One of the most lucrative businesses to get into right now is the pet care industry. In Ireland alone, there are over 450,000 dogs. By offering services that can house and pamper pets while their owners are away on holidays, you’re able to give your clients the peace of mind knowing that an expert is caring for their pup.
The primary focus of this article is how to outfit a commercial kennel. If you’re considering starting a dog care business, there are a lot of other business considerations that you should consider before starting. Some of these include finding a facility, hiring employees, figuring out how to price your services, and discovering which services you will offer. These are all significant considerations, but one of the most important things that you will need to consider is how can you create an enjoyable stay for all the animals you take care of. By adding comfortable flooring, providing a space for dogs to run and play, and maintaining an agreeable room temperature, you can create a space that the dogs will love.
Let’s talk about the facility
Commercial dog kennels focus on three different areas: cages, dog runs, and large communal play areas where dogs can gain social skills. Each of these different areas has unique considerations, like heating, drainage, flooring, and space. Let’s examine the different facilities that you’ll need at your kennel, with tips and tricks on how to optimise the space that you’re using.
Creating a comfortable cage area
If you’re getting into any sort of commercial business, you will need to set up rows of cages to house different dogs. It’s important to provide each dog with their own space, as this allows them to rest with no worry of being interrupted by another dog. Invest in some good quality wire cages, ones that cannot be chewed through, and you won’t have to deal with the frustration that comes with a breakout. Also, if you are housing large breed dogs, like bull mastiff’s and St. Bernard’s, you’ll need to get some heavy-duty cages, as these animals are prone to tearing inadequate cages to shreds.
Each cage will need its own flooring mats for each animal. Both foam mats and rubber mats are great to use for the dogs in your care, as the mats are comfortable, easy-to-clean, and waterproof. Foam is by far the most comfortable option for animals. Foam provides cushioning for dogs, yet also conforms to the shape of any animal which lies on it. It can also reach zero, and spring back to its original size.
There are two issues that you may come across with foam mats in a dog kennel: they’re harder to clean and they are more prone to gouges and tears. When compared to rubber mats, foam mats are more difficult to clean dirt, faeces, and debris off of.
Rubber is also another great flooring material to use in a dog kennel, as it is durable. Rubber mats are also considered antifatigue flooring, and each mat can absorb the impact from animals. One of the major selling features of rubber mats is that they are easy to sweep and clean, and a good pressure washer can make quick work of any stains on the mats. One tip: flip your mats over and you’ll notice that there are drainage furrows on the bottom. Consider placing the mats upside down, as the bottom side is easier to clean because the drainage furrows allow water and urine to be transported away from the animals.
The only downside of rubber mats is that they’re not as soft as foam mats. Foam mats can cushion and provide a softer place for the dogs to lay. However, both foam and rubber mats are great insulators from the cold, and work really well when placed on concrete floors. So you can’t go wrong with either type of mat when you are setting up the cages in your dog kennel.
Best Rubber Mats to Use:
- 20 MM DOG BONE RUBBER JIGSAW TILES 1.1M X 1.1M (Dogs will love this dog bone shaped mat!)
- 17MM 1.83M (6FT) X 1.22M (4FT) AMEOBIC RUBBER STABLE MATS
Best Foam Mats to Use:
Heating and Air-conditioning
One major consideration you should keep in mind if you are starting a commercial kennel is the heating and air conditioning needs of the dog pen. If you are keeping animals overnight and providing a service for their owners, you will need to make sure that the facility that you use maintains a level of comfort for the animals in your care.
Monitor the temperature of the place where you’re housing the dogs. Does it ever dip below 7°C in that room? You should know that some small dogs, dogs with thin coats, older dogs, and sick dogs may have a difficult time staying in temperatures that low.
Alternatively, in the warm summer months, some dogs may have a hard time dealing with the heat and humidity. Try your best to keep the facility at a moderate room temperature, not going above 25°C. This will mitigate any issues caused by warm temperatures.
Burn off some energy with a dog run
If you’ve ever been with a dog that has been cooped up inside, you know that dogs need to release the pent up energy that they have inside of them. Every dog that I’ve ever met has been a boundless, untamable ball of energy, ready to play fetch over and over and over again, until you feel like your arm is about to fall off. As a pet care professional, one of your duties is to help them rid themselves of that extra energy. Dog runs can be one of the best ways to let the pups in your care get outside and run about.
Dimensions of a dog run
Most dog runs are relatively narrow, as they are primarily used as an exercise area for one dog at a time. If you have the space, consider making two separate lanes, so that two dogs can use the dog run at the same time. Dog runs are different from communal play areas, in that a dog is primarily trying to get a bit of exercise out, and isn’t focusing on a social type of play with other animals.
Dog runs are usually sized to specific animals, but with a commercial kennel you need to consider a one-size-fits-all approach. A dog run should be at least 4 feet (1.2m) wide and 10 feet (3m) long1. But if your housing dogs that weigh over 100 pounds, consider adding extra room for them to run about.
You will have different flooring needs for an outdoor dog run, then you will for a pen which houses the animals. If you’re looking for flooring for a dog run, it needs to be durable, especially with the sharp nails of dogs digging into it. Rubber mats are great to use for your dog run. The very essence of rubber is toughness. Rubber mats are created from recycled rubber which has been heated and formed into a mould under enormous amounts of pressure. This allows rubber to be especially resilient against cuts, scratches, dents, and gouges.
Ideal Dog Run Flooring:
Base and drainage
There are many types of bases you can use for the dog run, from concrete to gravel, but what you should consider is having a proper drainage system in place for the base. If you have a concrete pad which can be used for a dog run, consider placing rubber mats down to add traction, whilst also allowing for proper drainage.
Another great base you can use for your dog run would be gravel, especially for an outdoor facility which doesn’t have a roof. Gravel is great to use for a dog run because water can easily seep through into the ground. You can also install foam or rubber mats on top of gravel, as long as you stamp down the gravel and make sure it is properly compacted. You don’t want any loose gravel, especially as dogs are sprinting around and playing on it.
Create a great communal space for tail-wagging, butt-sniffing fun for your pups
Dogs are pack animals that enjoy being social with other dogs. You need to have a specialised place in your kennel where dogs can run amok and get to know one another. This can be indoors or outdoors, but keep in mind that some dogs may not be able to handle extreme temperatures. One tip: during the onboarding process, when you are asking pet owners about the specific needs of their pets, be sure to ask whether their dog is social and able to play with other dogs. This will help prevent putting a dog into a situation that they don’t feel comfortable in, whilst also protecting the other animals in your care.
Taking care of our four-legged friends is a noble pursuit, and it’s also a great business to get into right now. As you brainstorm all the different things that you’ll need to make your business successful, don’t forget to think about how to properly outfit your kennel for the safety and comfort of the dogs in your care. And there is no better way to take care of them than by using anti-fatigue, high traction flooring.