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Ventilation in boarding kennels: bad air out, good air in

dsc01924Good ventilation is essential in boarding kennels. Ventilation is necessary to reduce odours, provide clean air to those housed inside, and most importantly, to reduce the concentration of potentially infectious airborne diseases and other agents.

When airflow is not controlled directly, the passing of air through opening and closing doors and windows is referred to as ‘passive ventilation’. Passive ventilation, for many small animals, is
adequate for some time. However, there may be changes to temperature associated with passive ventilation that do not suit small animals in particular. In contrast, active ventilation is airflow controlled by active extractor fans or blowers, which can be combined with heating or cooling within the boarding kennel.

In air conditioned or heated boarding kennels that don’t have active airflow, passive air changes can be an enormous drain on heating and cooling expenses to balance the temperature in the room.

At Rosemary’s House for Dogs and Cats for example, our HVAC system: (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) changes the air several times per cycle. It efficiently captures the energy in the air and recycles it, meaning lower energy costs with the air change. This is a classic example of good air in, bad air out, without the downside of having to heat or cool the air every time there’s an air change, efficiently providing maximum comfort for all pets.

Within boarding kennels, airflow needs to be controlled so that clean air (good air) is pumped in, and bad air is extracted. It is important to remember that disease control principles mean that air should not be cycled between animals within the shelter. Also, the ventilation needs to not cause excessive draughts that will result in disturbances in the animals’ sleeping patterns.

As any boarding kennel operator knows, sick animals spread disease through a boarding kennel, and can create hours of additional work for staff. Unfortunately, the risk of infection is high in any boarding kennel situation, simply because of the sheer quantity of animals being housed. Common sense prevails here – you can have as many air changes as you want, but if your cats are caged in a closed box with only one side open, they aren’t going to be getting the full ‘bad air out, good air in’ effect. Good airflow in a kennel and cattery allows bad air to be rapidly removed.

Outdoor space is also an important part of the ‘bad air out, good air in’ strategy. Outdoor spaces for both cats and dogs are required to keep them mentally stimulated, but also to expose them to clean air and sunlight, which are beneficial for their health. This leads to happy healthy pets who are happy to stay, which also leads to happy pet owners.

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