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How to heat an outdoor run

Dog Dancer
August 19th, 2005, 12:15 PM
Okay, I know most of us don't agree with leaving our dogs outside, but with Shadow as most regulars know inside the house is not an option if we're not home. So the two girls stay outside on our upper-deck patio during the day or evenings when we're out. The yard is fenced and locked, as is the upper patio, so they are safe there. Now with winter approaching I need ideas on how to heat an area of the patio space so it's not too cold for them. Of course we're in Vancouver so it's not generally sub-freezing, but it is wet and pretty cold sometimes. About 1/3 of the patio is covered by roof and it has solid side walls (the patio is maybe 14 feet wide). So I figure we'll put some of that decking stuff down that has the airspace in it so that their bedding is not directly on the concrete, but don't know about heat. I have been thinking about a large radiant heater we've seen at Costco that just emits hot air, but I think those are quite expensive to run continually. Just sorta putting out a feeler for ideas before it's winter again. Neither of the dogs is too keen on dog houses so they don't have that confined area to trap their heat either. Tks for any ideas we can consider. :)

jessi76
August 19th, 2005, 12:42 PM
If having the dogs outside is the only option, I'd probably make the investment in a patio heater. Not only would it provide warmth for the dogs, but you would get more use out of your patio during late fall and early spring.

Dog Dancer
August 19th, 2005, 01:14 PM
Are you talking about the big tall propane heaters? That's an option I hadn't thought of yet, probably propane would be cheaper than electricity for the radiant heat lamp. They're sorta indoor / outdoor dogs given Shadows separation anxiety. We were laughing last week because she was watching the excavator tearing down the house next door and we figured she was thinking "What pansies they have to bring in a machine to rip their house apart!" :rolleyes: But as a rule they're in the house with us so their coats aren't heavy enough to really keep them super warm if they're out for several hours at night and it's really cold outside. Thanks for the idea - that's what I'm looking for. :love:

jessi76
August 19th, 2005, 02:06 PM
Are you talking about the big tall propane heaters? That's an option I hadn't thought of yet, probably propane would be cheaper than electricity for the radiant heat lamp. They're sorta indoor / outdoor dogs given Shadows separation anxiety. We were laughing last week because she was watching the excavator tearing down the house next door and we figured she was thinking "What pansies they have to bring in a machine to rip their house apart!" :rolleyes: But as a rule they're in the house with us so their coats aren't heavy enough to really keep them super warm if they're out for several hours at night and it's really cold outside. Thanks for the idea - that's what I'm looking for. :love:

YES, exactly what I was talking about. Propane patio heaters. There are a few sizes, ranging from table top to big enough to heat a large patio. I'd personally stay away from anything electric if it's for when you are not home - to be on the safe side. I suppose you could bundle them up in doggy parkas too... hee hee j/k.

Dogastrophe
August 19th, 2005, 02:26 PM
If going with a propane heater, be sure to bolt it down securely as then can tip. Another option, albiet far more expensive, would be to tile your upper patio and use an under tile heating system that is suitable for exterior use (not sure if radiant heating can be used outdoors or not, but may be a system available). Also, if you have an open front at the patio, you could box it in with either a thick exterior fabric or build a small wall to keep the wind out.

Dog Dancer
August 19th, 2005, 03:00 PM
Hi Jessi and Dogastrophe. Thanks for the replies. I didn't realize really that the heaters came in smaller sizes, although definitely I would make it out of reach of the girls (no singed noses or tails :eek: ) and unable to tip over. I hadn't thought about the heated tile floor really, but BF does brick and tile work so it wouldn't be impossible. It's only a rental house we're in, but he's good friends with the owners and has free reign with it. We're thinking of buying it next year if I sell my own house. That would be funny actually because we have all ceramic tile in the house and it's not heated flooring. So my dogs would actually have a nicer floor than us!!! That oughta fly well huh! Fortunately BF loves the girls to pieces. I can't really close in the patio as that is part of Shadow's problem. No closed in spaces. Most I could do would be to close off the upper half of the opening (where the roof ends we could drop something down to help keep some heat from escaping too fast since heat rises). The bottom would have to stay open so Shadow wouldn't panic and rip it apart - she has SA and is somewhat claustrophobic according to our behaviorist. :rolleyes: Tks again.

SarahLynn123
August 19th, 2005, 03:05 PM
Not sure if any of these ideas would or could work but here it goes:

Get and plug in a heated blanket! If Shadow is a chewer though she could chew through the blanket and cords and get herself hurt

What about getting a small heater but use a solar panel to run it instead of electricity. (this is my imagination running wild! I dont even know if this is possible!!!!)

Thats all I have so far but I will keep thinking!

StaceyB
August 19th, 2005, 03:13 PM
I would be very careful that you are not going to be leaving a heating system of any kind in a space where there are dogs, including one that you know to be destructive. This system would be on when you are not home and could catch fire.
You could get away with enclosing the entire area. You could probably get away with not including heating as long as wind, snow, rain can't get in. You are in an area that doesn't get that cold but it would depend on their breeds. If you wanted to add heat I would insulate the area and redirect heat in from the home.

Puppyluv
August 19th, 2005, 03:24 PM
Get and plug in a heated blanket! If Shadow is a chewer though she could chew through the blanket and cords and get herself hurt


That may not be the safest outdoor choice.. especially in the rain and snow.
I agree that the patio heaters (the ones emitting Infrared light.... so you feel like a cheeseburger) would be your best/safest bet. And they let you stay out in your yard later in the year/later at night!

jessi76
August 19th, 2005, 03:26 PM
this is along the lines SarahLynn123 suggested, but it's made for dogs and outside use -

http://cozywinters.com/shopping/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=cw&Product_Code=KH-1000-1020

Just another route to consider.

Dog Dancer
August 19th, 2005, 04:01 PM
Hi guys, thanks for all this info. Stacey, I like the idea of redirecting the indoor heat. Will have to run that past BF, I'm sure between him and the neighbour these two handymen could fix something up.
Puppyluv, if I put some some of electrical heater (which I think would be too costly) it would be very high up. I know of a friend of mine who had an electric baseboard heater in their dogs outdoor kennel and they burned their entire house down :eek: I'd be terrified of that, especially if we weren't home and the dogs were trapped there.
Jessi the heating pad thing is a good idea too. Shadow is very destructive if she's trying to get out of the house, but would not chew up her bed or any furniture or other such things. She just wants out, so basically closing in the entire area is out of the questions, the best we can do is make it as weather proof as possible but we'd have to leave the bottom four or five feet open so she wouldn't feel trapped in there.
Shadow is an Akita X and has a good solid coat of hair, Halo is a Lab X but due to her food allergies she has fairly a fairly thin coat and I would worry about her getting cold more than Shadow. That said Halo is more of a comfort hound and will stay where it is dry and on a nice soft squishy blanket :angel: Thanks for all the great ideas, it's exactly what I was looking for. You guys are all great. Hugs from my girls.

Dog Dancer
August 19th, 2005, 04:02 PM
Oh yeah, SarahLynn, I'm definitely going to go and look for a solar heater thing. If it's available then you have a great imagination! :thumbs up Tks.

MIA
August 19th, 2005, 06:00 PM
Straw is an excellent insulator and is cheap! I would get some proper houses and fill them full of straw.

db7
August 19th, 2005, 06:34 PM
Dog house with straw and a 100 w lightbulb for heat will do the trick. make sure there is a wire guard around the bulb so doggy doesn't get burnt.

It's a heck of a lot safer, cheaper, and way more environmentally friendly than trying to heat the great outdoors with an open flame.

Dog Dancer
August 22nd, 2005, 12:09 PM
Hey thanks to all of you who have answered with great ideas and suggestions. Not sure where we'll go with this yet, but just trying to do some early planning here. I'm not sure Shadow will use the dog house, she's not into being confined like that - even if it is open. She's kinda claustrophobic, but you never know. We may try the dog house idea anyhow, we've talked about that several times. Tks much.

db7
August 22nd, 2005, 12:39 PM
If it's cold out the doghouse will get used. Any doubts, just start feeding the dog in the dog house.

Lucky Rescue
August 22nd, 2005, 12:52 PM
About 1/3 of the patio is covered by roof and it has solid side walls

For that kind of setup, you might want to try the heat lamps used for chickens and other poultry. They are safe and work quite well, in fact many people use them in feral cat shelters.

Jazzmanian
August 22nd, 2005, 02:34 PM
My sister lost her entire house and contents to an electric heater pad, so IMHO this is not the best plan either.

I would think for your breeds and your climate, an insulated house with straw should be enough. My dad builds a doghouse completely out of straw bails in the fall. This may not be practical in your situation, but it speaks to the insulative qualities of straw.

With animals that can and do chew through things, I would only feel comfortable with a system where the heat is generated in a utility room, and piped via water or air duct to the location of the pets.

If your house has water/radient heat, you could add a pipe circuit and using MDF flooring build a radient heat dog pad. If you go with electric, I would run all cords through steel conduit pipes, and have nothing chewable exposed in any way. (and I would still be nervous about electrical fire). Maybe you can add a vent to a dog house from your air furnace if that's the kind you have.

db7
August 22nd, 2005, 02:38 PM
For Vancouver you actually don't need any source of heat if you have an insulated doghouse with a wind break.