So, you have built or bought your dog run and now you are trying to figure out exactly what is the best dog run flooring option. There are many different options available, with some requiring much more work and more upkeep than others. Your choice will probably depend on how much time and money you have to invest. Having raised dogs for over thirty years, I have to admit that I do have some favorites that I tend to use over and again. One of my top picks is dog kennel decking as it raises the dog up off the ground, it is comfortable for your pet and it is very easy to install and clean.
Dog Run Flooring Options – In Order of Preference
Kennel Decking: This is very similar to regular decking that you would use on your patio. It is made from sturdy plastic, available in a variety of different colors and thicknesses and comes in easy to handle size pieces. (Click for More on Kennel Decking)
Cement Flooring: Cement run flooring is certainly very strong and durable; definitely more ideal for a more permanent dog run than for a temporary run or for using if you rent. Cement is porous though, and dog urine will seep into the cement and cause it to smell unsavory after a time. You can buy sealants that work quite well and if you do lay cement I would advise also adding that onto the cost when budgeting for your kennel flooring. Some dogs, particularly older dogs, may find the cement is uncomfortable. It is also cold during winter which can likewise cause discomfort for your pet.
High Density Rubber Matting: Another very comfortable option that is easy to maintain and lay. One caution, however–if your dog loves to chew (like my Retriever does) I would not recommend this particular flooring. It is also not as durable as other options and over time dog claws and teeth will take their toll on it. It may be best for a short term solution, or to use in runs that are only used on a temporary basis from time to time.
Pea Gravel: Not so easy to keep clean so be prepared to work fairly hard when it comes time to clean the dog run — or be prepared to replace or lay more pea gravel down fairly often. Spraying with a Clorox solution helps to keep the odors at bay. It is not recommended in runs if you have puppies as they love to chew on it and unfortunately it can cause severe health problems if ingested. The same would apply if your more mature dog is still a ‘chewer’.
Grass Runs: Opting to not lay any flooring is another option, but not one that I would recommend. Especially if your run gets extended use, the grass will be worn away and you will be left with dirt in its place. One rainy day will turn your run into a mud-pit — your dog may enjoy rolling around in the mud, but I am fairly certain you will not enjoy the resultant mess.
Purchasing Dog Run Flooring
Both cement and pea gravel are readily available and easy to find. You may want to shop around for a good sealant however, if you opt for cement. There are many different sealants available so look for one that specifies that it is good to use in dog pens.
Both high density rubber matting and kennel decking can be found in some pet stores or online. They are fairly lightweight so even if you need to get it shipped to you from a distance you should not have to add more onto the overall cost.
Planning Your Dog Run
If you are thinking about using kennel decking you might find it helpful to purchase the decking before you set up your run or at least check out the sizes that are available. It is much easier to build a run around decking or to the size of the decking you will be using than it is to find the right sized decking afterwards.
Rubber matting, on the other hand, can usually be easily cut down to size if necessary.