How to disinfect an outside pet area

Updated March 23, 2017

If you keep your pet in a contained area outside, such as a pen or dog run, you must sanitise that area regularly as part of your routine pet care. On their website, Drs. Foster and Smith recommend sanitising your pet’s outdoor area weekly if the pet uses it daily, and monthly if it is used infrequently. Because the pet’s waste is in the environment, it quickly attracts bacteria, fungi and viruses that can make the animal sick, so keeping the pet’s outdoor area sanitised will help keep your pet healthy.

Put on rubber cleaning gloves to avoid contact with faeces or contaminated surfaces. If the area is partially enclosed or has not been regularly sanitised, wear a dust mask to filter any ammonia that may be in the air.

Remove solid waste from the pen using a small shovel. Dispose of this waste in a plastic bag, using your outdoor garbage can.

Mix a germicidal cleaner with water according on the package directions, then spray all areas of the pet enclosure with the solution. Do not just sanitise the floor, but also sanitise any elevated ledges used for climbing, as well as the animal’s food and water bowls, crates used for sleeping and the walls of the enclosure.

Replace any straw or similar bedding. Wash cloth bedding. Replace any litter if the pet is a litter-box trained animal, like a cat or rabbit.

Allow the entire pen to dry before reintroducing the pet.


Germicidal cleaners kill not only bacteria and viruses, but also moulds, mildew and fungi, leaving the pet’s area with a clean scent. Choose a germicidal cleaner that is meant to be used as a spray cleaner. This makes cleaning large outdoor pet areas much more convenient, and not all of these cleaners work well in sprayers. According to Drs. Foster and Smith, the best flooring for outdoor pet areas is sealed concrete. Any other type of flooring cannot be thoroughly sanitised.


Do not put water or food in the pet’s bowls until they are rinsed and dried completely. Germicidal cleaners are dangerous if ingested. Do not allow your pet in the area until it has completely dried. Plan ahead so you have enough time between cleaning and reintroducing your pet for the area to dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber cleaning gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Shovel
  • Plastic bag
  • Broom
  • Water hose
  • Germicidal cleaner
  • Water
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About the Author

Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006, specializing in real estate, finance and travel. When she's not writing, she enjoys traveling and has visited several countries, including Israel, Spain, France and Guam. Harms received a Bachelor of Science in Education from Maranatha Baptist Bible College.