If it is at all possible to keep your pets indoors, of course that is the best option, but it’s not always possible.
Here are some tips to keep your pup from becoming a “pupsicle”:
1.) Find out where you can purchase straw bales in your area. When transporting straw bales, it’s better to do so in a truck. If a truck is not available to you make sure to use some kind of underlay. An old blanket, plastic, or just about anything that you can put in your car that will contain the mess straw will leave behind.
2.) Find a location in your yard or garage where you will build your pet’s home. I have my pets’ home in the garage for extra shelter. I installed a pet door for easy access. If your location is outside, clear an area for your pet’s new home.
3.) Stack the straw so you have three walls. From a bird’s eye view the hay will look like the shape of the letter -u-. I used six square bales stacked two high. Don’t worry about the roof at this point.
4.) After your straw is stacked to your liking, run your tape measure across the top of your hay bales to find the measurement of the outside perimeter of your hay walls. This measurement will be the determine the dimensions that you’ll need to cut your plywood to make your roof. It is very important to have a plywood roof, the weight of the snow will cave in the pet’s house without plywood. We will water proof the plywood later.
5.) It’s time to cut your plywood using the measurements you came up with in step 4. If using a saw is not something you’re familiar with, ask for help.
6.) After you have your plywood cut, Drill holes around the perimeters of the plywood about 2″ inches in from the edges and 12″ apart from each other. This step is extra to secure the plywood to the straw bales.
7.) Take the plywood, and put it on top of the straw bales locate the center of the plywood. Make one more hole in the exact center. The hole should have a 2 inch diameter. Now you should have three walls and a plywood roof with holes in it.
8.) Use stakes and hammer through the holes you made in the plywood to anchor them into the straw bales. You can use a variety of different materials for stakes. Examples are tent stakes, rebar, heavy gauge metal, long nails.
9.) Install your heat lamp fixture in the center opening you made in the plywood. The bulb and metal heat shield should be fastened in the interior of the pet house. The electrical cord should run through the top of the house. This light fixture must be mounted well onto the plywood. The most critical part of this project is securing the light onto the plywood. You don’t want your pet to bump it and knock it over. This is why I chose a plywood roof and drilled holes on the edges of the plywood securing the plywood to the bales of hay to insure no movement. Use only a red heat light, the red lights give off heat not a great deal of light. neighbors and your pet will be annoyed if it’s too bright in the pets house.
10.) Now you should have your straw bales stacked, the plywood roof fastened to the straw bales, the light fixture attached to the plywood, and a red heat bulb in the light fixture.
11.) Using a tarp that’s big enough, tarp off the top of your pets home. Take the tarp edges that overhang from the top and nail them into the sides of the straw bales. This keeps water from making contact with the heat lamp and moisture entering the interior of the pets home. The tarp is also need because plywood is not waterproof.
12.) Put your pet’s water in the enclosure. The heat from the lamp will keep the water bowl from freezing and warm your pet during freezing temperatures.
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