Volunteers assemble dog houses  to assist at-risk homeowners and provide adequate shelter for outdoor dogs.

Your Pet Deserves Healthy Housing

Understand Hillsborough County pet care and shelter requirements

Summer's blazing temperatures and intense rains can quickly make your yard dangerous for pets living outdoors. Providing proper food, water, and shelter year-round are essential to having a happy and healthy pet.

As a pet owner in Hillsborough County, you are responsible for the care and safety of your companion animals, which includes meeting pet care standards under County ordinances. At the most basic level, the standards require that pet owners provide:

  • Accessible, adequate, and sanitary food and water
  • Proper indoor or outdoor shelter that is:
    • structurally sound
    • sized correctly to provide enough space for the species and number of animals
    • maintained in a safe and healthy manner, free of standing water, excreta, excessive litter, debris, infestation, and pests
    • well ventilated, with protection from sunlight and inclement weather
  • Appropriate and safe animal restraints, including leashes and limits on tethering

Is your outdoor doghouse a safe structure?
Outdoor shelters for dogs or doghouses must meet all the required County guidelines for a proper shelter, as well as these features:

  • have a roof, minimum of three solid sides, and a solid level floor
  • weatherproofed and shaded during the summer
  • raised up off the ground to ensure it is free of standing water

Hillsborough County Animal Control recommends residents periodically check to make sure their doghouse is in good repair and fix or replace, as needed. Ready-made doghouses of all sizes and designs are available for purchase. Alternatively, you can build a simple and inexpensive doghouse that meets Hillsborough County pet care standards. No matter which method you use, the doghouse or outdoor shelter should be properly sized to allow animals to stand to full height, stretch out, turn around, lie down, and make normal postural adjustments comfortably.


Photo Information: Volunteers from Hillsborough County Code Enforcement, Pet Resource Center, and community groups assembled dog houses on July 10, 2022, to assist at-risk homeowners by providing adequate shelter for outdoor dogs.


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