The short answer is ‘it depends’. But there’s lots of options so let’s walkthrough a few to see if one makes more sense than the other. What is important is that your dog has adequate shelter at all times of the year and a dog kennel is a great way to provide this.

Let's look at some of the characteristics of the Timber, Plastic and Soft Kennel options:

Timber Kennels

  • Good for all year round use and colder climates as they’re typically well insulated.
  • A sturdy option so if your dog is a bit rough with their kennels or a chewer then timber is a good option.
  • Completely weatherproof so can be placed anywhere in the yard – does not need to be under cover. 
  • Consider where the kennel door is placed though as it may be better to have the door to the side rather than fully fronted so your dog can shelter away from wind or rain.
  • Look for timber kennels with a raised floor to ensure your dog is off the ground.
  • Typically come with a peaked or flat roof design.
  • You will need to place bedding inside – and ensure it is cleaned and flea treated at regular intervals. Consider whether a hinged roof might make the kennel easier to clean.
  • A permanent home that’s not as easy as other options to move around or for travelling.

Plastic Kennels

  • Another sturdy option that can also be good for chewers.
  • Well insulated – so good for really cold climates. Probably not the top pick for a full sun location in summer though.
  • Completely weatherproof so can be placed anywhere in the yard.
  • Comes in a range of shapes (igloo, peaked roof) and sizes.
  • Will need good bedding inside – as the kennel floor is on the ground. 
  • Easy to clean – the top half usually comes off and they can be easily hosed out. Ensure it is cleaned and flea treated at regular intervals.

Soft Kennels – like the Houndhouse

  • Designed to keep your dog up to 20% cooler in summer and warmer in winter.
  • The Houndhouse is made with tough marine canvas and has a unique sling bed to keep your dog off the ground. Sling bed provides good air-flow in summer and a simple mat on top of the sling bed insulates it perfectly for winter.
  • Can be used down south in colder climates – although in really cold weather we would recommend the addition of the door flap to help with warmth and protection from cold winds.
  • Discourages fleas.
  • Is 100% weatherproof – so can be used outside in direct weather. Tough marine canvas hoods protects the inside from any rain or wetness.
  • Also perfect for patio’s, decks or areas with some cover.
  • Easily transportable - folds flat so it’s a great option for camping and travelling.

See our range of dog kennels here

What size do I need?

One of the common mistakes people make is buying a kennel that is too big for the dog. The perception is that the dog might like to have a bit more space to move around. As long as your dog can lay down comfortably and enter/exit the kennel easily then that’s about the right size. One of the benefits of a kennel is that the dogs own body heat helps to generate warmth in the kennel so a kennel that’s too big means this can’t happen as effectively.

So what if my dog won’t use it?

There’s a few things you can do to entice them to use the kennel. If they have a bed now that they use then put that inside the kennel to coax them in. If they like sleeping on your bed or your clothes then maybe put one of your own sheets in there with a dog bed or mattress until they get used to it. Some people find putting a treat in there and rewarding them when they hop inside also works.

If your dog has never used a kennel and you are buying one to move them from sleeping inside the house to outside them you may need to do a little more work to coax them to use it. Try brining the kennel inside and coaxing them into using it inside the house where they are still near you and then graduially move the kennel closer to the door anf ultimately outside.
Be inventive – and don’t give up!

See our range of timber, plastic and Houndhouse dog kennels here