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Pet Safe Disinfectants: Dog Kennel Cleaner

How do you disinfect a dog kennel? When choosing the best pet safe disinfectants for dog kennels, keep in mind the diseases you are targeting and the age of the animals you’re caring for. In the cattery and kennel, viruses are always a concern, but we must never forget to prevent ringworm in pregnant moms and babies. Often this requires two different kennel disinfectants: one for the adult area and another for safe use around babies and newborns. Let’s summarize some common disinfectants to help you make the best choice.

Always carefully follow label directions on dilution, rinsing, and other important information. Be sure to measure accurately using a syringe or measuring cup for the most effective outcomes.

As a rule, disinfectants cannot penetrate through organic material such as feces or oils from food. To have the best outcome, remove feces and clean the area with a detergent prior to applying a disinfectant. Dawn dishsoap is effective for this use.

Is Bleach Safe for Dog Kennels?

Bleach is typically where we all start, and it is excellent against Parvovirus. Bleach is effective at one ounce per gallon. However, bleach does not penetrate organic matter. It will sterilize the surface of smeared stool or fat, but it will not penetrate the surface to get to the virus underneath.

At four ounces per gallon, bleach will kill fungi – but with a price. Humans and animals can get skin irritation and “moth eaten puppy coats” at that level. Bleach at four ounces per gallon also pits stainless steel, dissolves cement from stone, and roughens concrete floors by dissolving the surface.

Diluted bleach is not stable so must be made up as a fresh batch every 24 hours. Accurate measuring is essential for effective and safe use.

What Kennel Disinfectant Kills Fungus

Chlorhexidine Solution kills fungal spores and is an excellent disinfectant around nursing puppies and kittens. Use in a spray bottle for daily cleaning in nest boxes, especially in catteries where fungal (ringworm) is the number one concern for kittens. Excellent against bacteria and most viruses, but it is not effective against Parvovirus family. Chlorhexidine is also a good choice to disinfect instruments.

What Cleaners Kill Parvo

Virkon penetrates organic matter, making it effective in a Parvovirus outbreak. It is safe to use in areas where puppies and kittens live; however, all animals need to be removed from the area before using Virkon. Before reintroducing the animals, allow the area to dry and rinse any items such as food and water bowls. Virkon also works great for rock runs where we need to penetrate soil surfaces. Use once a week to penetrate areas that are difficult to clean. Virkon is a great choice to kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and Parvovirus.

Oxine® is excellent against all viruses and bacteria as well as fungi and fungal spores. It is very safe and used in foggers for aviaries, kennels, and catteries to get ahead of respiratory issues. It will kill bacteria, fungi, viruses and Parvovirus and will also penetrate organic matter. Safe to use around food, in water, and in nurseries, and can be used with a fogger or hose-end sprayer. Oxine® can be put into a water system at 1:400 to prevent slime buildup. Fogging is also done at 1:400 and is especially helpful for respiratory outbreaks or in pet shops where birds are often present.

The Wysiwash Sanitizing System is easy to use and works against a wide range of pathogens, including Corona and Parvovirus. It works by using hypochlorous acid, which is effective and economical to use. You don’t have to mix or rinse, and it won’t corrode your equipment. It is also safe enough for direct contact immediately after application.

How to Disinfect Kennel Cough and Other Organisms

Animal Facility Disinfectant is safe to use in facilities that house dogs, cats, horses, birds and reptiles; however the animals should be removed before and during cleaning. This one-step cleaner disinfects with 10 or more minutes of contact time, can be used on most hard, nonporous surfaces and has a great deodorant effect.

Rescue® Disinfectant uses an accelerated hydrogen peroxide technology to work against a broad spectrum of bacteria and viruses, including Herpes, Calicivirus, and Parvovirus. Contact time is five minutes to disinfect, and it is non-toxic and non-irritating.

How to Disinfect Cloth Surfaces

Health Guard Laundry Additive & Disinfectant disinfects the laundry without harming your washer. It kills bacteria, fungi and virus when used in a washing machine. Works well for odor removal as well as cleaning and disinfecting carpet or upholstery. Safe to use on items that will be around mom and her babies.

Kennel Cleaner and Fading Puppy Syndrome

When using disinfectants, it is important to follow the correct directions for dilution. Toxins are a major cause of fading puppy or kitten syndrome. Neonatal skin is thin, and chemicals are readily absorbed through the skin causing fading puppy or kitten syndrome. Breathing chemical fumes can also cause respiratory symptoms such as congestion and cough.

Use caution when cleaning the whelping or queening box.

    • Avoid pine oils and phenols (Lysol®) as well as bleach or quaternary ammonium.
    • Use gentle cleaners with little odor and baby-safe disinfectant around puppies and kittens. The ultimate goal is to have healthy moms and babies!

If you need help choosing the right kennel disinfectant, call us at 800.786.4751.

Article originally written by Donald Bramlage, DVM, Revival’s Former Director of Veterinary Services. This article has been updated/reviewed by Dr. Greer.
How to Disinfect a Kennel

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.