This section is from the book "Kennel Secrets: How To Breed, Exhibit And Manage Dogs", by Ashmont. Also available from Amazon: Kennel Secrets: How to Breed, Exhibit and Manage Dogs.
A sleeping-bench constructed in this way will greatly favor convenience, and the occupants can be easily prevented from carrying bones to their beds - a habit which is not only unpleasant but dangerous, for it has ended in death in consequence of intestinal stoppage caused by the straw swallowed during the gnawing.
This arrangement is ample for moderate weather, but as soon as winter sets in it will generally be necessary to provide a sleeping-box. One might be constructed over the bench, but it is cheaper and quite as well to use a large packing case. This well filled with bedding will furnish warm and cosey sleeping quarters. And economy and prudence suggest that it be burned in the spring or at once the occupant has infected it with mange, distemper or other contagious disease.
All that remains to complete the furnishings are a gate or screen door, to be hinged to the outer part of the doorframe, for use in hot weather, and a storm window for winter.
A kennel constructed on these lines costs much less than the average reader will assume - in fact thirty-five, or at the most forty, dollars ought to pay for the work and materials. It might be built for less and it might cost more - all depending of course on the one who provided the materials and the quality of work - but the largest sum stated should be ample for a well-constructed building.
But cost what it may it is the very simplest and least expensive kind of a kennel, and the man who cannot provide as good quarters as this ought not attempt to keep a dog. Certainly there is nothing fanciful about it; it comprises merely the absolute requisites, - dryness, air, sunshine and protection from cold; and if a puppy is denied either of these he will inevitably be weakly and stunted, if not worse, while under the same conditions a mature dog must as surely decline in health and vigor and become a frequent sufferer from disease.
There are yet a few points in connection with this little building to be disposed of before going farther into the subject of kennelling. It should be so situated that it will catch the sun in the early morning and hold it until late in the afternoon. And it should always be well ventilated, and the window and doors left open for the purpose of thorough airing while the tenant is taking his walks or scampers.
At the rear of the kennel there should be a clear space of not less than ten feet, to which the dog should have free access; and all the better if a portion of this has a roof over it.
For bedding in winter, straw, coarse hay, or thoroughly dried fallen leaves are the best materials for short-coated dogs, but for the long-coated they would scarcely do because they break up and hang to the coat. In which case a piece of carpeting or blanket can be used; and a bedding of this sort is preferable for collies and other dogs with long coats.
During warm weather, dogs generally are more comfortable without bedding, but if any is required long pine shavings for choice, because they are objectionable to fleas.
Whatever its nature the bedding should be clean always and replaced at least once a week in pleasant weather; while when foggy or rainy more frequent renewal will be absolutely necessary, for at such times it must soon become damp - in which state it is a grave menace to health.
Several times during the summer - the oftener the better - the entire inside of the kennel, not excepting the floors, should be treated to a thick coat of freshly prepared whitewash, the same being forced into every crack and cranny. And by this means all bad odors will be removed, perfect cleanliness insured, and fleas and other vermin driven out, and for a while at least the building will be obnoxious to them.
Should any of these pests become intolerable at a time when to whitewash is not convenient the owner will afford much relief if he applies kerosene oil quite freely, by means of a brush, to the sleeping-bench and walls.
As whitewashing is scarcely possible in winter, occasional fumigations by means of burning sulphur will be advisable; and these should occur on damp days, as the agent in question acts best in the presence of moisture.
The following method suggests itself as the most convenient : Close the small door and ventilator and tack over them pieces of carpeting or the like that the fumes may not escape. Leave the large door open for hasty exit. Place a pan of water on the floor, and in this a small tin or old crockery dish holding two handfuls of powdered sulphur; over which pour a little alcohol. Touch a lighted match to it and step outside. Assured that the alcohol is burning, close the door and cover it with a stable blanket tacking the same every few inches at the edges.
Four or five hours afterward open the large door, also the window and small door as soon as possible, and give the building a thorough airing before the tenant is returned to it.
It is scarcely necessary to add that this is one of the most efficient preventives of infectious diseases.
The kennel to the description of which so much space has been devoted is, as stated at first, intended for two dogs of small or medium size or a single large one. It represents all the requisites for healthy quarters, and those who propose to keep a larger number of dogs can build on its principles. But of course they must be well informed as to the peculiarities of the dogs for which the kennels are intended before they undertake their construction, for what would be suitable for one variety might not be so for another. And especially important would be a consideration of their dispositions, otherwise although the number of dogs might be small and the kennel large it might not be large enough for them owing to their fighting propensities.
For instance, dachshunds and Chesapeakes are savage fighters, and only a small number, and oftentimes no more than two, can share an apartment, whereas an entire pack of hounds might live together in peace and harmony.
The question of heating would also demand intelligent consideration, and manifestly it would never do to put short-coated and delicate varieties into kennels kept at a temperature which would be comfortable for such dogs as St. Bernards.
Again, in planning for large kennels dog-proof apartments for bitches in season, quarters for whelping, for puppies, - young and old, - for the sick, etc., must all be duly considered.
Evidently, therefore, this work is an important one, which should be attempted by those only who have had abundant experience, and with the varieties for which the buildings are intended.
As for him who quarters his dog in a stable or barn, he should give him a place near a window, keep his floor dry and clean, and by the means of a sleeping-bench obviate the danger of floor-draughts - which are surely fatal to development and ruinous to health. Unless the dog can go out at will, to maintain dryness in such a place will never be easy especially if the flooring is of planking, and the best method is to slope and cover it with cement or asphalt. But if this is out of the question it should have a layer of sawdust or dry and untainted clayey earth, several inches in depth, to' hold the impurities and favor the removal of the deposits. And the absorbent covering should all be renewed at least twice a week, for it must soon become foul and throw off poisonous gases that not only greatly injure the general health but cause severe inflammation of the eyes.
And even in the face of careful treatment were a dog kept much of the time in such quarters the floor would likely soon reek with bad odors unless a disinfectant be employed. Therefore one should always be at hand and used about the bench, woodwork and floor, not alone for its deodorizing effect but for its unfriendliness to vermin and disease.
Efficacy, economy and safety all duly considered, the permanganate of potassium has as much to recommend it as any other agent of its class. It costs at wholesale only about fifty cents a pound, and this quantity is sufficient to make fifteen gallons of powerful deodorizer, which when recently prepared is no mean antiseptic. But as the solution rapidly loses its virtues it is best to make it as required, by adding a tablespoonful of the crystals to a quart of water, and sprinkle it about with a small garden watering-pot.
Summarizing briefly, the paramount essentials in a kennel are, cleanliness, ample sunlight, an abundance of pure air, freedom from dampness and draughts, and protection from cold. Where these requirements are all met good health may be confidently expected, but where even one of them is disregarded, disease will invariably be a frequent visitor.