If you have been toying with the idea of building your dog/dogs a nice kennel outside then you may want to think about a few options before starting out. One of the most important considerations when building a dog kennel is the material you use for flooring. Of course there will be many other things to think about such as the type of shelter you are going to provide from the elements and things of this nature but the floor is very important as this is what your dog will be sitting, lying and standing on all the time. Some of the following suggestions may help you to choose one that fits your needs as well as your budget.
Obviously the cheapest flooring you can use is the dirt that is already in your yard. This is fine but there are some things to keep in mind. Dirt will quickly turn into mud when it rains and this will leave your pooch sitting in a mud puddle. Doesn’t sound very comfortable does it? If dirt is the only way you can afford to go then at least think about building a raised area that the dog can climb up on and lay down on. You can do this quite easily with a little bit of wood, a hammer and some nails. Staple a nice piece of rubber matting to the top of your platform and make sure it is in the shade and your dog will be very grateful for your effort.
If you have the means then concrete is the best option for flooring as it is easily cleaned off and will not turn muddy or messy when it rains. If your budget allows you then you can even have a company come and pour the slab for you so that all you have to do is build your kennel around the existing slab. If you want to save a little bit of money then you can easily pour your own concrete. You would want to build a border from wood first and then mix as many bags of concrete as it will take to fill in your area. This information can be found at your local home improvement store and they are usually happy to help.
Rubber Mat Flooring
You have probably seen this type of flooring at your school gym or even at a fitness club you frequent. This is a wonderful flooring option for dogs as it is also cleaned easily. The only problem with this type of flooring is that large breeds that have a tendency toward destructive behavior may begin chewing up the floor in the kennel. This type of flooring is suggested for dogs that do not have a habit of destroying everything that gets within their reach.
Some people use garden pavers for dog kennel flooring. These can usually be purchased for less than a dollar a square foot and really do make excellent floors for kennels. One of the cons in these is that after a period of time they can settle in a way that is not uniform, making the kennel floor seem crooked. Another problem with concrete pavers is that weeds tend to sprout up between them. These are however just as easy to hose down as a solid concrete slab so if this is the way you choose to go then you will be just fine in terms of keeping your dog’s kennel sanitary and clean.
Another free option in terms of flooring is the grass that is already located on your lawn. If you do not have a digger then this will work fine as flooring. Just remember that like dirt, grass also has a tendency to become flooded and muddy when it rains. If you do use grass you should also build a platform for your dog, so he can stay dry when it rains. Grass is also a bit of a problem if you live in an area that is prone to fleas. In addition, grass does not usually stay grass for long once you put a dog on it so keep in mind that you may start with grass and end with dirt.
Other Shelter Considerations
No matter what type of flooring you decide to use to build your dog kennel with always remember to build a proper roof so that your dog is protected from the rain and the sun. Dogs get sunburns and skin cancer just like people do so never leave your dog in the direct sunlight for extended periods of time. If you live in a cold climate then you need to consider having a dog house that is well insulated so that your dog will stay warm at night. You can put some pine straw in the dog house so that the dog has a way to keep warm. You will also want to be sure that your dog has a constant fresh water supply so that he will never become dehydrated. This is especially true if you live in a hot climate.
You should also consider how long your dog will be left in his kennel. If you are thinking about having a kennel for 24 hour use, think again. Domestic dogs generally like to be around people and if you are unable to provide your dog with at least several hours of attention then perhaps you would be best to re-home him than cage him up 24 hours a day. Remember that a kennel is never a good situation for a dog all of the time. Obviously if this is a temporary rescue situation then you may have no choice. A kennel is a great play area for a dog or a place to keep him when you are not home but try to remember that dogs need attention just like we do.