use any plastic or vinyl materials.

The Importance of A Quality Dog House
Photo: Bow Wow Dog Houses

The most important thing about manufacturing products is that you need to be able to distribute them to your customers. Because Bow Wow Dog Houses produce a unique product that isn't necessary for every dog, they need to be able to reach a wide audience of dog owners. Their products need to be made available to their target demographic – pet owners with dogs who spend a measurable amount of time outside on a regular basis – and these pet owners may be living anywhere in the world.

Larry told me that worldwide shipping is available through Bow Wow Dog Houses, but that's not the only hard part about getting the dog houses to the customers. They also had to find a way to make it easy for consumers to put the dog houses together without sacrificing the integrity of the structure. Enter the Bow Wow Dog House Kit.

RELATED: How to Clean and Maintain Outdoor Dog Kennels

Hobbs and his team have found a way to create dog house kits that can be easily assembled. When you produce a product, you need to cater to your customers' needs, ad that's just what Bow Wow has done. Many families enjoy doing things together, and when your family includes a dog that means enjoying activities with Fido too. Assembling one of these dog house kits would be a great way for families to spend time together while creating a safe, eco-friendly, healthy space for their pet.

My favorite thing about Bow Wow dog houses is that they are completely customizable. Pet owners can speak with representatives from the company to create the ideal house for their dog. For example, if you have a dog with hip and joint issues, it may be easier to have two doors (one in front and one on the side) so he can walk through the dog house without having to turn himself around.

The Importance of A Quality Dog House
Photo: Bow Wow Dog Houses

These dog houses can also be painted and stained, just like your home. If you have a white house with red trim, you could paint your dog house to match. When it's time to repaint your home, you can repaint Fido's at the same time. Painting a dog house would be a great family project as well.

The importance of a quality dog house should not be underestimated, especially if your pet spends a lot of time outside. Spending a little bit more for a dog house now, will save you money and worry in the future. Plastic dog houses from big box stores may cost less now, but when you have to buy a new one every 2 or 3 years, the expense will really begin to add up.

Larry wants his dog houses to be around for generations. That's why Bow Wow Dog Houses offer replacement parts and upgrades to their customers. They keep the dog house designs on file, so if something goes wrong 10 years from now, you can call and they'll look up your design and create a replacement part for you.

Likewise, if something changes with your pet, like he becomes disabled or has a harder time with mobility as he ages, you can call Bow Wow and they'll create replacement parts or upgrades for your existing dog house so you can modify it to meet Fido's needs.

Buying a quality shelter for your pet, like these from Bow Wow Dog Houses, will allow you to have peace of mind knowing that your pet is safe, happy and warm inside his home. He'll have his own space where he feels comfortable. Dogs are den animals by nature, meaning they enjoy having their own small area to curl up in and be protected from the outside world.

If your dog spends a lot of time outside, do him a favor and learn the importance of a quality dog house. According to Larry, the two most important things that a dog house needs is enough space for your pet and plenty of ventilation. It needs to keep him cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Be sure to provide your dog with a customized home that will meet all of his individual needs.

Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.