Can I start off by saying how much I HATE my dog’s kennel run! Oh the fencing is good so I’m happy with that. I did like the roof that I had on it (actually a tarp type of roof) until a bad winter storm blew it to shreds last year. What I do hate is the type of flooring that it has. It’s just a dirt floor with shavings. Without doubt, it is the worse type to have. Rain and snow = mud! Lots of it! Mud when it rains, mud when the snow melts, mud when you disinfect it. For now where I live, this is the only alternative that I have. I can’t put a permanent run on the ground.
Don’t even consider using a dirt or grass run for your dog if they are a digger. They can dig a hole under the fence and out they go! Also the dirt run is a breeding ground for fleas, worms and other undesirable yuggies! (new word)!
I used to have cement in my dog runs which I loved. I didn’t have any problem with the dog’s feet cracking and bleeding as I’ve heard from some other breeders. We used a fine enough grain without making it slippery. It was great to pick up after the dogs and a breeze to keep clean. The only thing is you must make sure you have something for the dog to lie on that is elevated off the cold hard cement. Sometimes I have seen dogs get calluses on their elbows from laying on this type of surface for too long. If you decide to use a cement run, make sure that you have the run a little elevated at one end so when you hose it down, there is good drainage and run off. Some people will put a sealant on a cement run, but if you’re not careful about choosing the right one, this can make it slippery when wet.
Some breeders have told me that they use patio blocks for their dogs run and like the cement run, they are very easy to take care of and disinfect.
When having a dog run that is put on the ground, it’s advisable to have wood shavings to pick up their droppings more easily and to keep the grounds clean. But with shavings, you must pick them up daily as the urine seeps into them and they can become smelly if not removed. And again, when it rains, you’ve got a whole run full of wet, smelly wood shavings.
There are other types of flooring you can use for your dog run. There are molded UV resistant plastic platforms that you might consider. These are elevated flooring systems so your dog doesn’t have to lie on the ground which can be painful if he has arthritis. Some of these plastic platforms trap the heat in the winter and coolness in the summer with the under body air chambers of the platform. They come in modular sections so are easy to install. Integrated channels help direct dog waste away from the dog’s living area.
Another alternative is a pea gravel run. I’ve never used this myself so I don’t know how easy it is to pick up. Like the cement run, you would definitely need an elevated platform for the dog to lie on. Again, if you have a digger, then a gravel run might not be the best for your dog either. This is not the best type of flooring for puppies as puppies love to put everything in their mouths. If they eat too much of the gravel, it can block up their intestines. Older dogs can do the same thing. If you use a gravel run, you need to rake it to keep it level. It’s fairly easy to keep clean as the urine runs right through it.
There are also different types of instant kennel flooring you might consider. One type is synthetic, perforated kennel tiles which are said to be resistant to warping and other damage by strong sunlight. These tiles are sturdy, strong and available in different colors. Liquid drains right through the tiles, and they're hygienic and easy to clean.
Another type, called "Instant Kennel Floor" is a sheet of flooring that can be stretched across the ground, and pegged into place. It's cheap, easy to install and comfortable for the dogs. It's also very portable. The woven design also allows liquids to drain through. Both of these types of instant kennel flooring are best suited for the small run or area than a long or larger run.
Other hard surface options might include masonry pavers, wood, and tile. The main drawback to hard surfaces is joint strain and splaying of the toes and as I mentioned earlier calluses.
Deciding on which kennel flooring to use comes down to price, convenience and durability. The cheapest, but in this writers opinion the least desirable is the dirt run. The cement run is probably the most expensive, but in my opinion, I like this one the best although I haven’t tried any of the others that I mentioned. They just don’t seem as desirable to me as the cement run. It’s permanent, easy to clean and attractive to the eye.
My rating: cement: (4), dirt: (1), pea gravel (2), others…..don’t know enough about!