Inspecting • Cleaning • Removing
Operating a large kennel facility is very labor intensive and as owners, we have an immense responsibility to provide a safe, clean, positive and healthy environment for our dogs. Properly caring for sled dogs to the high standards we insist upon requires our team to be very focused and devoted. The dedication in implementing a kennel system like ours takes a lot of work to maintain and although this is a daily routine for our team, it must be done and treated with the utmost care and respect.
Keeping our kennel environment clean prevents illness, respiratory infections, skin infections and disease which is why it is important that we keep each dog’s home and area sanitary but also their food bowls, water bowls, houses, collars, harnesses and all of our feed scoops, ladles, feed buckets.
Soil & Foundation:
We have strategically set up our kennel on a gradual incline and use a base of finely crushed limestone which provides a natural drainage system. Rain, melting snow and urine naturally drain off the foundation.
Feces & Urine:
Feces are removed from our entire kennel a minimum of six times every day. By establishing a health care program that supports this many cleans per day, it ensures that our dog’s areas are free from their excrement. Urine is easily controlled in the summer as our kennel foundation is finely crushed limestone and is built on an incline allowing for easy drainage. During the winter, urine typically drains through the snow and out of the kennel, however, should there be any problem areas, we chip and remove the urine the same way we do the feces.
Straw & Wood Shavings:
Part of our weekly kennel chores is to rake our entire kennel. During this time, our team rakes each dog’s area removing any straw or wood shavings that have fallen out of their house.
It is required as part of our kennel lease to bag all feces, urine, straw and wood shavings and dispose of these items at our local landfill.
Bowls, Feed Scoops, Ladles, Feed Buckets & Feed Station:
We use a bowl holder system in our kennel rather than bolting our dog’s bowls to their houses or placing their bowls on the ground. By using bowl holders, we can easily remove their feed and water bowls for daily washing and because our dog’s bowls are not placed on the ground, they do not accidently spill their food or water. This keeps their bowls and area nice and clean and most importantly, our dogs have access to their food and water without spilling. All our feed scoops, ladles, and feed buckets are washed and sanitized daily. Our feed station is cleaned daily to ensure we are preparing our pack’s meals in a sanitary location.
Bedding & Houses:
Bedding is checked daily to ensure it is not wet, soiled and that there is plenty to keep the dogs comfortable. Every spring when the ambient temperature is warm, we remove all the straw from each dog’s house, vacuum it and add spruce and pine shavings as their late spring/summer/early fall bedding. When the temperatures begin to cool, the same process is applied except we remove all the shavings, vacuum the house and add straw for their late fall/winter/early spring bedding.
We have two sets of collars for our sled dog pack. Summer collars are red and placed on our dogs after our touring season has ended. The winter collars are blue and are placed on the dogs once the snow arrives. Every spring when we remove the winter collars, they are soaked in special detergent for most of the day to remove any dirt. Following this, they are put through the washer on a gentle cycle and then hung to dry before they are put away. The same process is applied when we switch their summer collars over to their winter collars. Should any dog manage to get their collar dirty throughout the season, we have plenty of extras which allows us to spot wash whenever needed.
Every spring after our dog sledding season has come to an end, we wash all the dog harnesses, so they are clean and fresh for the next season. The harnesses are first soaked in a special detergent to remove any dirt. Following this, they are put through the washer on a gentle cycle and then hung to dry before they are put away. Throughout the winter, we wash any harnesses that may get dirty from daily use. This always ensures our dogs are wearing clean uniforms!
We wash and sanitize our tools used to clean feces and urine regularly and as often as needed.