Depending on the part of the country you call home, you may be getting well acquainted with a dose of bitter cold. Even in warmer, tropical climates the mercury has begun to head south into freezing temperatures. While the brisk cold is a welcome sign to many of us as it means the days of rabbit hunting have arrived, there are still cold weather precautions that must be taken, such as in the case of housing dogs that reside outside.
There is nothing like a sturdy dog house to keep your rabbit dogs warm and comfortable throughout the winter months. Whether you prefer elevated enclosures or the standard dog house in a kennel, the fact remains that your rabbit dogs need to be able to seek some kind of shelter from the elements. There are many ways you can provide such shelter, some of which come at great expense. For example, I personally have spent a lot of money over the years on igloo dog houses just to have my dogs prefer to sleep elsewhere and not even in the house itself. Such experiences have naturally resulted in wariness when it comes to coughing up the cash to pay for elaborate dog houses that may go unused. With that in mind, why not create your own economical dog house instead?
Believe it or not, there is a lot of money to be saved by repurposing old or unused items into dog houses. One of the most widely available items you can collect for this purpose is pallets. Not only are these items plentiful at places such as your local grocer, but they are also free in most cases. By using a tool such as a Sawzall to take pallets apart and following a simple set of plans, you can create an economical dog house. Do take note, however, that pallets are not treated against rot, so that will need to be done to maintain the life of your dog house.
Photo: Pallet Furniture DIY
Do you have some old furniture you no longer use? Whether it is an end table or an old TV, it can be gutted for use as shelter for your rabbit dogs. Simply remove the contents to create an entry/exit and stuff with bedding, such as hay or straw, to add warmth. If you do not have such furniture at your disposal, a visit to your local thrift store could help you find some.
Photo: Chicago Mag
If you have access to large plastic drums, they, too, can be used to create an enclosed shelter for dogs. Different cuts are possible, but the goal is to create an opening for the dog to come in and go out of while leaving most of the enclosure intact to maintain a barrier against the elements. When acquiring 55 gallon drums, be sure to use food grade and not those that once housed chemicals so no toxins will be present to harm your dogs.
Photo: Utah Bird Dogs
It is possible, too, to combine materials you have a surplus of to create adequate housing. Wood scraps, metal siding, and even corrugated pipe can be brought together to complete a dog house project. When using metal, however, it is essential that you cover or remove sharp edges that can harm dog house occupants.
Photo: Remove and Replace
In addition to providing a warm, comfortable place for your dog to bed down, you will be giving your animals protection from the elements that could take a toll on their health in the cold winter months. Spending a fortune on an elaborate dog house is not necessary, but functionality is, and when it comes to functionality sometimes all it takes is a little creativity and elbow grease to create the shelter your rabbit dogs need.
Do you have any dog house ideas you'd like to share? Do you prefer housing your dogs in a traditional dog house or are you open to creating your own? Let us know in the comments!