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The den represents security, the place to hide when threats are perceived, to rest without fear of interference and a sheltered area in which to stop, without being subjected to atmospheric agents. But the den is above all the place where the animal knows that it has its own home and this creates the right balance in its psychological state, helping it to grow healthy and happy. For this reason, when we decide whether to house our dog at home or outside, opting for the right type of this indispensable accessory becomes very important. If the choice of a kennel, to be placed inside an apartment, depends more than anything on an organizational and aesthetic factor, dictated by the spaces we have available, by our personal tastes and by how much we like to spoil our dog, for the external houses the question becomes more complicated and implies considerations that must be carefully evaluated. In the market there are solutions of all types, from classic prefabricated wooden, comfortable and environmentally friendly, to luxurious annexes and miniature castles, mountain chalets and scale reproductions of the manor house, built specially by specialized companies, for pets belonging to famous people and known to be particularly eccentric. However, it is not only the unbridled luxury that determines the comfort that a dog box considered to be at the forefront can offer. Some, among the most technologically advanced models, offer electrical systems, exhaust systems, infrared heating and trays for food and water placed inside, normally on a wall and easily rechargeable from the outside. However, every loving and responsible owner takes seriously, not just the aesthetics or technological options, but the actual suitability of the product. A poorly insulated kennel will create considerable health problems for our furry friend and will not serve the purpose for which it was purchased, a box with dimensions not suitable for the dog's size, it will almost certainly be rejected. Therefore, a dog house, which is considered optimal, must be comfortable not only for the animal, but also for those who take care of it, giving both the right satisfaction.
The classic typology provides a more or less parallelepiped structure, with a sloping roof and front opening. The common features, present in any type of dog houses, should be: at least five centimeters raised from the ground, thermal insulation, a sloping roof or a pitched roof, for draining rainwater, suitable ventilation, being built with materials non-toxic, no sharp edges or protruding hardware, such as nails, screws or sheet metal residues and rigid smearing of plastic. A second opening, which allows us to access the interior comfortably, in order to facilitate cleaning and make the space dedicated to the dog hygienic, is already available in many models on the market. Another important factor is the size of the kennel, which is adequate for the size of our four-legged friend. A dog of small or medium size will have no problems in settling into a small dog house, but, on the contrary, a large dog will have serious difficulties in being able to use a tight and uncomfortable arrangement. An example of suitable size provides for a 50cm high dog at the withers (this is the most common height for a medium-sized animal), a depth of 70cm, a width and a height of about 90cm. In this way you will have the certainty that your dog can find the inside of the kennel comfortable and will not encounter problems in standing up and turning at will. Various types available to satisfy all tastes and pockets are available on the market, also providing alternative solutions, which can combine modules with different functions, suitable for those wishing, for example, to combine a toolbox, a dressing room or a greenhouse to the dog house, in a single structure. The multifunctional structures are especially advisable for those who do not have much space available, but do not want to give up the practicality they can offer.
The plastic material is more easily managed, sanitized better and, if equipped with the necessary ventilation, it solves many thermo-insulating problems. The negative factors are found over time, since the plastic tends to turn gray or yellow if placed outside and the wear of the material itself, in the long run, makes the structure porous and aesthetically unpleasant. Wood would be preferable to both plastic and metal, since the latter becomes cold in winter and transmits excessive heat in summer, as well as being uncomfortable for the animal. However, the wood needs a professionally made insulation, otherwise it tends to become impregnated during rains or snowfalls, with the risk of creating wet areas or, worse still, fungus and infesting molds that can cause bronchial infections, others respiratory diseases, various dermatitis and offer the soil for the appearance of parasites. For lovers of DIY, there are kits available on the market already prepared, which give the possibility to build the house for Fido in a nice and cheap way. Few screws, dowels and panels can create the basic structure, to which then the insulation materials and the roof waterproofing will be applied. For those wishing to add an extra, it is also possible to mount a 12 volt powered plate to be inserted in the floor, which can be combined with a timer suitable for programming the hours of heat delivered during the day. Some leading companies have included, in the catalog of their products, also assembly systems that do not require the use of nails or screws, but interlocking combinations that facilitate the construction of the structure, guaranteeing a safer environment for the dog.
Should you wish to proceed with "do-it-yourself", it might be useful to know that pine wood is the most suitable for the structure you want to build and 3 cm panels are recommended, with an insulation cavity already prepared. Paint the material with exterior impregnating agents, making sure they are non-toxic. If you are equipped with an opening, from which the dog passes, of a waxed curtain, make it light but waterproof at the same time. In this way you will repair the animal from drafts and rain, when it falls sideways, without preventing it from passing. In the market there are already equipped kennels with a tilting panel, which replaces the curtain. A comfortable soft pillow will surely make you feel more at ease and if you want to express your creativity, create a veranda, directly built on the front or on the side of the house, will give the dog the opportunity to enjoy a cool place in the shade during the summer . Customize the kennel by applying plaques or other decorations, but always outside and taking care that they are not easily reachable and consequently chewable by Fido. To make the structure more pleasant, the exterior walls can be repainted with bright colors or themed paintings, so as to satisfy even your personal tastes and any aesthetic requirements dictated by the environmental context. It is also possible to cover the roof and for those who are experts, in the field of construction materials, the choice is rather varied and ranges from bituminous tiles to slabs in gneiss. Above all, place the structure as close as possible to the front door, so as not to have to take the umbrella every time, in case of rain, when the time comes to bring your jelly to your faithful friend.