Flooring for an Outdoor Dog Run

Kelly Roper

Visitor's Dog Flooring Question

Hi, I have a question about flooring for an outdoor dog run. We have a new house and put in a 40' x 7' chain link dog run area outside the laundry room with a doggie door for access. There is a 10' concrete porch area extending from the door, that is covered halfway by an overhang. We have a seven month old Golden Retriever that stays in that area all day when we are at work, and we've put a gate at the inside laundry room door so he cannot get into the rest of the house. To cover the remaining 30' area, we've put down half pea gravel and half grass, but that is not working!

  1. Our dog has been digging deep holes through the gravel and the grass.
  2. The grass grows too fast and there are dead patches all over caused by the urine.
  3. Because he digs holes, the run becomes muddy when it rains, and sandy when it's dry. This mess winds up being tracked onto the laundry room floor.

We're thinking about removing the grass and gravel, and putting down some other material that would be cleaner, and stop him from digging holes. I have read that cement flooring is the most commonly used material for dog runs, but what about the dog urine? Where does it go? So this is what we are thinking of doing. After we clear out the grass and gravel, we will put chicken wire underneath the area so he cannot dig. Then we could put crushed granite or breeze on top and compact it down. That will allow the urine and rainwater to drain out but would be compacted enough that it wouldn't be messy. It will be easy to pick up the poop and the urine would just disappear.

What are your recommendations?

Thank you~~ Judy

Expert Reply

Hi Judy,

This is an excellent question. Selecting proper flooring for an outdoor dog run is crucial for creating a kennel that is safe and comfortable for your dog, yet still easy to maintain.

Concrete slabs are usually angled to allow run off, and are easy to hose down, but urine can be absorbed and leave some lasting scent. The area can be treated with a concrete sealer, but this also makes the floor slippery so it's not the best solution.

I'm a bit leary about laying down chicken wire since it can have sharp spots, and your dog already digs through the gravel. I think I have a feasible solution that will save you a lot of extra work. High density plastic flooring is a great alternative to concrete. It's durable, but lightweight, so installation is far easier. This type of flooring is available in prefabricated, interlocking panels of various sizes, but you can also cut them to size as needed.

I would remove the sod from the grassy portion of the run, fill this remaining area with more gravel for drainage, and lay the high density floor panels over it. This would take care of the mud and the digging, but you will still need to decide whether or not you want to leave the concrete patio in place.

If the patio is reasonably level, you could possibly go ahead and seal it, then install the plastic floor right over it. Just be sure that you have enough gravel in the rest of the kennel to keep the flooring level. Scooping and hosing will keep the area clean, and provide a comfortable exercise area for your pet.

I hope you find this information helpful, and please check back in to let us know how you eventually work the problem out.

~~Kelly

Flooring for an Outdoor Dog Run