Outside dog cages provide a safe place for your pet to exercise, and allow you to leave your dog outside when you need to do heavy cleaning, move furniture in and out, or entertain guests who are not comfortable with your dog. Outside dog cages need shade throughout the day. If it is not available, you will need to roof over one end of the cage.
Outside dog cages may be needed to meet local dog ordinances. These may include requirements on providing shade, a sleeping box, and ensuring that the cage can be cleaned easily and waste disposed of properly. Check with your local dog warden or ASPCA before beginning your project to ensure your cage will meet requirements.
These cages can be built from scrap lumber and chicken wire, fencing material and galvanised steel posts, or you can purchase a kennel kit. The advantage of the kennel kit is the ease of set-up and the ability to tear the cage down and move it when needed. It can even be transported with you if you take your dog on an extended family vacation.
Decide what size of cage you need. Dogs should have a cage large enough to run 4 to 6 body lengths in each direction before needing to turn around and go the other way. For a small dog, 4 feet by 6 feet is the minimum size. The cage should be 6 feet by 8 feet for medium dogs and 10 feet by 12 feet for large dogs.
Decide whether you want a fixed-location cage or a movable cage. A fixed-location cage will need a concrete slab with a trough to make it easy to wash away dog waste. A movable cage will allow you to take the cage apart as needed and move it to another part of the yard, or take it with you on an extended family trip. Be sure to locate the cage away from roof overhangs, windows and basement doors to avoid anyone using it for a forced entry point to your home.
Lay out your footer frame, if you are going to have a concrete foundation. Set up three of the four kennel kit walls inside the footer frame, but leave the gate wall off. Be sure to set kennel walls three inches from the inner edge of the footer, six inches below the surface of the top edge of the frame. Fill the footer frame inside the cage walls and around the edges with gravel. Compact gravel with a water-filled lawn roller until it is level with the top edge of the footer frame.
Pour concrete in and around the kennel walls, being sure to make it level with the top edge of the footer frame. If there are any outbuildings or other structures nearby, slope the foundation away from the end of the footer that is closest to the structure to prevent runoff from endangering any foundations.
Allow concrete to dry three to five days before attaching the gate wall. Because the kennel walls have been set six inches below the footer, you will need to attach the gate six inches higher so it will swing freely. This will probably require removing and refitting the gate hardware provided with your kennel kit.
Lash a tarp across one end of the cage to provide shade and give your dog a place to get out of the rain. If desired, use corrugated metal, plastic or fibreglass roofing sheets at one end of the cage instead. You may also add a sleeping box lined with straw, or an old bean bag chair so that your dog will be able to lie down.