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Creating Cozy Hangouts For Your Dog

Creating Cozy Hangouts for Your Dog

Everyone likes to have their own comfy spot—a personal place to relax and enjoy themselves, complete with all their favorite things. Your dog is no exception, but what are the best types of hangouts for dogs? What amenities should a dog’s hangout include? Let’s take a look.

Crates

A crate—usually made of plastic or wire—is arguably the most important piece of dog housing you’ll buy. Most dogs feel the safest and most secure when they have their own private “den” to retreat to when the world becomes busy or noisy. Crates are also useful for training purposes. For added comfort, place a bed, mat or pad on the floor of your dog’s crate.

Wire crates can be portable if they fold up, so they can be a convenient choice, especially for large dogs. Wire crates also tend to provide better ventilation for your dog since they’re more open to the air than plastic crates. For more of a den feel, drape a blanket over the wire crate.

Plastic crates provide a confined feel that helps a timid dog feel safe and less vulnerable—more like a real “den.” The most important aspect of choosing a dog crate is to select the correct size—large enough to be comfortable, small enough for your dog to feel safe.

Don’t forget your dog’s home away from home. For traveling, whether it’s by plane or vehicle, you’ll want a dedicated dog travel crate that is appropriately sized for your dog. When traveling in a vehicle, securing your dog in a crate that is fastened in place is the safest way. When selecting a carrier for airline travel, you’ll need to purchase one that is specifically approved for airline use. Be sure to introduce your pet to the travel crate well before your planned departure date so there are no surprises on trip day.

Outdoor enclosures

If you have a lot of property that isn’t enclosed, outdoor kennels, runs and exercise pens are an option for allowing your dog to go outside to play unattended. They provide safe, fenced areas for your dog to play, relax, snooze in the shade, have fun in the sun and basically have an all-around good doggie time. Outdoor enclosures can be as elaborate or as simple as your budget allows. Large runs can be custom-built or small ones can be purchased complete—ready to set up and enjoy. They are typically weatherproof and easy to assemble. Choose a dry location for your outdoor enclosure, in an area that provides both access to and relief from direct sunlight. Make sure your dog always has access to fresh, clean water when he’s outside.

There are also countless dog houses available in a variety of sizes and styles. A good dog house is well-ventilated, consists of high-quality construction and has an elevated floor. To choose the correct size, make sure that your dog can comfortably stand up, turn around and lie down in his dog house. It should be placed somewhere in your yard that will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Weatherproof mats are available for added comfort.

There are even portable tents that are convenient for travel and provide a safe place for your pet to retreat to—whether at the beach, the park, a campground or anywhere on-the-go.

Doors

Once you have that perfect outdoor environment created for your dog, he’ll need the perfect way to access it. While you can always put your dog on a leash and walk him to his run yourself, many people (and dogs) enjoy the convenience of a dog door for this purpose. Dog doors are also convenient for allowing your dog to enter and exit your home when he has to go to the bathroom, as long as you have a safe, fenced-in area for your dog to access. Take care to install your dog door properly to prevent unwanted access from other animals, as well as to prevent drafts. Purchase a dog door that is the right size for your dog or puppy’s adult size, and follow the instructions to ensure that it’s installed at the correct height.

Beds, blankets, pillows and pads

Different dogs prefer different types of bedding for napping and a good night’s sleep. Deciding what your dog prefers will depend on his personal preference and his style of sleeping—does he like to curl up in a ball, nose-to-tail? He might like a padded, oval bed. Does he like to stretch out, limbs and body extended? A simple pillow-style dog bed may be just the ticket. You can also choose a bed, mat or pad to fit inside on the floor of your dog’s crate. For older or arthritic dogs, an orthopedic bed with memory foam can provide extra comfort. If your dog likes to nap on the couch, a cozy fleece pet blanket is a good choice. Bed warmers are an added bonus in colder climates, and cooling dog beds help keep your pet cool when temperatures are hot. Provide a variety for your dog, and be sure to wash his bedding regularly and replace old or worn-out beds.

Toys

You don’t want your play-loving dog to be bored when he’s hanging out in his favorite spots, so be sure to choose a selection of age- and size-appropriate toys for him to enjoy. Buying several different toys and rotating them regularly will help keep them interesting to your dog; dogs tend to become bored with the same toys after a while. Puzzle toys, interactive toys and treat-dispensing toys will keep your dog mentally stimulated and occupied. Select only safe toys for your dog and observe him as he plays with them. Regularly clean or disinfect dog toys and discard any old or worn-out ones.