Many dog owners have a dog house with AC in their garden so they can be safe and comfortable. Unlike us, dogs are not capable of regulating their body temperature as they can only sweat from their paws. And in the wintertime, wet dogs take a long time to dry naturally and will suffer joint stiffness due to the cold weather. So how do we keep them warm and dry in their dog house?
HVAC dog house
A heated, ventilated and air conditioned dog house is ideal for dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors or who live outdoors year-round. They are well suited to:
- Hot summers (AC)
- Cold winters (heating)
- Guard dogs i.e. farms, builder’s yards, vehicle depots
HVAC dog houses ensure that dogs are kept cool during the summer and warm during the winter, enabling them to live safely outdoors.
Typically, these are dog houses with an independent HVAC unit installed either on an outer wall or an inner corner. Alternatively, HVAC units connected to a mains supply are also fairly common.
Air conditioner for dog house
If you have a dog house in your yard, you may want to consider installing an air conditioner, even if your dog only uses the dog house for short periods.
Dog houses do not have a natural ventilation besides the entry hole and there is no airflow, so in warm weather, they can get quite hot. This puts your dog at risk of heatstroke since dogs are only capable of sweating through their paw pads.
Also, dog houses are not manufactured with any insulation, so they can get very cold in winter and even develop a layer of frost, putting your dog at risk of hypothermia.
The ideal temperature range for dogs is 45-80°F/7-27°C. Many air conditioning units have the capability to cool and heat the environment around them which means your dog is protected and comfortable year-round whenever he uses his dog house.
Solar dog house air conditioner
Solar air conditioners work by drawing power from the sun, so the unit does not require any mains electricity to function.
Solar powered AC units have a much lower carbon impact on the environment than traditional mains powered units and they have lower running costs.
Solar powered AC units have the added benefit of being portable, so you easily readjust the positioning or transport them elsewhere if needed. If you require power during the night or on overcast days, you simply need to include a battery within your AC setup.
Considerations when purchasing a dog house AC
When purchasing an air conditioner for your dog house there are a few things to consider.
- The most important feature to check is the heating and cooling capability of the unit (BCU). It should have a large enough radius to cool and heat the entire space. A unit with at least 2000 BTU would be required for an outdoor dog house to ensure adequate power.
- The EER or Energy Efficiency rating tells you how efficient the unit is and how much energy it uses. Higher EER ratings are more efficient and will cost you less on your electric bill.
- The voltage requirements are important as you will need to have a suitable outlet to power the unit. It is recommended that you position your dog house close to an outlet.
- Check the installation instructions and consider whether you can fit the unit yourself or if the job requires the help of a professional.
- Additional features are handy such as auto timers for the heating or cooling, electronic thermostat display or dehumidifier capabilities.
- Finally, be sure of your budget so you don’t overspend or choose a unit outside of your price range.
Best Overall: ClimateRight Air Conditioner
When looking at all the essential features and any additional capabilities, the ClimateRight air conditioner takes the top spot. Although it is expensive at $385, it comes with the following features:
- 2500 BTU
- Lightweight and compact
- Easy to install
- Dehumidifying setting
- Fairly quiet at 55dB
- Standard 115v outlet required
If your dog has a larger dog house, ClimateRight also produces a 10,000 BTU model. Like the smaller 2500 BTU model, this larger option also uses a standard 115v outlet for power. It has a larger radius for heating and cooling, dehumidifying capabilities and offers auto on and off timers.
The unit also comes with a remote control that can be used indoors for even more control. Provided your dog house is positioned close to the house, the remote control can be used to change both the AC and heating settings.
This unit is slighter louder at 61dB and also heavier, but both units come with the same one-year warranty.
Best Budget: Wiland Portable Air Conditioner
If you are looking for a simple cooling/fan option then the Wiland Portable Air Conditioner is a good option. It is more budget-friendly than the ClimateRight since it does not have any heating features and the unit itself is small at just 9inches in height, width and depth.
The Wiland unit uses a 5v and can be powered by a power bank, laptop or mobile USB charging port. It also comes with a 30-day warranty for peace of mind.
In addition, to offer the standard fan/cooling option, the Wiland air conditioner also has dehumidifying capabilities. There is no way to control the temperature, but it is perfect for lowering the temperature by up to 5° or to provide a cool airflow.
Can AC for dog houses make a dog sick?
There are no long term risks of your pets getting sick from an AC unit, unless it is an old-fashioned fuel burning AC. Modern electrical AC units cannot produce carbon monoxide, so there is no risk of poisoning.
Most units have automated on and off functionality that you can present. For example, you can pre-set the AC to turn on when the temperature increases passed a certain point, and the same for the heating if the dog house cools below a particular temperature.
This is beneficial for your dog’s health as it prevents heatstroke or similar conditions related to body temperature.
Are portable air conditioners safe for dogs?
Yes, portable AC units are safe for dogs. As we have learned, modern air conditioners are powered by electricity, so there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If the unit is installed incorrectly or left running for an extended period, there is a small risk of an electrical fire, however, this is rare and only happens with incorrect installation.
How can I keep my dog cool without AC?
If having AC is not suitable for you, there are plenty of ways you can keep your dog cool without AC. Most importantly, always provide your dog with fresh, clean water. If the weather is especially warm you can add ice cubes to the water.
Additionally, you can purchase cool mats. These are mats with a weight activated gel inside, which cools whenever a dog sits or stands on the mat. Dogs can sit or lie on the mat for as long as they wish. They are ideal for dog houses as they are sheltered from sunlight and will help reduce the ambient air temperature.
If budget is the reason an AC unit is not suitable for you, a portable fan may be a good alternative. Ensure this is placed near the entrance to draw in cool air, otherwise, the fan will simply be circulating the warm air already inside the dog house.
To prevent the dog house from getting too hot, ensure it is located in an area that gets plenty of shade during the day. If this is not possible, create a shaded area. You can do this with a garden parasol, a canopy or by planting tall plants or trees by your dog house.