The Best Way to Clean A Commercial Kennel
Having spent the last 10 years visiting kennels I’ve had lots of discussions with kennel owners about the best way to clean a commercial kennel and I thought I’d share this with you.
Firstly and perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind is that the cleaner the kennel, the safer you’re kennel will be, and the fewer issues you have with unwell dogs.
Cleaning kennels is an essential daily chore but if you get a good routine going your dogs will benefit from this and your customers will love you for this.
If you ask any customer to go into a commercial kennel the first thing they notice is the smell, this will within the first few seconds determine their first impression of you. A kennel that smells is the quickest way to lose customers so make this your first and most important goal. How do you get a kennel to smell sweet and pleasant?
Unfortunately for some clients they stand little or close to zero chance of achieving this as they made the mistake when having the kennel built. If your concrete base of the kennel was mixed wrong, with the incorrect additives and also if it wasn’t power-floated then you have a serious problem.
It doesn’t really matter how good your kennel is, or how clean it is if it smells customers just won’t want to leave their dogs in it.
If you get your concrete base wrong there are ways to remedy it which we will cover in another future article or we can discuss with you direct, but let’s assume that your base is okay for now.
Cleaning a kennel is done in two distinct stages, cleaning and disinfecting both are equally important. The first step to clean is to remove all the dogs accessories, bedding, raised beds, food and water bowls out and get ready to clean them. It’s a good idea to plunge them where possible in a disinfectant which is working on them whilst you deal with the main kennel block.
Then we would suggest you opening all the ventilation points of the kennel, adjustable vents, windows etc to really let the air to circulate, obviously this is easier on some days than others but it will also help to naturally dry.
Cleaning is the first step so picking up solids and faeces and loose hair that you can, the more you can collect now the better. Then we recommend that you give your kennels a light mop with hot water which will start to loosen any encrusted organic matter.
Many kennels up and down the country believe that by power washing a kennel this will clean a kennel but really it is difficult to do especially in the confinement of a small sleeping area. This type of kennel cleaning wastes huge amounts of water and won’t get your kennel as clean.
Once you have cleaned the kennel you need to mix some disinfectant to the correct ratio that the manufacturer recommends but make sure that this is an animal safe with no chemicals that can cause dogs irritation.
Ideally this shouldn’t have ammonia present as this can leave a very unsavoury odour which will linger. So it needs to be pet friendly, great at killing viruses, bacteria and microscopic organisms. The key is to do your research before deciding which one is best for you.
The last thing you want in a kennel is kennel cough or parvo so by following a daily routine you can dramatically reduce your chance of getting something like this.
If you do come across a dog that is unwell then train your staff to immediately isolate this dog and remove it to a quarantine kennel as fast as possible. The last thing you need is a spread of something contagious.
Once you have your disinfectant check the dwell time on the label as these products are designed to be left on the surface as they have active ingredients that are continually working to kill germs.
So with a bucket and sponge work from the ceilings first down to the walls from top to bottom, not forgetting to do your kennel doors and sliding hatches if you have any. Its important that you leave a layer of this product on the kennel surface for this to work. Please remember this is not harmful to dogs if you have chosen correctly.
The floor then needs mopping with your dilute disinfectant and this needs to be done in a workflow that follows a strict routine.
In a central corridor kennels you should always work from the central area into your sleeping areas and out through your runs. Never clean along the central area of a commercial kennel as you run the risk of cross contamination so the direction of cleaning is paramount. If you clean along a high traffic area you are increasing your risk of spreading germs.
Once the floor has been cleaned leave to dry naturally before reintroducing the dogs. Make sure your bowls and toys etc have been rinsed thoroughly before putting them back.
Once a week we recommend that you check your drain filters and remove any hair that builds up and also every other week you should lift your Aco drain covers and put in a bath of disinfectant to soak. Above all else make sure your kennel smells nice, sometimes people become oblivious to smells particularly if they are constantly working in that environment. So always ask a customer if they think it smells fresh or not and act on the feedback.
A final check which needs to be done monthly is to get up and inspect any guttering to ensure these are clear and you don’t have a build-up of leaves, particularly between September through to December. Blocked drains over long periods can cause gutters to overflow and can cause damp and leaks within the commercial kennel structure.
We hope you have found this useful and that you share it with all your doggy friends, if you would like to know anything about kennel bases or cleaning then we would love to hear from you.