Building Dog Kennels & Runs

A separate run keeps the rest of your yard free of dog waste.
dog image by Marcin Wyłuda from

Not all dogs live in a house or have free run of the yard. Whether you have a commercial dog breeding or boarding operation, a hunting pack or just want some separate space for Fido, you need to build the right kennel or dog run for your property and needs. Before beginning construction, check with the local zoning office for regulations regarding such structures and setbacks in your municipality, as well as any necessary permits.


Before building your kennel, work carefully to site the structure. Avoid drafty or windy areas and those without shade or screening, while taking note of drainage. Depending on the type and number of dogs, kennels can range from oversize doghouses to structures the size of backyard sheds or larger. Paint any wooden surfaces with nontoxic paint for your dog's safety. Paint the kennel a light color to avoid heat absorption in hot weather.


The right type of flooring for your kennel or run provides the dog with comfort and hygiene. Avoid wood flooring, as it is hard to clean and deteriorates easily, and dogs tend to chew on it. Concrete is a common, economical choice and relatively easy to clean and maintain. If you use concrete for the run floor, slope it it drains well after hosing it down. Gravel can also serve for run floors. While probably the easiest type of flooring to install, it requires more maintenance. Dogs often dig holes in gravel or create paths when running back and forth, so regular raking or filling is necessary. Droppings must be picked up frequently to avoid becoming embedded in the gravel.


Dog runs can be attached to kennels or consist of separate structures to keep the dog confined to a particular area of the yard. You can purchase dog runs at many pet-supply or hardware stores, with assembly relatively easy. The run should always have shade in hot weather, whether from trees or a canopy placed over it. If your dog spends a lot of time in the run, choose length over width for exercise purposes. As dogs tend to eliminate as far as possible from their "den," or wherever they sleep, as well as food and water areas, a long run allows further distance to separate these functions. This means Fido is less likely to greet you after having run through a mess.

Ease of Maintenance

Whatever type of kennel or run you build, ease of maintenance is an important factor. Stainless steel food and water bowls serves a dual purpose: They are easy to clean, and dogs won't chew them. For dogs that might be left alone much of the time, install an automatic watering system so water is always available. If your dogs are in the kennel or run every day, you need to conduct a daily cleanup. For multiple dogs, you may need to install a sanitary disposal system available at pet stores, while a commercial kennel will need a septic system meeting local ordinances.


About the Author

Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.

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