The Best Flooring for Outdoor Dog Kennels (And How to Choose)

Introduction

Choosing the right flooring for an outdoor dog kennel is extremely important for the health, comfort, and wellbeing of dogs. The kennel floor impacts how dry and clean dogs can stay, as well as providing cushioning for their joints. Having proper flooring can prevent issues like pressure sores, calluses, abrasions, infections, parasites, and arthritis in dogs. It can also make cleaning and disinfecting the kennel area much easier.

Some key considerations when selecting outdoor kennel flooring are drainage, easy cleaning, insulation, durability, and comfort level. The flooring needs to stand up to potential digging or scratching from dogs, be weather-resistant, and provide insulation from the hot or cold ground. This article will overview the most popular options for outdoor kennel flooring and the pros and cons of each type.

Concrete

Concrete floors offer both benefits and drawbacks for outdoor dog kennels. On the plus side, concrete is highly durable, scratch-resistant, and easy to clean (Source). The smooth, sealed surface won’t harbor bacteria or absorb urine and other messes like carpeting or dirt floors. Concrete’s hard surface is comfortable for dogs to lay and play on. It provides good traction, and won’t get muddy like soil.

However, plain concrete can be cold, hard, and unforgiving on dogs’ joints and paws (Source). It needs to be properly sealed and potentially topped with a cushioning mat or turf to make it more comfortable. Concrete is also prone to cracking over time, requiring repairs. And light colored concrete can potentially get hot in direct sunlight, so shade, ventilation, or coatings should be considered.

When installing a concrete floor for a dog kennel, it’s important to ensure it is poured thick enough to resist cracking, with appropriate control joints. A commercial grade sealer is highly recommended to protect the concrete from moisture, stains, odors, and make it easier to clean. Acid-staining or coloring the concrete can give it an attractive, finished appearance. Non-slip additives can provide extra traction. And topping it with rubber matting, artificial turf, or wooden decking can provide comfort without sacrificing the benefits of a concrete base.

applying a commercial grade concrete sealer to protect the floor from moisture and stains.

Dirt/Gravel

Dirt or gravel floors are a popular choice for outdoor dog kennels because they are inexpensive and provide decent drainage. Some of the pros of using a dirt or gravel floor include:

  • Very affordable option
  • Allows liquids to drain through which reduces odor and bacteria
  • Natural surface may be more comfortable for some dogs
  • Easy to install by simply leveling the ground and adding gravel

Some of the downsides to dirt or gravel include:

  • Can turn to mud if drainage is not properly maintained
  • May need to be shoveled/raked frequently to remove waste and debris
  • Dogs may track more dirt inside the house
  • Not as durable or easy to clean as concrete or other surfaces

Proper drainage is crucial for a dirt or gravel kennel floor. The ground should be graded with a slight slope so liquid can run off. Adding a layer of gravel over the dirt improves drainage. Large gravel rocks are best as they allow liquids to flow through the spaces between rocks. The gravel should be 4-6 inches deep. Periodically raking and replacing the gravel will help maintain good drainage over time. Some owners also find adding sand under the gravel further improves drainage.

grading and adding layers of gravel and sand to allow drainage through a dirt kennel floor.

While dirt and gravel kennel floors have benefits like affordability, they require more maintenance than concrete or other surfaces. Proper installation and maintaining drainage are key to avoiding issues with mud or standing water.

Grass

Using natural grass for an outdoor dog kennel flooring has some pros and cons. On the plus side, grass provides a soft, natural surface that is gentle on dogs’ paws and joints. It’s also a familiar surface for dogs since most are used to being outdoors on grass. The natural drainage of grass helps prevent puddles or standing water in the kennel area after rain. Grass tends to soak up dog urine well and helps neutralize the ammonia in it as it breaks down in the soil. This helps keep down unpleasant odors in the kennel. On the negative side, grass requires regular maintenance like mowing, aerating, fertilizing, and weed control. Grass can also wear down over time from dog traffic and may develop muddy bare spots. During droughts or cold weather, grass may die off or go dormant. Heavy dog use will eventually kill grass off completely, requiring resodding or reseeding the area. Natural grass requires adequate sunlight and drainage to thrive. Dogs may also track grass and dirt into indoor areas.

Artificial Grass/Turf

Artificial grass or turf has become a popular flooring choice for outdoor dog kennels in recent years. Some key pros of using artificial grass include:

– It provides a natural looking, green surface that is comfortable for dogs to walk, run, and lay on. Artificial turf is designed to mimic the look and feel of real grass.

– The turf allows liquid to drain through, keeping the surface drier than real grass. Urine flows through the turf instead of pooling on top.

artificial turf allowing liquid to drain through the backing to keep surface dry.

– It doesn’t require regular mowing, watering, fertilizing or other maintenance like real grass. Artificial turf is very low maintenance.

– The turf stands up well to heavy dog traffic and digging. It won’t get muddy or worn down in sections.

– Artificial grass lasts many years, providing a durable surface. It won’t need to be re-sodded periodically.

Some downsides to consider include:

– The initial cost is higher than some other kennel flooring options like gravel or dirt.

– While low maintenance, some cleaning is required. The turf needs occasional hosing down and cleaning to prevent odor buildup.

– In very hot climates, the surface can get hot for dog paws unless well shaded. Turf is less temperature regulated than soil.

– Regular grooming is a must to prevent matted fur and grass blades getting stuck between paw pads.

Overall, artificial turf offers a natural looking, comfortable and durable flooring solution for outdoor dog kennels that is pet-friendly and low maintenance (cited from https://www.rubberflooringinc.com/artificial-grass/k9-turf.html). It does require an initial investment and occasional cleaning, but can withstand heavy dog use for years.

Rubber Mats

Rubber mats are a popular choice for outdoor dog kennel flooring. Some of the pros of using rubber mats include:

Some downsides of rubber mats include:

  • Rubber can get slippery when wet.
  • Rubber odors may bother some dogs.
  • Chewing and scratching can damage the mats.

Overall, rubber mats provide a durable, easy to clean flooring option for outdoor dog kennels. Proper cleaning and sanitizing is key for health.

Wood/Composite

Wood and composite flooring materials are popular options for outdoor dog kennels due to their durability and aesthetic appeal. Some key considerations when using wood or composite floors include:

Pros:

  • Wood provides a natural look that blends into outdoor environments
  • Composite wood is very durable and weather-resistant
  • Raised wood floors allow airflow and keep dogs up off the ground
  • Wood is warmer and more comfortable than concrete or dirt

Cons:

  • Wood can rot or warp if exposed to excessive moisture
  • Composite is more expensive than other flooring options
  • Wood requires staining/sealing to protect from elements
  • Not as easy to clean and sanitize as concrete or artificial turf

In terms of maintenance, wood and composite floors need to be regularly checked for damage or deterioration. Applying stains and sealants annually can protect the wood and extend its lifespan. Keeping the kennel clean and dry will also prevent warping or mold growth on wooden floors. Overall, wood provides an attractive and functional kennel flooring solution when properly maintained.

Sources:
https://lakesideproducts.com/double-l-kennel-flooring-overlapping-6-pack/
https://k9-kennelstore.com/4-x-6-raised-kennel-flooring.html

Other Options

Besides the main flooring types already discussed, there are a few other viable options for outdoor dog kennel floors that each have their own pros and cons.

Recycled rubber mats or poured rubber is an increasingly popular choice, as it provides good traction and is comfortable for dogs to stand on. However, rubber can be prone to retaining odors over time. See this source for more on rubber flooring.

Poured epoxy or polyurea coatings are also sometimes used as they form a seamless and durable surface that is easy to clean. But these options can be slippery when wet and are on the pricier side. Check out this overview of epoxy floor coatings.

Other less common choices include brick, tile, packed earth, pea gravel, and mulch. Each material has unique advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, durability, traction, and ease of cleaning that should be evaluated.

Choosing the Best Option

When selecting the best flooring for an outdoor dog kennel, there are several factors to consider:

Climate – In cold climates, heated flooring like concrete or wood may be best. In hot climates, a cooling floor like dirt or artificial grass works well. Concrete withstands rain and snow. Wood needs to be sealed.1

considering climate factors like rain, snow, heat when selecting durable kennel floor.

Budget – Concrete is the most expensive while dirt is the cheapest. Composite wood and rubber mats are middle-range options.2

Drainage – Dirt, gravel, and grass allow liquid to drain while concrete, wood, and rubber mats require drainage systems.

Cleaning – Artificial grass, rubber mats, concrete and wood are easier to clean and sanitize than dirt or gravel.

Comfort – Dirt, grass, and rubber provide more cushioning for dogs’ joints than hard surfaces like concrete.

Aesthetics – Grass and artificial turf create a natural look. Concrete can be stamped or colored for visual appeal.

For most climates and budgets, rubber mat flooring provides the best combination of affordability, drainage, comfort, and easy cleaning. Be sure to choose a commercial-grade thick rubber mat made specifically for kennels. For cold climates, install radiant heat under the mats.3

Conclusion

When choosing the flooring for an outdoor dog kennel, there are many options to consider such as concrete, gravel, natural grass, artificial turf, rubber mats, wood/composite, and more. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of durability, comfort, drainage, ease of cleaning, cost, and aesthetics.

Having the right kennel floor is important for your dog’s health and wellbeing. Proper flooring provides insulation from the ground, traction for walking, drainage, and is easy to clean and sanitize. The best kennel flooring is durable, comfortable, weather-resistant, and safe for your specific climate and breed of dog.

By understanding the pros and cons of each type of outdoor kennel flooring, you can select the ideal solution for your needs and budget. The flooring you choose should withstand your local weather conditions, be comfortable on your dog’s joints, paws and body, and make kennel maintenance as convenient as possible for you.

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