House hunting has gone to the dogs. Literally.
According to pet retailer Zulily, dogs are the biggest influence driving first-home purchases among millennials. Rather than getting married or having kids, needing more space and a backyard for their pets (dogs specifically) is the main reason a third of millennials cite for purchasing their first home. Among those who haven’t bought a home yet, nearly 42% admitted that their pet or the desire to have one would be a key factor in their decision to buy a house.1
The tail wagging the dog
While most home buyers look for features like hardwood floors, stainless steel appliances and maybe a pool, those things aren’t the top priority for many pet owners. A recent Forbes Advisor study found that more than two-thirds of Americans would pass on the perfect home if it wasn’t a good fit for their pets.
And buyers looking for the perfect custom fit for Fido aren’t afraid to pay a pretty penny for their pampered pets. The same Forbes study found Americans spent $136.8 billion on their pets in 2022, up 10.68% from 2021 ($123.6 billion). Of that amount they spent $58.1 billion on pet food and treats and $31.5 billion on supplies, including doghouses.2
Doghouses are a hot commodity in real estate. Want to wager what the world’s most expensive doghouse cost? Designed by architectural firm AR Design Studio back in 2008, in today’s market it’s appreciated to a value of $417,000. That’s more than the current median U.S. existing home price of $406,700.3
Obviously, being in the doghouse may not be such a bad thing after all. 🐶
DIY to designer digs for dogs
Fortunately, for those of us who can’t afford to pay a down payment or more on a doghouse, there are plenty of other options to accommodate the needs of our fur babies – whether they spend most of their time inside or out.
When it comes to finding the perfect place for your pooch, pet owners may have more ‘inventory’ to choose from than buyers looking for a home in today’s market.
From canine castles and campers to pooch palaces and interior furnishings and spaces that double as a doghouse, you can find or design one to fit just about any shape, style and budget. Just Google ‘ideas for doghouses’ for inspo, check out pins on Pinterest, or start loading up your cart on Amazon.
RELATED READ: 14 Free DIY Dog House Plans Anyone Can Build
Importance of a doggie domicile
Whether outfitting and decorating an off-the-shelf, DIY or designer doghouse, there are a few things and basics to consider, starting with why you want or need separate housing for your four-legged family member.
Doghouses provide your pet with some needed space of their own to relax. In addition to an escape from little ankle biters, rug rats and tail pullers in the family, having their own living quarters can help give them a sense of security and comfort when you’re not around. If you prefer your dog stay outdoors, it also provides protection from the elements.
Inside the doghouse, be sure you have:
- Bedding, such as a blanket, dog bed, sheet, or towel, for warmth and comfort
- A toy or two to keep your dog entertained
- Food and water dishes
- A dog door with weather-proof flap for easy access in and out
- A mat or rug to keep your dog’s feet clean and dry
Here are some other things to keep in mind when choosing your dog’s ‘home within a home.’
Your dog’s size, age and health.
Be sure Bella or Max have plenty of room to move around – inside and out. If he or she is older with joint problems, they may adapt easier to a single-level structure rather than a multi-level design with ramps or stairs.
The best doghouses are designed to keep your dog cool, warm and dry year-round. Select a doghouse made with weather-proof or resistant materials and a raised interior floor or platform to reduce the risk of flooding. Depending on the region you live in, you want to make sure your doghouse is properly insulated and ventilated, too. In areas with extreme fluctuations in the weather, you may want to add electric to run AC, a fan and/or heater so dogs don’t swelter in their shelter or shiver when it’s cold.
Number of dogs.
Do you have more than one dog? No worries. There are lots of solutions for ‘multi-family’ members, from connecting kennels to two-story townhouses with separate sleeping and lounging areas to give everyone enough room to roam.
Be sure your doghouse is made of easy-to-clean materials. If you paint it, use non-VOC paint. Regular paint contains volatile organic compounds (VOC), which can be toxic to dogs (and humans).
Adding fencing around Fifi’s fiefdom can help keep out unwanted visitors – and your dog from going after them. Many doghouse designs and kennels include fenced-in dog runs to ensure they have plenty of exercise room, too.
Keep your dog’s house close to yours. One of the most common reasons dogs won’t use their doghouse is that it’s just too far away from you. This can make your dog feel isolated and alone. Many modern doghouse designs now feature wheels so you can roll them from one spot to another for convenience.
If you’re not a stay-at-home pet parent, consider some of the features in today’s smart doghouses. Alleviate their separation anxiety with WiFi and app-controlled features like a motion-activated music system to soothe them. Many feature automated food and water dispensers and cameras so you can see what they’re up to – and talk to them – from anywhere.
Houses for humans … and their pets