Are Cedar Dog Houses Bad for Dogs?

by Amy Brantley, Demand Media
    Cedar dog houses have pros and cons.

    Cedar dog houses have pros and cons.

    Wooden dog houses are often preferred by owners due to their aesthetic appeal. While cedar dog houses are certainly beautiful, they do have good points and bad points that pet owners should know about.

    The Pros

    Cedar is a material that can repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. This will keep your outdoor dog safe from a number of diseases these pests carry. Cedar dog houses also last longer than many other dog houses, especially plastic. Not only can cedar withstand the heat and cold, but it's less likely to rot and mold. You also won't have to worry about painting the home. Cedar dog houses are built to look beautiful as is. Cedar can even help prevent odors, keeping your dog's house smelling fresher. This smell can also be calming for dogs and cedar is a wonderful insulator from the heat and cold.

    The Cons

    Cedar can be harmful for some dogs. Not only can the oils cause skin allergies, but in rare cases the wood oils can cause respiratory infections. This can be even more problematic if your dog is a chewer and decides to gnaw on his dog house. Owners should also not overlook the fact that cedar may be treated. If you're building a house from scratch, you must make sure to purchase untreated wood.

    Allergies and Infections

    Dogs that have skin allergies due to cedar may experience skin rashes that cause itching and hair loss. If you notice your dog scratching, but he is free of fleas, it may be the dog house. Upper respiratory infection symptoms can include coughing, sneezing, a low-grade fever, discharge from the eyes and nose, lethargy, loss of appetite and other symptoms similar to what you would see in the common cold in humans. Dogs experiencing these symptoms should be taken to the vet for diagnosis and antibiotics.

    Alternatives

    Dogs that are allergic to cedar can be housed in plastic, metal or even fiberglass dog houses. There are also houses made of other woods. Some owners choose to house their dogs in backyard kennels that are covered with tarps to keep out the rain, but these homes offer little protection from the elements. Also, each of these alternatives can have issues of their own. Fiberglass houses are expensive, while metal dog houses can be dangerous during thunderstorms. Plastic homes will begin to fade and crack due to exposure to the elements.

    About the Author

    Amy Brantley has been a writer since 2006, contributing to numerous online publications. She specializes in business, finance, food, decorating and pets.

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