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Animal Care


Building A Proper Dog House

Watch Edmonton Students Building Dog Houses

Proper Shelter is a Requirement under the Animal Protection Act

All animals in Alberta must be provided with proper shelter for the species, breed and size of the animal. When it comes to dogs, this means the animal must have some place to go to get out of the extreme weather elements we see in Alberta. Even if your dog does not regularly use the dog house, some form of shelter must be available to him or her.

What do we look for in a proper dog house or other shelter?


  •  Insulation ensures the dog’s body heat will be used to help keep it warm
  • All walls, roof and floor should have insulation

Appropriate for size and breed of the dog

  •  The dog should have space to stand up and turn around in the house
  • The house should not be too big as that will allow body heat to escape and prevent the shelter from keeping the dog warm

Protection from the wind, rain and snow

  • The house should have a flap over the door or be in a shielded location that keeps the wind, rain and snow out

Dry bedding

  • Straw is a great form of bedding and any moisture is drawn away from the dog
Completed Dog House

Dog House Plans

Dog House Plans – Large Breed Dog


5 sheets – 1/2″ plywood for outside and inside walls

1 sheet – 4′ x 8′ rigid insulation

1 package of roofing shingles

2 pieces of 8′ 2″ x 4″s

4 pieces of 8′ 2″ x 2″s

8 – 3″ screws for the base

1 1/4″ screws for rest of the house

Roofing nails for the shingles

Click here for Dog House Plans

Dog House Plans – Medium Breed Dog


2 sheets – 1/2″ plywood for outside and inside walls

1 sheet – 4′ x 8′ rigid insulation

1 package of roofing shingles

2 pieces of 8′ 2″ x 4″s

4 pieces of 8′ 2″ x 2″s

8 – 3″ screws for the base

1 1/4″ screws for rest of the house

Roofing nails for the shingles

Click here for Dog House Plans

The Alberta SPCA is providing these plans to dog owners to use to build their own dog houses. These plans are just a guideline and we encourage dog owners to make modifications to suit their own dog and situation.

Why All Dogs Need a Dog House

The Alberta SPCA believes all domestic animals should have their basics needs met which are encompassed in the Five Freedoms. Originally developed for farm animals in the UK, these freedoms are internationally recognized to be ideals for all domestic and captive wildlife species. 

Freedom from Hunger and Thirst by ready access to fresh water and a diet to maintain full health and vigour.

Freedom from Discomfort by providing an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.

Freedom from Fear and Distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

Freedom to Express Normal Behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.

Providing dog houses to dogs in need addresses several of the Freedoms animals require to have their basic needs met.

  • Freedom from discomfort (by providing an appropriate environment that is dry and protects dogs from the elements)
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease (that can be caused by extreme temperatures),
  • Freedom from fear and distress (dogs that do not have protection from injurious heat or cold may become in distress as defined by Animal Protection Act).

Things to consider when housing dogs outdoors

  • Dogs should be acclimatized to outdoor living when they are young and the weather is warm.
  • Dogs should have an insulated shelter with an opening that protects dogs from wind, snow and rain (even with a shelter some dogs with short coats may not be able to tolerate the extreme temperatures of Alberta winters).
  • Houses should have dry bedding (such as straw) and checked frequently to ensure it stays dry.
  • During severe weather, dogs may need to be brought inside the family home or other heated and safe area.
  • Puppies, dogs of advanced aged, or dogs with compromised health should not be housed outdoors during cold weather.
  • Outdoor dogs require more food to maintain their body temperature during cold weather and have access to fresh, liquid water.
  • Dogs need exercise and socialization (being outside doesn’t mean they get exercise!) Dogs should be walked and played with daily. Play such as fetch or hide-and-seek with treats or toys are good ways to mentally and physically engage dogs.
  • Toys! Dogs can get bored, so it’s important to give provide them with enrichment (such as Kong toys filled with kibble or peanut butter).

Alberta SPCA Dog House Building Project

Delivering materials to St. John XXIII school

The Alberta SPCA has teamed up with Edmonton Catholic Schools to build dog houses for needy dogs and their families. The materials were purchased using donations from our supporters and delivered to 6 Edmonton Catholic Jr/Sr High Schools. 

Once  completed, the dog houses will be donated back to the Alberta SPCA to be distributed to needy dogs as identified by Peace Officers during their regular duties.

All dog houses are insulated to provide appropriate protection from injurious heat and cold for Alberta’s extreme weather seasons.


The following Edmonton Catholic Schools have built dog houses for the Alberta SPCA;

  • St. John XXIII Jr High
  • St. Francis Xavier Sr High
  • St. Catherine Elementary/Jr High
  • St. Mark Jr High
  • St. Brendan Elementary/Jr High
  • Louis St. Laurent Jr/Sr High

The plans for the dog houses were graciously put together by Goldwing Construction.

Douglas Homes of Calgary graciously donated $5,350 toward the program in memory of their office dog Cassie.

We want to thank Lowe’s for providing the building materials at a discounted price.

You Can Help Us Build Dog Houses

We are funding the dog house project with donations from our supporters as well as corporate donations. You can help with a donation of any size.

*Any donations in excess of what is needed for the dog house project will go to our highest priority needs including picking up and delivering of the dog houses and the materials to build them.
Office Dog Bochy Approved The Dog House Plans

Cost of materials to build one large dog house






Plywood for 1 large house

Insulation for 1 large house

Shingles for 1 house

Lumber – 2x4s and 2x2s for construction in 1 house

Screws and nails for 2 houses

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