Ideal Dog Shelters for Saskatchewan Climates

Download the full plans here.

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A dog housed outdoors in the summer or winter MUST be provided with proper shelter.
In winter, the dog shelter MUST be insulated and small enough to contain and maintain body heat.

The Outdoor Dog: Additional Considerations

Many heavier coated breeds of dogs can live outdoors during the winter months, if provided with an insulated shelter of proper dimensions. The dimensions are critically important if the dog is to maintain warmth in the shelter with its own body heat.

Dogs should be acclimatized to outdoor living when they are young and also when the weather is warm.

Shelter exteriors should be finished with a weatherproof material or paint. Changing the location of the shelter from summer to winter will allow you to control the effects of the sun, shade, and wind.

Bedding material should be put in the sleeping area. Straw is an excellent bedding material and readily available in Saskatchewan. Change the bedding every few weeks to ensure a dry, clean interior. Blankets and carpets are not suitable bedding material, as they will hold and absorb moisture; if a dog lays on a damp blanket, it can lower their body temperature.

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The shelter entrance should not be oversized. Make the entrance just large enough to allow the dog access into the shelter. Place a five or six inch lip at the base of the entrance, this will keep the bedding inside the shelter and also allow for extra protection from the elements.

A carpet, canvas or rubber outer flap over the entrance should be used to provide more weather protection in the winter. The flap may be removable for maximum summer coolness. A solid door can also be incorporated (i.e. lightweight wood, hinges, etc.)

The shelter should be elevated on blocks to keep the floor dry, but it may then be necessary to provide a ramp or steps so your dog can get over the raised sill when entering. A low-based platform extending past the shelter dimensions is preferable and allows the dog an area off the ground on which to lie when outside its shelter. If your present shelter is not insulated and unsuitable for winter use, it may be possible to insulate the walls, floor and ceiling. The rule of thumb is a sleeping area small enough for the dog to walk in, turn around, and lay down. Keep in mind that you may even be able to place a splitter board in the existing shelter to reduce the sleeping area size, thus making a vestibule style shelter.

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For a young or aging dog, the installation of a protected auxiliary heat source such as a light bulb, car warmer, or brooder bulb may be necessary.

THE ANIMAL PROTECTION ACT OF SASKATCHEWAN AND THE CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA requires animal owners to provide proper food, water, shelter and care for their animals. Failure to supply these necessities could result in the animal being seized, and in serious in- stances, could lead to the prosecution under the CRUELTY TO ANIMAL SECTION OF THE CRIMINAL CODE OF CANDA.

Dog Shelter Construction

The dog shelter in this illustration can be simply made from readily avail- able materials. Basically, it is a frame of 2x4s with a 1/2 or 3/4 inch weather-proof plywood exterior. The walls, floor and ceiling of the sleeping area are insulated with a minimum of R-12 fibreglass insulation, which in turn, is sheeted with a plastic vapour barrier and then an inner wall of 1/4 or 1/2 inch hard board of plywood.

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This shelter is constructed with an uninsulated vestibule.

If choosing to use Styrofoam insulation, ensure that the R value is equal to R-12 or better. (Proper Styrofoam insulation is stamped with R value on the panels.) Due to chewing, this form of insulation should only be located between doubled walls.

Size of Sleeping Area (Floor Spaces) Easy Calculations and Examples

Measure your dog’s height from top of shoulder to the ground. Allow 36 square inches of floor space per inch of dog’s height.

Example: A dog measuring 22” (from shoulder to ground) x 36 square inches of floor space: 22 x 36 = 792 square inches of insulated sleep- ing area (floor space).

The shelter sizes on the downloadable PDF indicate the inside measurements of the insulated sleeping area.


Moose Jaw Humane Society
PO Box 1658, Stn Main
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S6H 7K7

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