Asked on Sep 10, 2013

Winter dog entrance

Susan Cryor
by Susan Cryor
we have a blind poodle, 11 lbs, mutt 16 lbs and a collie ( newly acquired 2 yrs old. ) So I am asking if anyone has ever built a snow entrance with ramp inside for dogs? The pitch of the roof is such that the snow will be coming down where we want them to go in and out. So would like one side to slope to keep snow from roof blocking entrance. Any ideas? In the photo, showing home made ramp for blind Mollie. A storage top with carpet glued on it and large rock to keep in place. Great since April, when she went blind. But winter is around the corner...And you can see, it will be covered with snow from the roof, not to mention from the sky! Thanks!
q winter dog entrance, curb appeal, diy, This shows the slidi g glass door pitch of the roof and think that is what you all might need to know We would put the entrance ramp where the awing is and know it will block part of the door See the ramp for Mollie
This shows the slidi g glass door, pitch of the roof and think that is what you all might need to know. We would put the "entrance ramp where the awing is and know it will block part of the door. See the ramp for Mollie.
  41 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Sep 10, 2013
    With a shingled roof that that your should not be getting much if any "shedding" from the roof. Your snow pile are more likely due to wind drifting and direct falling. There are "dog door" kits that can be installed in sliders but they tend to not seal so well were the non-jamb side of the door is. Ideally a through the wall doggie door would be a better option. To the left of the slider perhaps? Getting a automated electric one would be better than the swing style as these are more "weather tight" We get plenty of snow here in CO...and our winds can be pretty intense. My sweetie has been asking for a doggie door for us but due to the slope of our land the only side of the house where is would work is our windward side.

  • Why not simply kill two birds with one stone. Put a small shed roof over the sliding door area not only to protect the ramp, but to keep the snow from blocking the sliding door track itself so you can come and go without being dumped on? If you put two poles on each corner to hold the roof, you can inclose it with a plastic panel that can be removed in the summer to allow air to come in. We have something like this as well. It goes out about eight feet off of the side of our house and its about 12 foot wide. In the winter I place some pre-made wood frames covered with plastic on two sides and leave one open so our pooch can come and go as he pleases. We keep the side where the wind does not blow as much so we do not get any drifting into the area from snow. Works like a charm.

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 10, 2013
    yes, understand about snow and wind, lived in Colorado many years! Your video was very interesting! And accurate! Need to address the blind dog and ramp, her needs, and might as well have it work for all three! Agree to the left, as that is where their "potty" area is. We tell them to get into the "run" which is an area with straw defining the borders. The wall door, will not work, heat duct and fireplace there. But an idea that we discussed! And yes the glass doors are not air tight. Next?

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 10, 2013
    nice idea, much better than some half tee pee with ramp inside! At least to figure how to build it! How would you suggest we attach it to the house? It is vinyl siding and has a gutter as well. Metal posts, how would we secure them to the patio (poured cement/stamped) what thickness of plastic do you use?? Now you have me thinking of pull out awnings .....which are very pricy.

  • pull out awnings are fine but do not hold up to the weight of snow. You would simply install a ledger board just under the gutter on the wall. That small section of siding would be removed and then flashed to prevent water from running behind the board. You then simply cut a six or eight inch hole into the patio and dig down for a footing for each corner of the roof. Place two 4x4 posts or larger, with a cross beam to support the roof joists that would run from the new ledger to the top of the cross beam. Then simply plywood and roof with a ice and water shield and shingle. You can then install a gutter on the end if you like, or simply let the rain and snow run off. You can always construct it with an open concept such as an arbor would be. Then in the winter tie a tarp over the top to keep the snow out. Then remove to give an open look in the summer. They also make plastic panels that come in clear that can be used on the same joists to provide more light into the door while keeping the rain and snow out as well. Lots of options. We use a 6 mil plastic. Bit more expensive and normally lasts for about two seasons before it begins to crack and look bad. I simply made a small wooden frame that fitted between the corners and I have one in the middle so each one is only six foot wide by 7 foot high. A few screws holds them in place. I toyed with the idea of using a lattice on the bottom to keep my dog from running into or jumping up on the plastic but he never did it so I did not bother. If you do not want to cut into the patio you can bolt the corners on to it. But a patio is not considered structural and any weight that is concentrated on each corner could cause the cement slab to crack. You simply need to cut out enough of the cement to dig down deep enough for footings to support each post.

  • Lori Choman Lori Choman on Sep 10, 2013
    I have to agree with @Woodbridge EnvironmentalI would extend the roof or put a shed roof over the door. Check to see which way the wind blows from most and put up some kind of barrier there as well to protect the ramp and the pups from the bitter cold.

  • Christine C. Christine C. on Sep 10, 2013
    I had a contractor offer to build a wooden tunnel ramp for my poodles to exist, or perhaps a PVC tunnel frame work that you could assemble, covered with a tarp.

  • Teresa R Teresa R on Sep 10, 2013
    Pergula that you could put canvas on in the winter ??

  • Michelle E Michelle E on Sep 10, 2013
    I have had a blind dog before... they will adjust and adapt. I had very deep snows and it did not deter the blind dog from going out- especially since they follow the other dogs. I would shovel a path on the deck to the dog potty area and the steps down into it (did this long before she came for the other dogs just to keep snow from being tracked in)....and she did fine. Actually she enjoyed playing in the snow just as any other dog does.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Sep 11, 2013
    Some polycarbonate panels are another option to the plastic sheeting. We have two "one eyed" dogs and most likely will have a fully blind dog sometime next year. (Glaucoma is progressing). Since two of our dogs are small and puppy mill rescues they are not too keen on the whole inside outside potty thing. We have a tiled area that we set up with Medical "underpads" they tend to "use" this area when the weather is crappy. (wind rain and snow )

  • Gail Salminen Gail Salminen on Sep 11, 2013
    @Susan Cryor We have a dog that has mobility issues and is blind in one eye, and the other has a cataract. We shovel our deck and a potty area for him. This seems to work and he finds his way easily. You could consider an all season metal shelter, similar to the ones they have for babeques.

  • Wanda B Wanda B on Sep 12, 2013
    We did not have a blind dog but we built a small staircase leading to a window in our basement and a large dog kennel just outside the window. We put a dog door so they could excit and enter at will. We had a wind and snow problem with the window so constructed a dog house and attached it to the window outside. It not only provided a dry and secure way for the dogs to excit but my little one could never figure out the dog door so she could wait inside the house for me until I came back and helped her in. You could do the same with your little ramp and just coax them out onto a littel enclosed covered bridge. I am afraid with just building an overhanging roof you may still get snow blowing in onto your ramp. Also a dog house is a fraction of the price of adding a roof if you are not ready to do that yet. Best wishes. Your dogs are blessed to have such a concerned and consciensious owner

  • Gaild Gaild on Sep 12, 2013
    try making a mini patio using pvc pipe n canvs u can probably find plans on www. send pix

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    I tried www.sendpix, all I pulled up was " send sex pictures" do not think that is what I need!

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    good thinking, do you think a pergola would work? With covering it with plastic in the winter?

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    thank you all, I put your ideas to husband. He will review them soon!

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    just a thought....

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    wow! Beautiful collie! Mollie, blind dog wears " halo collar" as she is struggling! Slammed her head into a chair, husband even said surprised she did not have concussion ! We moved I Here in Sept. she went blind in April. Not as if she has had time to adjust. Very Hard for her, as well sad to see.

    • Sheila Lynn Sheila Lynn on Sep 12, 2013
      @Susan Cryor I had a dog who went blind quite quickly. Once he was used to surroundings (and I did NOT move furniture) he did great. I had a ball with bells in it that he would still "chase" when I rolled it instead of throwing. Love on she, she will be ok. Glad you still have her.

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    just checked out the polycarbonate panels, will hubby check them out as well, certainly beats painting wood....

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    Gail, will investigate those with husband! Might be pricy?? Glad to know Mollie is not along, as well as many replys. We do love our dogs!

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    thought about the basement that needs replaced anyhow...but issue is I would have to take her downstairs, as vet said do not allow her to do steps...I coax her to go up at night, on carpeted stairs, with me with her. Sometimes she gets confused and turns around, glad to be with her, as it scares me that she might go tumbling. And the other issue is the wind is very bad there...the window is behind the chimney to the left, and too small for collie. Such a challenge! But with winter just around the corner, want to get it addressed

  • Chris aka monkey Chris aka monkey on Sep 12, 2013
    how about a child's play tunnel?? xx

    • Gaild Gaild on Sep 14, 2013
      @Chris aka monkey I agree and was going to suggest this but the snow would collapse it

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    you sent me on a chase! Child's play tunnels are cloth/ fabric, but then I went searching for tunnels and tubing...what I found wasn't right, except for the drainage tubing...seems triangular only comes shipped China. :(

    • Gaild Gaild on Sep 14, 2013
      @Susan Cryor they use giant tubes for underground sewers!!

  • Tabby Tabby on Sep 12, 2013
    search for hoop house, hoop greenhouse, row covers, I use cinder blocks and PVC pipes to make rows of hoops and cover with blue tarps. Lay out two rows of cinder blocks in a path, bend the PVC pipes and set into the holes of the cinder blocks to hold them into an upside down U shape, run and knot rope along sides of pipe to hold them straight upright and 'tie' them together, then cover with tarp and shove edges of tarp under cinder block to hold down. Depending on how much snow you get, you may need a pipe for every other block, or every three blocks... it would all be removable/easily storable in the spring. Just an idea.

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    we tried buttons, sewing different ones on elastic string, one for husband, myself and her son..each bracelet, although worn on our ankles (.all family members back in April, collie joined family Sept. 5th this year. ). We have always used bells on ribbon, over door knob for them to let us know they wanted out. ( talk about dogs training humans). So bells are in any other aspect confusing to her. Yes, everything is exactly as it was when she went blind. Sometimes she is really confused is all. I put the halo collar back on her after her slamming I to chair. I read where it should be worn in places she is not familiar with. She needs to adapt to her home environment. I want her protected so she is wearing it until we go to bed. The small dogs have always worn "onesies" the ones for babies. I just took the snaps off, relocated them for their tails. What ever the saying that is on the babies front, as it turned out, is on their backs. It helps them to know that it is bedtime, for everyone. Know this sounds redicilous but how we love our pets!

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 12, 2013
    I get the concept, I made my own raised beds, using plumbing brackets to anchor the PVC pipe and bought larger, softer pipe, cut it in 2 inch sections, cut each section out by about 1/4 inch. These clips lock over the PVC pipe and keep the plastic in place. I really need to talk to husband, get him reading all these wonderful ideas! Thanks!

  • Gaild Gaild on Sep 13, 2013
    Holy sh**, Susan, I meant look up how to build small patio on the world wide web. It was not a site!!! hahah, my fault for not using correct punctuation(ex English teacher!!!) Try these pages You could also get a very large pvc pipe or something similar, and attach it to outside the dog entrance. You would have to teach the dogs how to use it comfortably. I have 2 chihuahuas that cannot jump on the couch/bed. They wouldn't use 'dog steps' so I covered a board with rug and Viola- they walk the plank, so to speak to get up...once they understood how to use it-it was easy. They now run up the board. Good luck.

  • Gaild Gaild on Sep 13, 2013
    Oh, you could also set up a canva overhang like we do when we cmp. Use those long poles, stake them down and put on tarp, OR buy one of the canopes from Walmart that campers use, and set it up during the winter. Let us know what you decide, please.

  • Heather Sheets Heather Sheets on Sep 13, 2013
    Another idea would be a piece of drip edge inverted and tucked between the shingles. total project cost is around $30. It's meant more for rain, but would keep snow and ice from coming down right outside the door! Check out,,1630881,00.html

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 13, 2013
    too funny! I will check out blind dog site! Thanks

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 13, 2013
    ok everyone take a look at the swing in the photo, I told hubby, we can simply take the swing off, use the frame cover it with something to protect from snow, slide it over and put the ramp on the end towards the door with those half circle brackets for pipes. Attaching the wood ramp to the swing cross bar. What do you think about that?

  • Gaild Gaild on Sep 14, 2013
    good idea. try it now.

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 14, 2013
    I know! I am going to ask for 6 feet when I see them working!

  • Jean Connor Jean Connor on Sep 16, 2013
    We have a double dog door floor level (1 inside wall 1 on outside of house) we used wood plank with would slats like stair for walking up & down easy, wood on each side with plexi glass over top to make a tunnel and at end a box of wood and plexi glass for bad weather it has lasted 20 + years my sisters old blind dog used with any problems

  • Sparkles Sparkles on Sep 18, 2013 use cattle panels. this shows using them for gardening but you could use the same concept for the dogs. We have 1 dog that is competely blind and 2 that are going blind. OLD dogs. They get used the their enviroment and get around fine as long as you do not move things around into their walking areas. They manage steps easily too. We did teach them turn right or turn left or up the step and down the step so they can keep their independance. They can all find the food and water dishes on their own also. The one who is all the way blind will sometimes use his bark as a sonar like a bat to figure out if something is in front of him and how to get around it. Like walls or furniture.

  • Gaild Gaild on Sep 19, 2013
    Let us know what you finally decide to do

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Sep 20, 2013
    this may sound odd....but do you see the swing in the photo? It is the perfect height, the bottom cross supports on the A part if the frame at the ends for the ramp to reach the same level as the entrance to the door. Perfect height for our little blind girl! And the top A part of the frame is tall enough for the collie. she is not big, 35 lb. We will attach the ramp (ramp will have carpet on it) we will attach the ramp to the cross support with those half circle brackets generally used to anchor pipes, since they come in different widths, we will have a good, secure mounting, with just little drilling and screws. The other end, , side that will allow them access to the yard, it will be open. Collie can navagate the step up and blind dog will go under the cross piece, the ramp will be gradual for her. Then we will cover the front and back with heavy plastic, no seams, using duct tape and circle brackets. Getting a remnant of carpeting from local carpet store, putting that on the ramp. We put away the bench on the swing away every winter and leave the frame out. Perfect use for it! By the way, the carpeting store sells samples, bound! For .75 cents, perfect for car mats, and cheap enough to washing....throw them away, and samples again bound for entrance ways, 3 X 5 for $1.59. I went in to buy one piece of carpeting for collie in wood floor, ended up spent $22.00 yea, they were all bargains! And cheap enough to toss when they get dirty or worn out. I will post photo when the entrance is complete, so you can see, think my description is confusing!

  • Linda Linda on Nov 03, 2014
    I would build a little roof over her ramp to keep the snow off the ramp. It would be like a little covered bridge for her.

  • Bill Croley Bill Croley on Aug 04, 2015
    Put a snow guard on your roof to keep the snow from falling on that particular part of the patio. Seems simple enough.

  • Susan Cryor Susan Cryor on Aug 05, 2015
    See my update with photos

  • Sparkles Sparkles on Aug 05, 2015
    that look like it turned out to be a great walkthru for the dogs. sorry to hear of the loss of your dog.