If you'd like to be able to put your dog outside for some fresh air and exercise, but don't want him pottying everywhere, dog kennels provide a place to keep your pet safe and save your lawn from becoming his powder room.
About Dog Kennels
Dog kennels are fenced in areas that keep your pet safely contained and may be equipped with a dog house if desired. A dog kennel may be a single unit or part of a larger group of dog runs, such as those found at boarding and breeding facilities.
The kennel you ultimately select for your pet should be the largest size you have room for. The dog run should be longer than it is wide to promote more exercise, so measure your dog and try to provide a run that is approximately five times longer than his length. Space is especially important if you intend to put more than one dog in the run at a time.
Tip: Be sure your dog always has fresh water available. Using spring latches or caribeaners to attach stainless steel buckets to the fencing will keep your pet from spilling the containers.
Selecting a Location
Where you place your run is just as important as the type of dog kennel you choose.
- Place the kennel in an area with good drainage.
- Select an area with natural shade if possible.
- Avoid putting the kennel near your neighbor's property line, where barking and smells will not likely be appreciated.
- Try to put the kennel in a location that is easily viewed from your house, just in case Fido runs into unforeseen trouble.
Components and Tips
Let's examine the individual components of dog kennels for a few tips about materials and construction.
Walls and gates must be durable and rust proof since they will be exposed to a lot of weather and wear.
Chain link fencing framed by steel tubing is very strong, but heavy gauge two-by-four inch galvanized wire fencing is also frequently used. The most important thing is there are no sharp edges or openings for your dog to get cut or caught on, so make sure the fencing is completely wired to the framing.
Wall height is also a primary concern, and it's a good idea to go for the highest height available, even if your dog is small. Some pets are skilled jumpers and climbers, easily escaping lower structures. High walls can also keep unwanted animals outside the fence where they belong.
Gates should be sufficiently wide for easy access and have a latch secure enough to discourage any canine escape artist. Spring load latches are highly recommended.
Overhead shelter is a key component of any dog kennel, necessary for protecting your dog from sun and rain. The most popular material is vinyl sheeting, or tarpaulins, which should be tented to encourage water run-off.
Sunscreening may also be added to side walls for further protection.
Proper flooring can be a tricky issue to navigate. There are a number of materials that can be used but not all may be a good choice for your pet.
- Wood flooring is not recommended. Pressure treated lumber contains toxic chemicals that can harm pets that like to chew, but untreated wood will rot within one or two years of use. Wood floors can also give your pet splinters, and unsealed wood will absorb urine, resulting in a permanent odor.
- Pea gravel is actually a decent ground cover, but should be poured to a depth of approximately six inches for drainage purposes.
- Concrete slabs have both advantages and disadvantages but are the most frequently used type of kennel flooring.
Concrete is easy to clean with soap and water; however, it can hold dampness. A good solution to this problem is to provide your pet with a raised dog bed, so he can spend some of his time off the ground. As a side benefit, the concrete surface helps grind down your dog's nail tips, so you'll have to clip them less.
- High density plastic flooring is quickly gaining on concrete slabs. The surface is very easy to clean, allows water run off, and dries quickly. This flooring can be purchased in inter-locking panels and can be trimmed for a custom fit.
Portable Dog Kennels
Portable dog kennels, also referred to as exercise pens, can be the traveler's best friend. These kennels come in either six or eight panel configurations that easily fold down into a convenient traveling size. While they lack roofs and flooring, these portable units still come in very handy when vacationing, or travelling to dog shows.
Where to Purchase
If you prefer to purchase a prefabricated unit, here are a few sources to get you started: