Client Dogs On a Horse Farm

A reader asks Animal Arts architecture firm what they recommend be done for housing for client dogs at an equine boarding stable.

While some dogs are horse-savvy, not all dogs should be allowed to run loose on a horse farm. Thinkstock

Question for Animal Arts

This might be a little off-subject, but a lot of folks have dogs at the horse barn. I love dogs, but I don’t want them running around the farm because not all of them are well-behaved. Usually people lock their dogs in a stall, but I’m getting so full with horses now that I often don’t have a stall open. I don’t want dogs left in cars, and I don’t want to totally ban dogs (like I’ve seen some others comment on in these forums).

Since you are architects who have worked on large and small animal housing, could you suggest a solution? I wouldn’t mind spending a little money on some covered pens and charging the dogs’ owners a few bucks to “house” their dogs there while they are riding. That might discourage the ones who don’t want to pay to keep their dogs home. I’ll also implement a “no dogs left in cars or trucks” for everyone to take that option away.

Thoughts on types of shelters, size, runs, attach to barn or free-standing, water options, etc.?

Answer from Animal Arts

This is a common problem and we’d love to help you solve it!

You could build a simple kennel for the dogs. We recommend the following:

Find a covered spot, and if one is not available, purchase a three-sided run-in shed, with the open side facing east or south. Inside this shed, pour a concrete slab, as the dogs will dig out of a gravel enclosure. 

On the slab you can then place 6×8 or 6×10 pens for the dogs; this is big enough for any size dog. 

While you could theoretically buy dog kennels at most ag supply stores, we don’t recommend them because they rust pretty quickly and aren’t durable enough to work for years. Instead, we’d recommend purchasing some chain link pens from Mason Company. This company has been around for many decades. Here is a link to their chain link run product which is commonly used outside:…runs.html.

Our inclination is that the dogs should not be attached to the barn, but be kept slightly away from it as more than one dog can be a little stinky and loud.

When the boarders lock their dogs up, the dogs might bark their heads off. To alleviate this problem, institute a policy that they give their dogs a lovely and safe treat, such as a peanut butter-filled Kong, for the dogs to chew on while their person rides. Shelters use stuffed Kongs as an enrichment treat to reduce stress and reduce barking. You could also provide a little dog bed for each dog—Kuranda beds are common and they cost around $100 each.

For water, provide a hose bibb nearby for spritzing off the slabs to keep surfaces clean and to fill water bowls. A large, stainless steel water bowl is the easiest to clean. 

For environmentally safe disinfection of the dog area, if it needs occasional deep cleaning, we recommend accelerated hydrogen peroxide. This kills any germs and degrades into oxygen and water. Contact Ogena Solutions for the disinfectant and protocols. 

We hope this helps! 

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