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Every hunter knows that owning a hunting dog is way more messy than owning any standard at-home pet. During hunting season, your dog is exposed to dirt, water, insects, etc. and all that's coming right back with them every time they step into their kennel.
There's quite a few hunting kennels out there whose design enables them to stay clean for lengthy amounts of time, but every hunter should take the time to clean your dog's kennel periodically. No matter how well-designed a kennel is or how clean your dog "looks", leaving a kennel uncleaned for extended amounts of time can be problematic.
I'm going to share a few helpful tips that I use to clean my own hunting dog kennels both before and after the season. I not only want my dogs to have a clean kennel for purposes of comfort, but I also want to ensure there's nothing in the kennel that might negatively impact the health of the dog - more information on that below.
Of course, these cleaning instructions are going to be largely focused on travel/hunting style kennels - similar to those outlined in our Best Hunting Dog Kennels summary. However, these same steps can be used to clean your static, at-home kennels too.
These simple steps will you help efficiently clean your hunting dog's kennel in no time:
1. Remove the dog from the kennel, as well as the general area as chemicals will be used to clean.
2. Remove any kennel blankets and mats. (Scroll down to read more on what should be down with these items)
3. Remove any dry debris from the kennel (e.g. dirt, sticks, leaves, etc.).
4. Use hot water to spray both the inside and outside of the kennel.
5. After gathering disinfectant and cleaning materials, make sure to dilute them to prevent damage to the kennels. For additional dilution information, please check the manufacture's instruction or review this dilution chart.
6. Spray or wipe cleaning agents on both the inside and outside of the kennel. Be sure to not miss any nooks and crannies as these ares might hold harmful bacteria.
7. Scrub the kennel with a stiff-bristled brush.
8. Let the cleaning solutions sit for 5-10 minutes.
9. Spray the kennels with warm water again to remove any existence of the cleaning agents.
10. Be sure to wipe down the entire kennel with a dry cloth, and double check those nooks and crannies as you don't want water sitting in those areas.
11. Let the kennel air dry for an hour or so.
Before choosing what cleaning supplies to purchase to clean my own kennel, I decided to do a little research. While reviewing PALS tutorial, as well as this information from Alpha Tech Pet, I've decided to always choose a pet-specific cleaning solution, rather than going with something generic found in the household.
While figuring out what product to choose specifically, I use PALS' guidelines for additional help:
1. Cleaning disinfectants should always be used at the correct concentration.
2. Cleaning materials require a certain amount of contact time to be effective, i.e. Don't spray them on, then wipe them off immediately.
3. Cleaning agents should be applied to an already clean surface with no debris present.
4. Pet owners should not mix disinfectants and detergents as they pretty much cancel each other out.
It's no secret that diseases can transfer to dogs through various methods. By ensuring your dog's kennels is clean and outside influences such as fleas and ticks are removed, you put your hunting companion in the best possible position.
It's important to note that while cleaning helps prevents many diseases, things such as ringworm and internal parasite eggs require much stronger concentrations or excessive cleaning techniques.
1. Vectors (Fleas and ticks that carry and transmit a disease
2. Direct contact
3. Droplet (4-5 feet)
5. Fomites (Contaminated surfaces)
Yes, you should always take the time to clean your hunting dog's mats - especially if they are routinely exposed to water.
If you choose to use some sort of crate blanket, I would recommend first using the instructions above to clean the item, then placing it in a washing machine for added cleaning. However, if you use a more firm kennel mat, I would just stick to the same cleaning instructions outlined for your general kennel.
And yes, I know some of these mats are made out of very durable, odor odorproof, waterproof material, but they should still be cleaned in the same manner as any mat or kennel. Unfortunately, nothing is really immune to bacteria.
While the cleaning guide and additional information is essential for properly cleaning your hunting dog's kennels, I wanted to take the time to note a few more additional things to remember. Take a second to read over each of these, and use them as additional guardrails when completing this process.
1. Do Not use household cleaners - especially bleach.
2. Do Not let water sit in your kennel after cleaning.
3. Exposure to sunlight and drying destroys many infectious agents.
4. If you notice your kennel mat is molding, please discard the item and purchase something new for you dog.