When most people think of a dog house, they often think of outdoor structures built to protect our canine counterparts from the elements. However, the more we learn about our four-legged friends, the more obsolete outdoor dog houses seem to become.
We know now that no dog is truly an “outdoor only dog”, and all dogs are happiest when they can live inside along with their human family members.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that your pup won’t appreciate having a place of his own. For small dogs especially, having an indoor dog house can provide a sense of security, safety, and peace.
Are you wondering how to provide your small dog with a small sanctuary to call his own? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Today, we’re talking all about indoor dog houses for small dogs and we’ve even included some of our favorite brands, accessories, and creative ideas for how you can make your dog’s indoor dog house shine.
Let’s get started!
What Is An Indoor Dog House?
An indoor dog house is any type of indoor structure that helps your dog feel safe and secure.
Indoor dog houses are a super fun concept for a multitude of reasons. Many indoor dog houses can take the form of decorative pieces to add to your home’s ambiance. They can also serve as a place for anxious dogs to go during thunderstorms or fireworks.
But an indoor dog house might not be what you think. Many people think of dog houses as standard miniature houses built for dogs. Today’s indoor dog houses have changed the game.
These types of dog houses come in all shapes and sizes, but their sole purpose is the same – to provide a sanctuary for your four-legged family member.
Although an indoor dog house can be used for a number of purposes, there are certainly a few things indoor dog houses should not be used for:
Indoor Dog Houses Are Typically Not Crates
There is usually a difference between an indoor dog house and a dog crate, and it’s important you understand the difference before investing.
A dog crate is a space your dog should be trained to relax in while you are busy or away, and it can be closed if needed to keep your dog safe and secure.
An indoor dog house is a place your dog should be free to come and go from as he pleases. This type of furniture for your dog is almost like a combination of a bed and a shelter often used for comfort purposes only.
Indoor dog houses are usually not designed to hold your dog for long periods of time nor should they be used as crates unless otherwise specified by the brand. With that being said, there are a few indoor dog houses that can double as both a crate and an indoor dog house, and we’ll talk more about those indoor dog houses for small dogs further down.
Indoor Dog Houses Should Not Be Used As A Place Of Punishment For Your Dog
Just as with a dog crate, an indoor dog house is not designed to be a place of punishment for your dog. You will want your dog to enjoy his indoor dog house, so it will be important to work hard to ensure this is a place your dog enjoys resting.
We will go into more detail about how you can help your dog learn to love his indoor dog house using expert tips and tricks, but for now, let’s find out if your dog is a good candidate for an indoor dog house.
Does My Dog Need An Indoor Dog House?
There are different types of indoor dog houses and the type your dog may need could depend on your lifestyle and his behaviors.
Almost any dog can enjoy the benefits and luxury of having a space to call his own inside your home. Of course, that doesn’t mean that an indoor dog house is right for every dog.
Some dogs are highly anxious and destructive, and an indoor dog house that isn’t made of the right materials could wind up being a waste of money and a big mess for you down the road.
However, many anxious dogs and even more content dogs can benefit from having an indoor dog house.
Your dog’s ancestors were pack and den animals, and this is one of the many reasons your dog might feel safest in areas that are enclosed, secure, dim, and confined. This is also why some dogs will often hide under beds or furniture to rest. Some dogs even like to burrow beneath the blankets of the bed or burrow into pillows.
These are the types of dogs who might truly love having an indoor dog house.
When appropriately placed and utilized, an indoor dog house can provide your dog with a sense of safety and security, as we mentioned above.
If you do opt to invest in an indoor dog house for your dog, it’s important to get the whole family on board with how to help your dog recognize that this space is all his.
When setting up your dog’s indoor dog house, put blankets and toys inside that you know he loves. Teach children and other family members that this indoor dog house is your dog’s special place. When he goes to this place, it’s time to give him his space and let him be.
Remember, dogs do love being with their family but it’s also healthy and important for them to have a place to go that’s all theirs in which they can decompress.
There are several benefits of utilizing an indoor dog house the correct way. As we did mention above, dogs who are anxious or have common fears of sounds like thunderstorms or fireworks can find comfort in an indoor dog house.
If your dog has doorbell anxiety, (and with Halloween coming up, this could be a great tip), you can place your dog’s indoor dog house into a secluded room that is dim and quiet. Having that space to retreat when he is fearful can help reduce destructive behaviors and even comfort him during moments of high stress.
What To Look For In The Best Indoor Dog House For Small Dogs
Look for dog houses that are not too big and that are made with safe, cozy materials that will help your dog feel safe.
Are you looking for an indoor dog house for your small dog? If so, it can be difficult to choose considering there are so many brands and designs available.
The type of indoor dog house you will choose for your dog will depend on your dog’s temperament and your lifestyle, as well as the purpose for which you want your dog to have his own indoor dog house.
When looking for the right indoor dog house for a small dog, there are a few key traits you can pay attention to help you choose.
Look For The Right Size
As we mentioned above, dogs were once den animals and often feel the safest sleeping in smaller, more confined spaces. This means that your dog’s indoor dog house should not be too big, or he may not want to use it often.
The ideal size for an indoor dog house is a dog house that is large enough for your dog to stand up in, sit down in, and turn around in.
Look For Dog-Safe Materials
It’s important to look for indoor dog houses that are specifically made for dogs. Of course, not all dogs chew, but if your dog is a chewer then it’s especially important to find an indoor dog house that can stand up to these behaviors.
Stay away from materials that could be harmful to your dog if chewed or swallowed and avoid indoor dog houses that come with small accessories that could result in choking. These types of accessories could include zippers, buttons, velcro, and ribbon.
Consider What The Indoor Dog House Is Designed For
Last, consider why you’re investing in an indoor dog house. If you’re looking for an indoor dog house that can also serve as a dog crate for when you are away, it’s important to look for the right products designed for such use.
If you are looking for an indoor dog house that can serve as a safe space for your dog to rest and relax, look for dog houses that can double as beds. There are also portable indoor dog house options you can consider as well, which are great for anyone on the move.
Are you ready to take a look at some of our favorite indoor dog house options for small dogs? Then keep reading!
The Best Indoor Dog House Options For Small Dogs – Our Top 5 Picks
Some indoor dog houses are decorative while others are more functional.
Choosing the right indoor dog house for your small dog can be tricky, especially as there are so many cute and functional designs on the market!
When you are considering investing in an indoor dog house, be sure to look for quality. We also suggest reading reviews and considering what others have to say about the indoor dog house you’re interested in before you purchase it.
Last but not least, make sure you take measurements. Size is an important factor in ensuring your dog likes and uses his indoor dog house, so keep this in mind.
Now, without further ado, here are some of our tried and tested favorites for indoor dog houses for small dogs!
Petsfit Indoor Dog House
We always love when doggy accessories can double as human accessories, and this is certainly the case with the above indoor dog house by Petsfit. This indoor dog house can serve as an end table while also providing your dog with a safe and comfy place to call his own.
The only thing about this indoor dog house is it does not seem to be very portable. It’s also made of insulated wood, so you’ll want to add some plush bedding inside. Last, because this indoor dog house is lifted, it may not be the ideal option for senior dogs who may have trouble getting up and down.
KEMULUS 31 Inch Portable Indoor Dog House
Another option we like for an indoor dog house is the above TeePee dog house by Kemulus. This dog house is portable, easy to set up or dismantle, and it’s even machine washable. It weighs only two pounds and can provide a safe resting place for your dog or even your cat.
Best of all, it comes with a plush cushion to help keep your dog feeling comfortable, which means you won’t need to purchase extra accessories for this indoor dog house unless you want to.
PetsFit Indoor/Outdoor Dog House
Another product by PetsFit offers an indoor/outdoor dog house option that works for small dogs as well as cats. It even comes with stairs so your dog can climb up and lay on the roof if he wants!
The bottom of the indoor dog house includes a closing door that latches, so if your dog is properly crate trained this indoor dog house could also serve as a crate.
ZPPMC Luxury Double Roof Indoor Dog House
If you’re looking for a more classic version of an indoor dog house for your four-legged friend, you’re going to like the above indoor dog house by ZPPMC Luxury. This dog house includes a double roof and even a built-in window for extra cuteness.
Most importantly, this dog house is functional. It comes with plush bedding inside and is just roomy enough to provide your dog with the space he needs while also being small enough to help keep him feeling safe.
You can order this indoor dog house in three colors as well so it can match your home’s aesthetic.
Shellkingdom Foldable Dog House
What’s better than a nice, comfy dog house you can use indoors? A dog house that is nice and comfy and also foldable! You can easily set this indoor dog house up and then take it down, folding it for simple storage when you have company.
It includes a cushion bed that is removable and machine washable, and the material is made with tough nylon to help repel water, dirt, and rips.
Products And Accessories To Buy With An Indoor Dog House
Many indoor dog houses can be made more comfortable by investing in cozy accessories.
Having an indoor dog house for your little dog is great, but it may not become your dog’s cozy sanctuary unless you spruce it up a bit. Some indoor dog houses listed above include cozy and plush bedding, though not all of them do.
In order to help your dog feel as comfortable and cozy as possible in his indoor dog house, we suggest filling it with dog-safe accessories your pooch is sure to love.
Not sure which accessories would go best in your dog’s indoor dog house? We have listed some of our top picks for you to consider below.
Take a look!
Alpha Paw Calming Blanket
No indoor dog house is complete without a cozy, calming blanket. We recommend blankets made by Alpha Paw. These blankets are not only super soft but also help alleviate anxiety and stress. They come in different sizes including small, large, and medium, and can also be ordered in different colors.
These blankets are machine washable and, most importantly, made with dog-safe materials as well.
Dog Calming Bed
Have you ever heard of a donut bed? Donut beds like the one above by the Dog’s Company help to encase your pup in cozy, plush material so he can feel safe and comfortable while he naps.
This type of dog bed is perfect for an indoor dog house because it is compact, easy to clean, and simple to use. Plus, we haven’t met a dog yet who doesn’t love a donut bed.
How To Make Your Indoor Dog House Cozy For Your Dog
Making your dog’s indoor dog house his own space can help him to feel safe and comfortable inside of it at all times.
Just like people, dogs like spaces that are comfortable, cozy, and soft. This means that setting up an indoor dog house for your dog may not be enough to entice him to use his new domain.
The best way to help your dog feel right at home in his new space is to ensure it’s filled with comfy, cozy things he loves.
Here are a few expert tips and tricks on how you can maximize your dog’s use of his indoor dog house.
Location, Location, Location!
The canine real estate market is not so different from the human one. Location is everything! Your dog may not use his indoor dog house if it’s not in an ideal location. The best place for an indoor dog house is going to be a place that is quiet, calm, and dimly lit.
Placing your dog’s indoor dog house in an area of your home where there is too much activity or a lot of chaos could result in your dog feeling restless there. Remember, most dogs utilize their indoor dog house for a place of relaxation and peace. You want to provide your dog with an escape, so be careful of where you’re setting up his domain.
Fill Your Dog’s Indoor Dog House Soft Blankets or Bedding
Some dogs do enjoy laying on hard surfaces like floors or tile, especially if the weather is warm and they are trying to cool off.
However, for the most part, dogs enjoy the finer things of life. Your dog will appreciate a soft, cozy blanket to snuggle up inside of his indoor dog house. He may also enjoy having his dog bed inside his indoor dog house and a few plush toys to cuddle with.
You can watch this video below on how to make your dog bed for an indoor dog house to ensure your dog is happy and comfy in his new hangout.
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Put A Few Of Your Dog’s Favorite Chews Inside
No dog wants to be bored, and while Fido may be hanging out in his indoor dog house to take some naps, there may be other times he wants to relax and do some of his favorite things. You can help him fall in love with his indoor dog house by providing him with chew toys or KONG toys that can help keep him preoccupied and busy.
This is especially helpful for dogs who may be anxious or tend to be heavy chewers, as offering them things that are safe to chew on can help reduce the chances of your dog chewing on something he shouldn’t.
Consider Feeding Your Dog In His Indoor Dog House
If your dog is hesitant about his new indoor dog house at first, don’t worry. There are a few ways you can help him learn to love his new home.
Toss a few treats in his indoor dog house or place a snuffle mat inside and hide goodies for him to find. You might even consider feeding your dog his meals in his indoor dog house from time to time.
These kinds of tactics can help show your dog that his indoor dog house is safe and a place where only the greatest of things happen!
And on that note, it’s time now to talk about the important dos and don’ts of using an indoor dog house for your furry family member.
The Do’s And Don’ts Of Using An Indoor Dog House For Your Dog
An indoor dog house is not a crate, and it is important not to use your indoor dog house as a place of punishment.
Getting your dog acclimated to an indoor dog house is very similar to getting him acclimated to using his crate. While most indoor dog houses are not designed to be used as crates, some can be.
Either way, it’s very important to take steps to ensure your dog likes his new indoor dog house and feels safe with it. Otherwise, you may have just invested in something your dog will never use, which can be frustrating.
Here are a few dos and dont’s of acclimating your dog to his indoor dog house properly.
Allow Your Dog Time To Explore And Get Used To His New Dog House
Some dogs may understand right away that the new space in your home is their new indoor dog house. Others may need to take some time to get used to it.
It’s okay for dogs to be hesitant, and it’s important to allow your dog to explore his new indoor dog house on his own time. Refrain from forcing your dog into his indoor dog house, as this could lead to him becoming fearful of it off the top and he may avoid going inside of it on his own thereafter.
Instead, set your dog’s indoor dog house up in a safe location and leave it be for a few days so your dog can get used to it.
Don’t Use Your Indoor Dog House As A Place Of Punishment For Your Dog
Another fast way to wind up with a dog who hates his indoor dog house is to use this indoor dog house as a place of punishment. Many people may find it cute to tell a dog to “go to your room”, and watch their dog run into their crate or dog house with their tail tucked, but we have to remember that dogs aren’t able to tell when we are teasing them or angry with them.
Avoid using your dog’s indoor dog house as a place to put your dog when he has done something naughty like chew your shoes or have a potty accident. It’s also important not to lock your dog inside of his indoor dog house unless you have crate trained your dog properly and your indoor dog house is designed to be used as both a crate and bed space for your dog.
Instead, make sure your dog knows that only good things happen in his indoor dog house. The indoor dog house is where he gets meals, treats, new toys, and good naps! If this pattern persists, he will love his new space in no time!
Respect Your Dog’s Space While He Is In His Dog House
Not many people realize that dogs like to have downtime and time to themselves, and providing your dog with his own indoor dog house is a good way to offer him a place to go when he’s feeling overwhelmed.
To ensure your dog knows that he can relax when he goes to his indoor dog house, it’s important to respect his space when he retreats there. Allow him to go to his indoor dog house and leave him be until he is ready to come out and play again.
And, Of Course, Keep That Indoor Dog House Clean
Your dog will certainly enjoy having a space that has its smells, but he’ll also like his space to be clean and tidy. Make sure you wash bedding on a routine basis and clean out any chewed toys or treat bits he may have left behind.
Not only will this ensure your dog stays happy, healthy, and comfy in his new indoor dog house, but it will also ensure your home is clean and healthy as well.
So, what do you think about our above list of indoor dog houses? Which one is your favorite indoor dog house for Fido? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.