Winterproof Your Dog Kennel




Introduction: Winterproof Your Dog Kennel

About: User Experience Engineer at L.L.Bean and Sculptor.
Here in Maine, we can get a lot of snow. We had just acquired a new puppy, and I was concerned with snow depth versus the size of the dog, so I wanted a spot that would stay relatively clear of snow. We had a kennel with a standard tarp & frame roof, but I knew that the snow weight would be a problem and that snow would easily blow in through the sides. I solved both problems and have a clear spot for our puppy to go potty.

Instructions are based on a 10' x 10' kennel, but this method can be used for any size kennel.

    Tools/materials needed:
    • hacksaw
    • measuring tape
    • screw gun/drill
    • wrench
      • for end rail clamp hex nuts
    • 3/4" self tapping metal screws
    • Eight end rail clamps
      • Amount will vary based on size of kennel
      • I paid $1.31 per at my local big box hardware store
    • Two 10' 1 3/8" galvanized pipe
      • known as top rail in the fencing section of most hardware stores

    Step 1 - Reinforcing the frame


    The first step is to attach a crossbar to the kennel to provide additional strength to the frame by giving some weight distribution. This also helps attach the frame to the kennel in a stronger fashion. The crossbar will run parallel to the peak of your roof frame. Take an inside measurement (not from the middle of the kennel side rail, but from the end) and subtract 1" from your measurement (for the end rail clamps). I attached 1/2 of each clamp to each end of my cut piece (using a self tapping screw) so that I could place it and attach it to the kennel easily. I then made sure the position of the crossbar was directly under & parallel to the roof peak and finished attaching the rest of the clamps using the hex bolts included with the clamp, and finished off the attachment with the self tapping screws.

    Following the same method as above, measure from the peak to the new crossbar and subtract 1". For a 10' x 10' kennel, I used 3 supports. See above photos for examples.

    By reinforcing the frame, the roof was able to withstand 8"+ of wet snow without issue.

    Please note: I do clear off the snow each storm to prevent accumulation. Additionally. instead of using bungees to attach the tarp, I used rope to provide additional strength and tautness.

    Step 2 - snow-proofing
    To prevent snow from making it's way into the kennel, I purchased four 6' x 10' tarps. I specifically bought the clear (translucent) tarps from an online source at about $11 a tarp. I purchased the clear tarp to allow light into the kennel, however you can find standard tarps for cheaper.

    Size of tarps and length are dependent on the size of your kennel and door placement. These instructions are for a 10' x 10' kennel with the door at the end of the panel. I attached these tarps to the exterior of each panel using bungees, with special instructions for the door panel. For the door panel, I attached the tarp to the kennel frame in the normal manner up to the point of the door frame. From here, I then attached the tarp to the door itself. This allows the door to open & close with the tarp attached.

    Additional Tips:

    If you need even more support, or have a longer kennel roof, I would suggest adding a support from the cross bar to the ground with a floor flange on a pressure treated block of wood to distribute the weight. You can find these at canopy part stores - Another option is to use an outdoor umbrella base, which is weighted and would work well for a support base. 

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      2 Discussions


      2 years ago on Introduction

      I live in Colorado and have high winds, do you think this would work? thank you


      4 years ago

      Great idea. Can't wait to get started.