Spot cleaning dog kennels

Last updated: 2022-05-05
Author: Dr. Denae Wagner
Document type: Information Sheet
Topics: Shelter Design and Housing, Infectious Disease
Species: Canine

Spot cleaning done right can be healthier for dogs and more efficient for shelter staff than daily full cleaning and disinfection.

Why spot clean?

  • Many double compartment kennels housing healthy adult dogs do not need deep cleaning daily when the dog is staying through to the next day or longer


  • Less stress for the dog
  • Less time spent cleaning
  • Less disinfectant product used needlessly
  • Saves water
  • More time for folks to do other desired/needed/important tasks
    • If daily monitoring is desired but not being done I often suggest using some of the time that is saved by doing spot cleaning to do daily monitoring prior to the start of cleaning

daily monitoring chart

When to spot clean kennels

  • Healthy adult dogs (over about 5 months of age) – all have been vaccinated at intake for DHPP (Distemper, hepatitis, parvo, parainfluenza)
    • If vaccination at intake is not consistently happening – work on making that happen prior to taking on spot cleaning
  • Housed in double compartment kennels – front to back or side to side
    • Or is single compartment kennels, where dogs are removed from kennel room during cleaning time
  • When dogs are staying through to the next day in the same housing unit
  • If a kennel is empty and dirty – that one needs deep cleaning

How to spot clean dog kennels

  • All dogs in the room should be viewed for wellbeing prior to cleaning start
  • Fill in daily monitoring sheet (shown above) for each dog
  • Start spot cleaning process
  1. Move dogs to side with bed/food/water
  2. Close guillotine doors
  3. If a kennel is clean (clean kennels don’t have feces or urine or any other thing that would need to be cleaned with water) - skip it
  4. For kennels with urine or feces in them:
    1. Pick up feces and properly discard in garbage can (these should not remain in the kennel room during the day)
    2. Spray kennel floor with RescueTM (hose end foamer preferred)
    3. Scrub areas that need scrubbing
    4. Squeegee to dry
    5. Walls do not need to be cleaned if they are not dirty
    6. The kennel floor should be as dry as possible upon completion (if squeegeeing isn’t enough, use a towel too)
  5. Clean and disinfect the aisle behind/in front of kennels prior to leaving this side of kennels
  6. Open guillotine door and move dogs from bed/food/water side to the other side
  7. Tidy up kennels if needed
    1. Save clean towels/bed/toys for reuse in that kennel
    2. Dirty items should be removed and cleaned/laundered
  8. If the dog has soiled this side, do step 4 again
  9. Open guillotine door so the dog can use both sides
  10. Done😊

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