Module 4

Module 4 of the Kennel Training Certificate Program discusses environment and housing, including details on: general constructionhousing practices, sanitation and nuisance wildlife control.


In Module 2, you learned about the grading system for self-assesment/audit. You will use that knowledge

in this module. Remember:

C = Requirements in code are met
NI = Requirements in the code are not completely fulfilled and need improvement
U = Conditions are bad to severe and unacceptable


Construction must meet local requirements, including fire safety standards. Use only non-toxic construction materials where animals have direct contact. Ensure enclosures are free of sharp edges or other potential causes of injury. 

Walls and Partitions

The interior walls and partitions must be of an appropriate material so that they can be washed and sanitized without being damaged. Walls and partitions must be sturdy, in good repair and of sufficient height and gauge to prevent escape.


Roof coverings must be properly fastened to the roof joist to prevent the entrance of insects, birds and harmful animals. Ensure the roof is covered and built with suitable materials to eliminate leaks and exposure to adverse weather conditions.
Roofs - Self Assessment 
C = The roof coverings are tight and provide good coverage from the elements.
NI = Signs of water damage are evident, however animals are protected from the elements.
U = Animals are exposed to the elements.


Ceilings are constructed of impervious materials and finished like the walls and partitions. Ceilings, walls and partitions are tightened to prevent gaps which can lead to the entry of insects, birds and animals that may be harmful to the building or animals housed within. Ensure the ceilings, corners, walls and partitions are sealed to render them completely washable and sanitizable.
Ceilings - Self Assessment
C = Ceilings are constructed of impervious materials, with no obvious leaks or gaps. 
NI = Signs of water damage are evident, and there are small gaps between the partitions.
U = Large gaps in partition, evidence that wildlife is present.


Floors must be constructed of impervious materials, such as sealed concrete or other materials that provide a smooth surface that is easy to clean and sanitize. Drain size is a least 10 cm and sloped appropriately. Drain covers are used and designed to minimize the risk of animal injury. Plywood, sand and wire are not acceptable flooring materials.

Foot Health

Ensure good foot health by constructing solid floors that can support the animal. Ensure floors are in good repair and with good traction to prevent slipping and injury. Wire or slatted flooring is unacceptable.
Floors - Self Assessment
C = Floors are in good repair, made with materials that are impervious, easy to clean and sanitize, and drain properly. Animals are comfortable when standing.
NI = There are no drain covers on the drains and are risking injury to the animals.
U = Floors are made of plywood and are saturated in urine and feces compromising the health and well-being of the animals.


Maintain a temperature in the kennel that optimizes animal comfort. This can be accomplished when you:
  • recognize and understand the appropriate temperature for the species and breed of the animal
  • understand the appropriate temperature for the age of the animal
  • ensure animals are dry and provided appropriate bedding
  • ensure animals are out of drafts
  • ensure proper ventilation and insulation
  • provide supplemental heat or cooling resources as needed

Signs of Heat Stress

 Signs of heat stress include:
  • panting
  • drooling
  • vomiting
  • disorientation
  • muscle tremors
  • unconsciousness   
Temperature - Self Assessment
C = Animals are comfortable.
NI = Depending on the season animals may be panting excessively or shivering uncontrollably.
U = Animals appear to be listless.


Ventilation and heating systems must be constructed appropriately to supply fresh air, enable adequate exchange of air and maintain optimal environmental condition for all seasons. Provide additional ventilation by using exhaust fans and/or air conditioning when ambient temperatures reach more than 26°C.
Proper ventilation removes heat, dampness, odor, airborne microbes and pollutant gases, such as ammonia and carbon monoxide, while allowing for the introduction of fresh, oxygenated air. Circulating inside air spreads contaminants, viruses, bacteria and moulds.

Ventilation - Self Assessment
C = There is a good supply of fresh air being properly exchanged with no buildup of ammonia. 

NI = A limited amount of air is being exchanged within the facility and there is a mild to moderate smell of ammonia.
U = There is minimal air exchanged and there is a strong smell of ammonia.  


Indoor humidity levels must be maintained to: 
  • ensure animal comfort
  • minimize the risk of transmission of animal disease
  • prevent damage to the structural integrity of the building and its contents
  • prevent the accumulation of excess moisture that can promote the growth of mould
Ideally relative humidity should range from 30 to 70%.
Humidity - Self Assessment
C =
Animals are comfortable. 
NI = There is evidence of light moisture on floors, walls and windowsanimals appear to be uncomfortable, mildly panting.
U = Animals housed in areas with excessive moisture on floors, walls and windows and evidence of mould.


Ensure lighting is bright enough and evenly distributed so that all areas of the interior of the facility can be clearly seen. Light is provided for a minimum of eight hours per day. At a minimum, animals must be exposed to eight consecutive hours with minimal or no artificial lighting to allow them to rest. Maximum amount of lighting is comparable to the length of natural daylight hours.


Light - Self Assessment
C =
All areas of the facility are clearly seen, no animal is in the dark during natural daylight hours.
NI = Unable to make clear observations of a particular animal without additional resources, making it difficult to determine the well-being of the animal.
U = Animals are in poorly lit areas or are in the dark. Safety is a concern due to the lack of appropriate lighting.


When constructing or renovating, use materials that will optimize soundproofing. Maintain an environment in which the average sound level is less than 85 decibels (dB).
Noise - Self Assessment 
C = Noise is maintained at comfortable levels less than 85 dB. Animals are comfortable and not disturbing others with excessive vocalizing. 
NI = There is moderate vocalizing without any type of stimuli.
U = There is excessive, constant vocalizing causing sound levels to exceed 85 db. Animals are unable to rest, appear uncomfortable and on edge.

Building Safety and Emergencies  

Develop an emergency plan. Be compliant with the National Fire Code of Canada and the National Building Code of Canada, as well as any municipal, provincial or public health, safety and fire protection requirements. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.


Key Messages

Design and maintain facilities so that they provide clean, safe environments. Design and maintain facilities that reduce the risk of disease transmission.
It is critical that animals are provided with access to appropriate housing and/or enclosures. Living conditions play a key role in an animal’s behaviour, health and mental state.

Basic Principles  

Females in heat cannot be housed with intact males. Dogs displaying aggression are not be housed with other dogs.

Primary Enclosures Best Practices

Different species have radically different environmental requirements. You are responsible for obtaining knowledge about the minimum requirements. As a specific example, when housing dogs either indoors or outdoors, you must:
  • allow dogs to lie flat on their sides outside their bed in the sleeping area
  • allow dogs to move freely
  • provide a separate sleeping area
  • allow the dogs to urinate and defecate away from its sleeping and eating areas
  • prevent urine and feces from contaminating adjoining enclosures
  • have an area to place and secure food and water bowls to prevent contamination, spilling and soiling enclosure contents and allows animals to eat and drink freely
For more information on primary enclosures such as required space measurements, please see the Canadian Kennel Code of Practice.

Primary Enclosures - Self Assessment
C = Adequate space, animals can move freely, stretch without touching walls and can sleep away from areas where they urinate and defecate.  Animals appear to be comfortable.
NI = Water bowls are constantly spilled, due to lack of space to properly secure and separate eating and drinking areas.
U = Animal movement is restricted, due to the lack of space, causing distress.

Outdoor Shelter

A stand-alone shelter, such as a doghouse, must be accessible to dogs at all times and MUST:
  • be tall enough to allow the dog to stand fully upright
  • have a doorway large enough for the dog to enter and exit 
  • be big enough for the dog to turn around and lie down comfortably 
The shelter MUST contain adequate insulation and bedding, such as straw, to keep the animal clean, dry and warm.

Primary Outdoor Area

Must provide shelter and protection from the elements in both the primary enclosure and activity area.
Primary Outdoor Area - Self Assessment
C = Outdoor area provides protection from the elements to ensure the animal is comfortable.
NI = Outdoor area has a shelter, but it does not protect the animal from inclement weather.
U = There is no shelter in the outdoor area. Animal appears to be cold and is shivering.

Tethering of Dogs

Tethering is not allowed as a method of confining a dog to a primary enclosure. Tethering also cannot be used as the only means of containment, except for sled dogs (see standards in Mush with P.R.I.D.E.). Any restraining device used for tethering allows the dog to move in a manner that is safe, prevents entanglement, and does not weigh more than 10 per cent of the dog’s body weight.

Isolation Area

After an initial exam, if an animal is suspected of being ill, it should be housed in an isolation area/room.
An isolation area should be: 
  • completely separate from the existing healthy population
  • reserved for newly acquired animals that are ill
  • reserved for animals suspected of having a contagious disease

Isolation Area Best Practices

  • All equipment and materials are designated solely for the isolation area and inaccessible to other animals.
  • Personnel are adequately trained in quarantine protocols.
  • Waste material and disposable items are placed into garbage bags before being removed from the isolation area and are disposed of immediately.
  • Newly acquired animals and animals suspected of, or receiving treatment for, a contagious disease must not be housed in the same area simultaneously.
  • The isolation area is located in an area with separate ventilation and low foot traffic.
  • Space requirements are the same as for the other population, unless otherwise recommended by the veterinarian.
  • The isolation area has space to perform all duties.
Isolation Area - Self Assessment 
C = Isolation area is completely separate from the existing healthy animal population, has its own ventilation system, has sufficient space and staff appear to have the appropriate training.
NI = Staff are not wearing the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to prevent the spread of disease and are at risk of getting a zoonotic disease.
U = Healthy animals are exposed to animals that are ill and there is no clearly defined area to separate sick animals from healthy animals.

Whelping Area

Best practices for a whelping area include:

  • Adequate human supervision and access to human assistance.
  • Whelping box with a floor area two and a half times the size of the dam.
  • Absorbent bedding to keep dam and puppies clean and dry
  • Excrement is removed for area at least twice daily or more, as required.
  • Dam has access to food, water, and the ability to rest and eliminate away from the puppies.
  • Water bowl is situated so that a puppy cannot fall into it.
  • The structure prevents escaping and harm.
  • A supplemental source of safe heat is available to puppies that are unable to thermo-regulate.


Best practices for sanitation includes: 

  • All enclosures are cleared of debris and feces and urine are removed at least twice daily, or more often if required.
  • All equipment, materials and food prep areas are: 
    • cleaned daily
    • disinfected weekly
    • cleaned, disinfected and rinsed before used by another animal
  • Adequate time is set aside for routine daily cleaning.
  • Personnel must be trained in, and follow cleaning Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
  • An outer layer of protective clothing is worn over clothing in the isolation area and removed before leaving the area.
  • Cleaning and disinfection chemicals and materials used are suitable to the environment and selected in consultation with a veterinarian.
  • Chemicals are used safely and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and safety data sheets.
  • All surfaces and utensils that have been in contact with disinfectants are thoroughly rinsed.
Sanitation - Self Assessment 
C = Animals are clean, dry and comfortable. Their environment is free of garbage or debris.
NI = There is a minimum amount of urine and feces in the animal’s immediate area suggesting that it is only cleaned once a day.
U = Excessive buildup of urine, feces and debris that maximizes the risk of disease and inhibits the welfare of the animal.

Waste Disposal

Waste products should be removed at least twice daily and more frequently to maintain good air quality for workers and animals.

Nuisance Wildlife Control

Have a nuisance wildlife management plan in place. Consider the following practices:

  • If traps and pesticides are used, they must be appropriate to the target species, stored in locked and weighted or fastened boxes.
  • Pesticides that are toxic to animals in care are not to be used.
  • All animal remains are promptly removed.
  • Pesticides are only used by individuals with a government license or equivalent level of competence.
  • Safety data sheets for pesticides must be present and consulted.
Nuisance Wildlife Control - Self Assessment
C = A nuisance wildlife management plan is in place and is being followed.
NI = A plan has been implemented, but it is not being properly followed, as animal remains are observed.
U = No plan is in place and there is an excessive amount of fecal matter present from nuisance wildlife.

Key Messages

Appropriate housing that meets standards of care and the behavioural needs of the animals minimizes stress and minimizes the risk of disease.

Go to Module 5.


For more information, please contact the Animal Care Line, or call 204-945-8000 (in Winnipeg); 
1-888-945-8001 (toll-free).