Dogs Pet Care

How to Prepare a Kennel for a Puppy

Having a puppy is a fantastic thing that any pet lover would appreciate. However, preparing a doghouse for your puppy can be an arduous task, especially if it’s your first time doing it. One could argue that just getting an already made one is the best option or paying someone to do it, but is it? Any dog lover would explain to you the joy of being able to do it yourself because the puppy is more than just a pet; it’s like your own baby. Now, I will take you through simple steps to making a wooden doghouse and what you should watch out for.

How to Prepare a Kennel for a Puppy

You could be wondering why constructing a doghouse is preferable to purchasing one. First of all, it only takes a day or less to make one and will cost you less than buying an already made one. It can be around $200 for a DIY one and about $7000 for a custom-made one. Also, making it yourself allows you to make it to your preference and what you think is best for your puppy.

What Equipment Do I Need to make a Kennel?

To make a doghouse, you will require some tools to make this possible. The list below is a general view of some of them. However, you may need some extra items depending on your ability and expertise.

  • Linseed
  • Paintbrush
  • Jigsaw
  • Paint (as advised)
  • 11/2 nails
  • Wood sheets every 4by4 feet (plywood)
  • Roofing Nails
  • Caulk
  • Hammer

Good Types of Wood For a Kennel

Getting the best wood for a doghouse is critical. Cedar, firwood, or plywood are all good options but not pine. However, most pine wood has been said not to be suitable for dogs, and you should avoid it. The toxins from pine can cause stomach issues for your puppy.

Plywood is said to be one of the best for a doghouse as it does have a stainless property and it’s water-resistant. It would be best if you also looked out for any signs of chemicals in the wood. Treated wood should not be used for a doghouse as the substances are harmful to puppies and dogs in general. To prepare a kennel for a puppy, construction materials are inherently improtant.

Make Size Cuts For your Doghouse

First things first, you need, of course, are wooden boards which you can easily purchase. The type of wooden boards you choose is critical; therefore, when making the purchase, you need to inform the seller that they are for making a doghouse so that they can advise you on the best type. Then, you will need to make cuts to the boards using a saw. You can start with long size cuts and then the small ones. You can start with the amounts for the floor, backside, and the front side, then the sides of the house. The roof may come later since it will be defined by the shape and size of the walls.

To do this also, you will need to know if the doghouse is to be meant for the puppy to grow to adulthood or not. If that is so, your measurements should be for a grown dog, although the house is for a puppy. On the other hand, if you plan to have a doghouse for a puppy, the contrary is also okay.

The Frontside

How to prepare a kennel for a puppy envolves sawing. Firstly, the front board of the doghouse that will, later on, be used to cut out the door of the doghouse. The average height for this can be 20 to 24 inches depending on how big you want your doghouse to be. The width can be around 30 inches. Take a sheet of plywood and make the sizing first with a pen, then cut out using a jigsaw.

The Backside

The rear of the doghouse will have the exact measurements as the front side. The only difference is the backside will be intact since there will be no cuttings for the door.

The Sides

The measurements for the sides of the doghouse will need two plywood sheets. Make sizes 20 to 24inches high and about 40 inches long to represent the length of the house. Then size the sides using a saw.

The Floor

Take a sheet of wood and cut sizes 40 inches long and around 24 inches wide. The floor wood should be thick enough to prevent the entry of cold air easily into the doghouse. Make nail surfaces to connect the doghouse’s floor to the rest of the structure.

The Door

Cut out a door to prepare a kennel for a puppy. The door will be cut from the front board you had sized earlier. Now, in the case of a puppy, you will not need a large size door as they can easily fit in an average of 24inches high. This, however, will also depend on the size of your puppy and if you intend to let it use the house until adult size. For a typical puppy, the door width should be around 20 inches. Make vertical line drawings on the board that defines the height and another at the top for the width. You can have a curve for the top of the door to your liking. Then cut the door out with a jigsaw.

The Peak

You will need to make shape cuttings off the front side and the backsides that will fit the roof. The standard roof shape is triangular, so to do that, you need to draw out a triangular shape of the sides at the top. Mark the 17-inch mark in the middle, then construct a 25-inch line down the side of the board. Do the same for the other side and the backside of the doghouse. At the end of the cuttings, you should have a triangular top for the boards to fit the roof.

Nailing Surfaces

These are essential parts of the building exercise for the doghouse since you cannot nail directly into the wood. You will then need to make surfaces to do that. Using pieces of wood, cut 2by4 sizes for the front side and the backside and nail them to the sides of the panels 20inches long each. Create also nailing surfaces for the sides and the peak.

Do the Nailing

For the nailing, you will require 11/2-inch nails. Join the backside, frontside, and the sides together by nailing. The outcome should be a rectangle-shaped structure. There is no roofing yet, but the doghouse should look like one only without a roof and floor. Place the structure on top of the floor and nail them together.

How to Prepare a Kennel for a Puppy

The Roof

At this point, having joined the structure, you can now make the roof. Please take one of the sheets of wood and place it on one of the sides at a 45-degree angle with the structure. Place another piece of wood on the other side to form a triangular roof that fits the front and backside peaks. Then nail the top to the structure. The height of the roof boards can be sized to fit in with the doghouse walls. If you want to keep your doghouse ventilated, you can make square openings on the roof boards to allow air into it. The vents can then be blocked with wire mesh to prevent insects from getting access or windows that can be opened.

You will require Caulk to make the doghouse water-resistant. Particularly for the roof. Apply Caulk to the doghouse in places where there are gaps. Linseed oil is also another good option for protecting the wood as it does not cause health issues to the puppy if chewed.


The doghouse is now fully finished and ready for use. However, if you want to add some paint to it to make it more presentable, you can. Please make sure you choose good quality Paint that is not lead-based since it can cause health problems for your puppy. You can use any color you want, but you may have to wait a few days for it to dry out before letting your puppy use it fully.

How to Prepare a Kennel for a Puppy
How to Prepare a Kennel for a Puppy

The color choice will also depend on the temperature fluctuations of where you live. If you live in a place that experiences freezing seasons, you may want to go for black or other dark colors that can absorb heat and keep the doghouse warm for your puppy. On the contrary, light colors are suitable for scorching places so as not to scare the puppy away due to high temperatures in the doghouse. Use around two coats of Paint and let it dry out completely.

Maintenance of the Doghouse

After the whole exercise of building the doghouse, caring for it is essential for the health and safety of your puppy. Now, I will take you through some basics for maintaining the doghouse.

Cleaning a Doghouse

Puppies can be very playful, and even sometimes, they can chew everything up in the doghouse. Hence when cleaning the house, you should not use chemical-based sprays or cleaners but instead opt for natural ones to avoid toxins getting trapped in the wood. Y

ou can use a DIY cleaner using baking soda and vinegar. Firstly, spray the doghouse with water and sprinkle fresh baking soda; then, using a brush, scrub the surfaces while paying close attention to the corners. Afterward, spray water to remove the dirt. Make a mixture of water and vinegar and spray it onto the walls, then let it dry out. Repeat the same procedure to the exterior. This is just one safe cleaning method for your puppy; many others exist.

Ventilation of a Kennel

The doghouse should be appropriately ventilated through the windows. When making it, you can consider having a window on one of the sides or roofs or not, depending on your liking. However, when cleaning the doghouse, you should remove all the bedding and let clean, fresh air circulate in and out for a while. This comes as the cleaning should be done regularly. On warm days you can open up the windows to let air in and on the contrary for cold days. It would be best if you also inspected it to look out for mold that can form and cause health issues.

Doghouse Protection – How to Prepare a Kennel for a Puppy

If you think of keeping your doghouse outside for a long-term period, you will need to protect it from the winter, cold, and summer. Additionally, you can add insulation boards to keep it warm and ensure it is elevated a few meters from the ground to avoid intrusion from insects. However, it should not be far from the environment such that the puppy cannot get in.

You can also have heated mats in the doghouse as an option if you are sure your puppy is not a chewer of stuff. However, this is not advised for small puppies as it can cause electrocution. You can also consider covering the wires for the mat covered away from their reach.

What to Put in the Doghouse for Your Puppy

Urine Pad

For a puppy, you will require a urine pad in the doghouse. Getting a reusable urine pad can be the best option since you won’t have to keep buying one all the time. Some pads absorb the urine and smell while keeping the doghouse fresh and clean.


For an outdoor doghouse, you will require bedding to keep the puppy warm and comfortable. The urine pad, in some cases, can act as bedding, but you should not put old bedding under the puppy as they may chew it up and get health complications. The size of the puppy bedding should be enough and not too small if it’s a big size puppy. Good bedding keeps the puppy comfortable and relaxed.


Toys are an essential part of a puppy’s life, hence why you should consider having some in the doghouse. You can choose from a variety in the market but be careful which ones you acquire. Since puppies are exceptionally playful, you should opt for toys that cannot be torn apart, causing the puppy to swallow or chew some pieces. The toys should also not have angles that are protruding that can cause harm to them.

Fresh Water

You can have a bowl of water outside the doghouse but not inside, as it can cause accidents and a mess when poured by the puppy. The water should be replaced at regular intervals to prevent bacteria from forming and spreading into the doghouse.

A kennel that is aesthetically pleasing to people but does not adequately meet the dogs’ needs is a poor investment of resources that can create or worsen unnecessary stress for dogs and their caretakers.

American Kennel Club


A quote by the American Kennel is that we should treasure dogs as companions. That phrase is accurate from all perspectives. Dogs are more than just pets; they are man’s best friend. Giving your puppy or pet a good doghouse is one of the best gifts you can offer for its happiness and welfare. Please pay attention to cleanliness, comfort, waterproofing, safety and sturdiness of build. A good and comfortable doghouse for your puppy plays a considerable role in their mental and physiological well-being.

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Ed Gordon

About Author

Growing up around pets, including turtles, cats, dogs and even red eared terrapins, Ed Gordon Price, is passionate about their welfare and imparting useful, facts and opinions about our furry, feathered, bald and scaled friends. Plus he is passionate about testing the products that help their lives. He has written a published novel about animals called The Zambezi Allies and invites you on this quest to discover useful stuff about pets and pet products.

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