Kennel Construction Theory
Although a kennel is built primarily for the comfort, health and convenience of dogs, it should also be designed for easy cleaning and labor efficiency. Preliminary planning is necessary to determine the right location and size of the kennel building, size and number of inside pens and outside runs, drainage, building materials, proximity of neighbors, ventilation, sewage disposal and other factors.
Choosing a kennel location is a major consideration. It should be away from neighbors who may be bothered by barking dogs, free of zoning laws that would adversely affect the operation, and have good drainage and adequate land for expansion. In most parts of the country, a south or southeast exposure for runs is preferable to provide winter sun and protection against cold north winds.
A kennel operation need not be complex to be successful. A practical approach together with sound planning can keep costs to a minimum and result in a facility that will be easy to manage, simple to maintain, and completely adequate for the comfort of the inhabitant.
One of the most important considerations in building a kennel is that it be easy to clean and maintain.
Wood flooring or walls should be avoided because of splinters, and because wood floors are almost impossible to clean and disinfect thoroughly. The floors inside the pens should be hard-surfaced so they can be washed easily. Concrete makes an excellent run flooring, but it must be well designed and well maintained to avoid cracks, depressions and rough places that are hiding places for insects, rodents and parasite eggs.
For efficiency in cleaning and maintenance, concrete and concrete block construction is generally recommended. Walls of this type, with concrete floors and kennel runs, make for a durable and economical commercial kennel structure. Frame buildings may be used, but they can present problems. Dogs will usually chew on wood, unless it is specially protected, and this not only creates an unfavorable appearance, but provides hiding places for bacteria and parasites. Wood absorbs more urine and urine odors than concrete, and wet wood deteriorates rapidly. The higher initial cost of a concrete and concrete block building is usually offset by lower maintenance costs, ease of cleaning, savings on insurance and general appearance.
This plan for a kennel incorporates kennel designs and equipment uses we have found to be the most efficient and practical. On the first floor of this section are restroom facilities for employees, an office, lunch room, a dog-grooming facility, and a feed-mixing area. A separate room can be adapted for a number of uses, including puppy housing. The basement is used for storing feed and a variety of other needed items.
Concrete block walls are used throughout. Exterior walls of 6-inch block are used. (I don't know the building code and 8 inch blocks may be required) For added strength, reinforcing mesh was used at every third row during construction of exterior walls. Interior walls and partitions are all of 4 inch concrete block. An epoxy paint is used to seal the new surface providing easy cleaning, which helps protect against disease and parasite infestation. It also aids in appearance.
Good drainage is extremely important in any kennel facility. Nothing will cause more odor and sanitation problems than uneven floors with pockets of standing water and/or urine. Therefore, an evenly-sloped surface is essential. The type of concrete finish is also important. Our specifications call for a light broom finish, brushed toward the drainage trench. A surface that is too smooth can be slippery for the dog and caretaker, especially when wet. Conversely, an extremely coarse surface is difficult to keep clean and can wear down the pads on a dog's feet. The broom finish circumvents both extremes.
Food Preparation Area
The kennel has a special area to store and mix food and prepare feed pans. Lightweight metal frame feed carts on rollers, with plastic bins attached for storage of rations, are used. The feed carts provide more working space for personnel, are easy to clean and offer less chance of insect and rodent infestation within the food preparation area. Large covered galvanized or plastic trash cans also work very well for feed storage and can be mounted on wheels.
Storage practices depend upon the amount of food that is stored. If only two or three 25-or 50-pound bags of dry ration are kept at a time, the bags can be emptied into feed carts or other closable containers. This keeps the food dry and helps prevent entry and contamination by rodents or insects. A large amount of dry food should be stored on wooden or steel benches which are 15- to 18-inches off the floor and 15- to 18-inches from the wall for easy cleaning. Tin wrapped around the legs of wooden benches aids in keeping insects and rodents from climbing up to the food. The entire food storage and preparation area should be free of insects and rodents and easy to keep clean.
Grooming and Washing Area
A separate grooming and washing room for routine dog care will be built. The room will be 10 x 20 feet. The grooming and washing room will have good lighting as well as hot and cold running water, have good ventilation, and be free from drafts. Equipment will include a bathtub and drain board that can be used in bathing dogs of all sizes, a grooming table, a cabinet for supplies and equipment, holding pens, and an area for drying dogs. A bathtub set high enough to bathe dogs without bending over is desirable. A wooden drain board covered with a rubber mat also serves as a ramp to help put large dogs in the tub. A cage with a portable dryer attached works well for drying dogs.
This room can also be used for washing equipment. Dog food and any other items that will not get wet or be stored under high humidity should not be kept in the washing and grooming area.
A 4'8" wide interior hallway is to be built. This size is wide enough for most activities, yet narrow enough to permit efficient handling of dogs.
The original design has ten 4 x 6 feet interior pens but it is to be extended to include and additional ten 4 x 6 feet pens and ten 6 x 6 feet pens. The larger pens provide more working room and are more adaptable to whelping and multiple housing than are the small pens. Inside this wing, 5-feet-4-inch-high partition walls of 4-inch concrete block with grouted tops are used. These are high enough to prevent an animal from climbing over into the next stall, but low enough so that common sources of heat, ventilation and light can be utilized.
A door that can be utilized by both caretaker and dog is positioned to one side of the inside pen outer wall and is directly in line with the pen door that leads to the center hall. This door arrangement gives the dog a resting place free from drafts. A wooden resting platform or whelping box is placed in the protected portion of each open.
As a constant water source, automatic watering cups attached to the wall are convenient. Water flows automatically when the water in a bowl drops below the desired level and shuts off when the bowl is full. To maintain any type of automatic watering system in a kennel, weather temperatures should be above freezing or the water lines/waterers protected in some manner.
Water kept in pails or bowls should be suspended from hooks in the walls. Or pails as well as bowls can be fitted into brackets.
When an inside pen is cleaned, the wooden resting platform or whelping box is removed so that the area can be washed. Water lines are suspended from the ceiling so pipes do not interfere with cleaning. The slope of the interior pens is to be ¼" per foot towards the outside wall to facilitate cleaning.
For ease of access to the outside pen, a gate is to be installed at the end of the run.
The exterior runs are 20 ft in length. Galvanized or aluminum 9-gauge chain-link fencing provides one of the most attractive, long-lasting and relative non-climbable enclosures. Six foot high fencing is an adequate height to prevent almost any dog from escaping. The original design has the walls between the pens chain link fencing, however this is to be changed. There is to be 4' high solid walls between pens both inside and out. This minimizes the possibility of transmitting diseases from one pen to another. The preferred material is 4" concrete block.
The run floors are concrete and they slope downwards at a slope of ½" per foot for easy cleaning. At the end of each run there is a 6 foot fence and outside the fence is a drainage trough that leads to the lagoon.
Gates and Guard Fence
Beyond the trough a 36-inch buffer zone of crushed limestone surrounding kennel runs to minimize the growth of vegetation to help prevent insects and rodents from nesting close to the kennel.
guard fence will be put around the perimeter of the outside runs. This fence should be 6- to 8-feet away from the end of the outside runs. The primary purpose of a guard fence is to prevent people and stray animals from coming in contact with the kennel dogs and to prevent a dog that may have gotten out of the kennel run gate from escaping. Gravel is spread between the end of the limestone and the guard fence for easy maintenance.