Are Plastic Dog Houses Better than Wooden Ones?

Should I buy a plastic dog house? Or, are wooden dog houses better? This is a question we’ve been asked more than once and with the wide variety of products available, it’s no wonder.  This comprehensive article aims to provide you with all the information you’ll need when trying to decide for yourself.

Plastic Dog Houses

We’ll admit, plastic has gotten a bit of a bad rap in recent times. That doesn’t mean you should avoid it altogether, though. Try not to confuse the word “plastic” with flimsy and cheap. As long as you’re shopping from quality manufacturers, plastic dog houses can be reliable and long-lasting and have a wide range of benefits. These benefits will be explored below.

What are the Advantages of Plastic Dog Houses?

  • Privacy

Plastic dog houses generally have fewer openings than wooden houses. This is primarily due to their secondary purpose as transportation devices. This can be a major benefit for puppies which whine or bark at anything that moves. With less to distract them, your puppy will generally be more relaxed and well-behaved in a plastic dog house.

  • Airline Approved

Some varieties of plastic dog house are suitable for airline travel. Plastic crates with a lockable metal grate are generally approved for airline transportation, making them perfect for use as a puppy carrier. Because they can very easily double as a transportation device, plastic dog houses are perfect for frequent travellers. 

  • Lightweight

Plastic is a naturally lightweight material. If you need to move your dog house around, plastic will be a lot easier than wooden dog houses. This advantage comes at little compromise to the overall durability of the dog house which is a major benefit for the elderly.

  • Ventilated

Portable plastic dog houses generally have a great ventilation system. Ventilation is most often provided through either the crate’s door or ventilation holes in the roof or sides. The constant cycle of air will ensure that your puppy is fairly comfortable in their kennel.

  • Pest Resistant

Plastic dog houses are naturally less likely to be invaded by pests such as fleas and termites. 

  • Waterproof and Durable

Most dog houses are built for outdoors which means they likely be exposed to the elements: wind, rain, hail, and even snow. The water resistant properties of plastic dog houses make them excellent choices for housing a puppy outdoors temporarily.

Hard plastics, especially vinyl based products, can withstand moderate exposure to the elements. More importantly, they can usually withstand the chewing and scratching behaviours of mischievous puppies. These properties make plastic dog houses an excellent long term choice for housing your puppy.

  • Easy to clean and odour resistant

Plastic dog houses can generally be cleaned using a simple wipe down with a damp cloth. Their non-porous properties ensure that they do not retain odour quite as much as wooden dog houses. As long as you clean up any accident promptly you should be able to keep a plastic dog house looking clean and fresh for a long time.

What are the Disadvantages of Plastic Dog Houses?

Despite their versatility and effectiveness as a home your puppy, plastic dog houses do have a few drawbacks, namely:

  • Isolation

Due to the lack of openings, your puppy may begin to feel isolated if they spend long periods of time in their kennel. This is especially the case with puppies which require more attention. If it suits you, look for models which have adjustable openings and thus allow your puppy to see their surroundings.

  • Difficult to Store

The more sturdy varieties of plastic kennel are generally not collapsible. While this is great for providing structure, it means that your dog house will take up a significant degree of space when not in use. Metal or wooden alternatives can be made to be collapsible where plastic varieties cannot.

  • Poor Insulation

Plastic lacks the insulating properties of wood. As a result, your puppy’s kennel will become warmer more quickly in summer, and colder more quickly in winter. While insulated options are available, this will come at a higher cost than a similar wooden option.

  • Flimsy Materials and Poor Build Quality

Plastic dog houses are not as sturdy or durable as wooden ones. If you’re looking for a plastic dog house, it’s extremely important to look for a high build quality to ensure you avoid cheap builds that fall apart quickly.

  • Prone to Weathering

When plastic dog houses are left out in the rain and sunshine they begin to fade and crack. When this happens they are prone to breaking and are not suitable for puppies to live in. If your puppy will live outside it might be best to place the shelter undercover or invest in a wooden dog house.

Wooden Dog Houses

What are the Advantages of Wooden Dog Houses?

  • Insulation

Wood is a great material for insulation. Tiny pockets of air within the wood’s internal structures create an insulating barrier between the inside of the kennel and the outside world. As a result, your puppy will be cooler in the warmer months and warmer in the cooler ones.

  • Durable, Resistant to Decay, and Ideal for Outdoors

Treated wood will generally resist decay caused by exposure to the elements. By ensuring that your puppy’s home is properly treated, you can ensure its longevity.

The advantage of a wooden structure is that it provides optimal physical durability. It would take a lot of outside force to cause any significant damage to a wooden structure so you can rest assured that your puppy’s home wont collapse on them as they sleep.

  • Insect Repellent and Soothing

The wood used in dog homes has a natural insect repelling properties. In addition, they are often treated with a non-toxic insect repellent. This is helpful in repelling unwanted pests such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.      

In addition, some woods such as cedar, are not only insect repellent, but also exude a scent which can be naturally calming to puppies. This scent can also assist in preventing odours. 

  • Endless possibilities for customisation.

DIY wooden dog houses can be infinitely customisable. From room style, to size, to aesthetic appearance, wooden homes can be made to suit any puppy. Rooves can be adjusted to keep out rain and weather, size can be adjusted to fit any size puppy, and customisations can be made to the exterior of the house to make it really stand out.

What are the Disadvantages of Wooden Dog Houses?

  • Chemical Treatment

Many types of wood are chemically treated to prevent rot, repel insects, and improve the longevity of the product. When choosing a brand of wood for a dog house, ensure that it does not use chemicals which can be toxic to pets.

  • Complicated Assembly

If you’re looking for a quick 20 minute set up then a DIY wooden dog house is probably not the option for you. These projects can take an afternoon, a weekend, or even more. If you’re looking to get a DIY wooden dog house then take the time to plan it before your puppy arrives. 

  • Maintenance

Wooden dog houses can sometimes require a fair bit of maintenance if you’re looking to get a decent lifetime out of them. From sanding and re-staining to avoid splinters, to consistent cleaning to avoid odours and damage, wooden dog houses can be demanding.

  • Weight

If you’re going to need to move your puppy’s home around often, then a wooden dog house is probably not the best option for you. Unlike plastic, wood is very heavy and hard to move once assembled.

Which Material Is Better For My Puppy? Wooden or Plastic?

As you have probably realised, choosing a home for your puppy is a very individual process. Neither material is particularly better than the other. Wooden and plastic dog houses both have their benefits and their drawbacks. In order to choose the best dog house, consider the advantages and disadvantages of each and find the best option for your situation.

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