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Dog Boarding Hygiene: Food, Toys, and More

By DoodyCalls

Cleaning may not be the easiest part of the pet boarding business, but it’s necessary to keep clients’ pets safe and healthy and to maintain a reputable business.

With more than a 4.5% increase in new kennels opening between 2022 and 2023, pet owners can be a little picky when deciding where to board their dogs. By developing and sticking to a regimented kennel cleaning protocol, boarders can easily retain their customers and gain more leads through recommendations.

Dog Kennel Cleaning Protocol & Steps

If you run a dog kennel, you know that dogs don’t fear dirt. They love to romp and play in the yard, tussle with a buddy, and roll around for fun. Kennel cleaning should happen daily to prevent sicknesses. Deep cleaning should occur once a week to once a month, depending on how busy the kennel is and the number of doggy guests.

Use this dog boarding kennel cleaning checklist for thorough disinfection:

  1. Move all animals to the yard or a separate indoor space where they won’t get too dirty.
  2. Remove loose items such as food and water bowls, toys, beds, etc.
  3. Remove waste and sweep up thoroughly to remove most of the dirt, fur, and dust.
  4. Using a high-pressure power washer, spray down the kennel to remove stuck-on grime. If there’s still dirt clinging, try pouring some boiling water on the spot to loosen it, and then hit it with the power washer again.
  5. Apply a cleaning solution that qualifies as a “pet disinfectant” and does not contain bleach. Your chosen product may be foam or liquid. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.
  6. Scrub the kennel down with a stiff bristle brush or a mesh bristle pad. Scrub the cleaning solution into all surfaces, including the walls, ceilings, floors, and doors.
  7. Let the cleaner soak for the appropriate amount of time. Usually, the more time you give it, the better, but make sure it’s soaking for at least 10 minutes.
  8. Repeat these steps for each kennel in your facility, and don’t forget to clean the walkways.
  9. Rinse all surfaces with water. Take your hose and work your way from the tops of the walls down to the floor on each side. Close the kennel doors and rinse off exterior surfaces too. Finish by rinsing the walkway.
  10. Use a squeegee to remove excess water. Slowly pull the water from the edges of the floor to the drain or slope, and repeat this for each kennel.
  11. Let each kennel air-dry (about 30 minutes).
  12. Clean loose items, such as food and water bowls, beds, and toys before placing them back in the clean kennel.

Now your kennel is ready for its next guest!

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Dog Kennel Cleaning Duties

Daily Cleaning Checklist:

  • Pick up large debris from the floor.
  • Scoop out all animal waste or obvious dirt.
  • Check that the bedding is clean.
  • Wash out food and water bowls with warm water and mild disinfecting soap.

Weekly Cleaning Checklist:

  • Sanitize the kennel with a product that’s been proven to work against parvovirus.
  • Remove toys and clean them. (Check out how below.)
  • Wash bedding and towels.

Monthly Cleaning Checklist:

  • Scrub all walls, ceilings, and floors with a disinfecting cleaning solution, following the steps mentioned above.
  • Rinse the kennel until the smell of the disinfectant diminishes.
  • Let the kennels dry, and replace everything that was removed to clean it.

How to Ensure Kennel-Safe Dog Toys

The best way to clean a dog toy depends on the type of toy it is.

Rubber, plastic, and nylon toys should be hand-washed in a large sink with warm water and antibacterial soap. A toothbrush can get all the gunk out of the crevices. For messy toys, some kennels may even use a wash made of one part vinegar and two parts water.

Rope toys that are only rope and don’t include plastic or metal parts can be tossed in the washing machine and machine-dried on low. To disinfect, soak the rope toys in water, getting them fully saturated. Wring out any excess water and put them in the microwave for two minutes at full power. If they’re still damp after their time in the microwave, toss them in the dryer on low or set them out in the sun to finish drying.

Stuffed animals (with and without squeakers) are best dealt with in the washing machine. Dry them according to the care instructions on the tags.

Cleaning Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor spaces must be picked up too. With many dog guests running around, there can seem like an endless supply of poop to take care of. But it’s essential to do a poop pickup at least once daily to prevent pest infestations and other health issues for your client’s animals.

Dog poop pickup in a boarding facility can seem tedious, but if you have the right tools, you can make it an efficient process. Try a pail and rake tool so you don’t have to bend over to pick up each dropping. Also, consider installing a pet waste station or a septic tank to hold large amounts of waste; these can be huge time-savers.

If your sidewalks or other areas still stink of poo, even after you’ve thoroughly picked them up, it may be time for a yard deodorization service.

Dog Food Hygiene

To keep your guests’ food clean, store it in a clean and dry area. If available, this area should be away from where the dog kennels are but not too far. A short distance reduces the chances that your dog guests will break into the food for a sneaky snack.

Because pests can also be attracted to the smell of dog food, it’s best to ask your clients to bring their dog’s food in airtight containers. Never leave an open bag sitting around. That’s a great way to end up with contaminated food and not realize it until one of the pets you’re responsible for gets sick.

Also, be sure that each kennel is provided with a clean water supply each day.

How to Choose a Dog Boarding Facility You and Your Dog Will Love

Are you here because you’re a dog owner choosing a kennel? The most surefire way to pick a trustworthy boarding kennel is to schedule a tour of the facility. Physical tours allow you to examine the place in person, get to know the staff, and see firsthand how they interact with animals in their care.

Here are some signs of a good dog kennel:

  • Homey feel – The building should have an air of home. Some things to look for are tile floors, painted walls, raised dog beds, and sometimes a television or radio playing in the background.
  • Neat and tidy – This is a top priority. As you’re walking around, look at the floors. Are they clean and free of hair clumps, dirt, bits of food, and (of course) poop? Pleasant smells can also be an indication of cleanliness.
  • Flooring for dogs – Floor drains and slightly sloped floors indicate that the kennel is of professional quality and built to accommodate dogs when accidents happen. Concrete floors are acceptable, but make sure you see comfortable, raised bedding on it. Hardwood and laminate are not great solutions for professional dog daycare spaces because they are porous.
  • Fresh water supply – Whether there are bowls or water dispensers, clean drinking water should always be easy to access. There shouldn’t be any floating food pieces in the water. This indicates that the water isn’t fresh and may not be changed regularly.
  • Lots of space – Dogs need to stretch out, run, and play. Housing too many dogs in too small of a space, especially when outdoor space is limited, can lead to aggressive and potentially dangerous behaviors.
  • Knowledgeable staff – A tour is the best way to note how the staff acts with current doggy clients and how knowledgeable they are when addressing problems. You may ask them questions about dog care to see how their knowledge stacks up. Another point to consider is the staff-to-dogs ratio in the boarding kennel. There should be at least one person per 15 dogs.
  • Backup power – Most professional boarding kennels have a backup generator in case of a power outage. This is important to make sure that the heating and cooling system continues to function, even if there’s no power.
  • Other equipment – Dog boarding kennels should provide plenty of ways for your pup to play. This can include play equipment outside, toys, stuffed animals, chews, safe bones, and more.

Signs of Bad Dog Boarding Kennels

Sadly, not all dog kennels are of equal quality, so it’s important to know what red flags to watch for. One deal breaker is the refusal to give a tour. If the dog kennel you’re looking at is reluctant or flat-out refuses to let you tour the facility, they are likely not the place for your pet.

Here are other poor-quality signs to watch for:

  • Pests, pest damage, or pest droppings
  • Signs of uncleanliness, like foul smells and messy floors
  • No pet vaccination requirements
  • Limited emergency plan documentation
  • No overnight staff
  • Untrained staff
  • Limited indoor or outdoor space
  • Inadequate containment or food and water access

Questions Dog Owners May Ask Potential Boarding Kennels

Are the Boarding Kennels Safe for Dogs?

Most boarding kennels are safe, but there are exceptions. Do your research, and don’t shy away from asking hard questions. Kennels are a convenient option when you’re headed out of town, but you also must test to see if your dog is comfortable with being housed at a kennel.

How Do Professional Dog Kennels Handle Dog Food?

Most kennels will request that you bring dog food from home for the duration of your pet’s stay. This is mainly due to each dog eating different types of food. Make sure you put your dog’s food in an airtight container to limit exposure and potential pest contamination.

What Do Dog Kennels Do with All the Poop?

As an environmental hazard, dog poop must be picked up and removed from the property regularly. Many dog kennel poop disposal plans include a designated garbage can for specific areas of the facility. Some boarding kennels may also store the waste on the property in a septic tank or other registered waste collection receptacle. Some boarders regularly get dog poop pickup services from experts like DoodyCalls.

Do Rats Eat Dog Poop?

Yes, dog waste can be a food source for rats, especially in urban areas. If poop pickup isn’t prioritized, it can attract mice and rats.

Finding New Ways to Keep Your Kennel Clean

If you’re a dog kennel owner looking to impress your clients with high cleaning standards, DoodyCalls is here to help. We offer commercial and residential dog poop pickup and deodorization services that can be customized to fit your needs. Contact us today for more details at (888) 659-6558 [OUW6] or request a free quote online.