Outdoor Kennel Winterization

Boy Scout

Regular Member
What do you guys do to winterize your outdoor kennels? I have a 12x12 foot kennel enclosure with deckboard floor, corrugated roof panels and dog ear fence slats on the prevailing wind walls. In the enclosure is a 10x10 foot chain link kennel and his two room dog house with cedar chip insulation.

This is my first full winter with him outside and I wanted to make sure I'm doing it right. Tarps? Dog house and water bucket heaters? How do you guys roll?
12x12 kennel on concrete. Horse stall mats on half. The east side is directly up against a wood fence. The west side is a couple feet from my house. South side protected by my patrol car and wood gate I hide my car behind so pretty well wind protected except from the north. Waterproof roof for rain/snow and shade. Doghouse is one of those simple dogloos with cedar chips.

I live in the PNW which is relatively moderate so no special heaters or anything. If we had a bad spell of abnormal cold he would sleep in the patrol car or in a wire crate in the garage. My partners a GSD tho, double coat 100% outdoor dog, built for it.

Boy Scout

Regular Member
Bringing it back to the top to get some more eyes on the discussion.

I ended up getting a broken thumb about a month ago, so my kennel winterization plans were kind of shot. I just finally got out of the brace so I was able to finally get to it. I wrapped the non-walled sides of the kennel enclosure with tarps as a wind break. I also put another tarp across the top of the chain link kennel itself, forming another roof of sorts to hopefully keep a little heat in.

Now I just have to find a bucket heater to keep the water bucket from freezing. I picked one up at Rural King, but have seen in reviews that they have a short lifespan or the animals avoid drinking due to the current in the water.
I just saw this but figured I'd chime in. Hope you got something figured out by now, but based on your description of your setup, it sounds pretty good. For perspective, I'm a lifetime Old Yeller type farm dog owner and 5 year professional handler, with 'bout 14 years of working dog experience. Only thing I'd recommend would be some sort of insulation. I would not recommend a soft, manufactured, cushy, fabric dog bed, lest the dog get bored, destroy it and eat it out of boredom. Problems may occurr. Instead, I'd suggest straw or cedar chips, provided you change it out at reasonable intervals. I think the padding that the insulation provides helps their hips and everything last better/longer too. My winters may be different than your winters, but where I'm at, the coldest temps usually touch -10 deg and the avg winter temp is probably mid to upper 20's. I've got a 10x5 outdoor kennel on a concrete pad covered with mining belt, with a homemade wooden house inside, lined w straw that gets routinely changed. He comes in the house and sleeps in a "very kennel" (sp?) in the laundry room when it gets below 20. I've stayed away from the heated water bowls and buckets just because I've been concerned about the wires and batteries etc. Some of the setups look safer than others, but I just stay on top of the water situation n replace it often. I think GSDs tend to be a little hardier than mals or dutchies in cold weather/snow etc, just based on my observations with nothing scientific to back that up, but, of course all of this just depends on your dog, your circumstances and your environment. Take care of them n they take care of you. Hope that thumb is healin' up. Good luck.

Boy Scout

Regular Member
Thanks JB. Thumb is doing well and I hope to be released back to duty just after the first of the year.

I feel pretty good about my setup now. Although he destroyed the tarp roof within a day, the tarps on the outside of the kennel are fine and block a large amount of wind. He already has cedar chips in his dog house for bedding, and I just got a hound heater this week, so he'll be nice and toasty in the dog house.

I've been bringing him into the garage as well for those overnights that it got to 20 degrees or below. Great minds think alike!

I did pick up a plastic, heated two gallon water bucket that has worked like a boss, even down to zero degrees the other night. It has a chew protector around the cord, which I fed out under the side panel, and a bail handle, which I 'binered to the fence. He can't even get to the cord, and hasn't messed with the bucket.

Now we just have to get back to work!