In our area, rabies inoculations are not just the law. With rabid wild animals seen in the county with fair frequency, we are very diligent about this. In addition, we use heartworm preventive monthly for each dog, calculated to the weight of each and veterinarian ordered. We have annual distemper hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus shots done annually, usually by me, until the vet believes that they no longer need to be done annually. (Our vet does them every three years once a dog has attained a certain age) We are considering Lyme immunizations which are now available for dogs. We also had one dog treated a year ago for acute onset Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. The dog is fine now.
We have a variety of different dogs for different purposes, large, small, with different skills, because they each do different work for us. When they age beyond their jobs, they are cared for lovingly here for the rest of their lives. They are also all licensed as a kennel as is the law in our region.
Proper housing is essential for all dogs. Since our dogs are working dogs, and we live in a hot climate, what works for us may not be ideal for a colder climate. Each farm or rural home needs to evaluate what would work best. Until a few years ago, we kept quality doghouses outside in a variety of "stations" around the farm, making sure there was always tree shade. The dogs were assigned and often tied to those areas for a few days, and then they would rotate to another duty station. Sometimes they would be assigned to a region where tying was unnecessary. This is done not only to provide mental stimulation for each dog, but to rotate them in slightly different roles, as different dogs and different breeds have varying skills.
About two years ago, we decided we needed a place which could be heated or air conditioned and managed for elderly or sick dogs, including a quarantine area. This also serves as a great area for dogs to rest in extreme heat, or following neutering or spaying, or during icestorms or other severe weather. We drew up a plan over a couple of months, and had our builder create a kennel. It also has electricity and water. This permits bathing, and also running a radio or music from time to time, which during storms can be quite calming to dogs or to other animals. The back left room has plexiglass walls over wood, so an animal can be quarantined and the area can be cleaned with veterinary germicides afterward. This way, an infection that afflicts one dog, need not impact others.
|(Photo: Copyright Rational Preparedness 2012)|
This is our kennel when it was built. It is designed for seven dogs. Three large ones are housed on the right, and five small or medium are housed on the left. There are interior concrete areas inside and grassed areas within the fenced areas. The center hall in concrete and provides electricity and a water faucet which can be attached to a hose. There is also a room to the right, see front, where new metal trash cans keep dry dog food from mice. The building is electrified and has overhead lighting. For this climate, the entire structure is well ventilated, and in the back there are doors which could also be opened to allow cross ventilation. This would be boring for a dog to remain in all the time, so they must be rotated to work stations in order to watch other animals and interact with our family.
|This might be where one of our dogs may be, when he is "out working"|
|This is a spacious kennel designed for many dogs. Note the painted floor which makes the cleaning of urine and disinfecting much easier than with a plain concrete floor.|
|This is another kennel which would nicely accomodate four dogs or slightly more smaller dogs.|
|The interior of the kennel above.|
|This is another nicely constructed kennel made for someone's boarding operation.|
|This kennel accomodates three large dogs.|
We custom designed our kennels and had them built by the same company that builds our barns and animal buildings. We were seeking a building which closely resembled the look of our different types of animal structures. However, this is not necessary. There are many companies which sell complete plans for kennels which you can buy and build yourself, or that you can provide to your own builder.
These are a few of them:
Keep in mind, costs can be dramatically curbed by building these structures yourself, or by being creative.