What to Put on the Ground in a Dog Run

Updated March 23, 2017

A dog run is a convenient option to let a dog enjoy time outside while keeping it safely contained without a leash or tether. Choosing the right flooring for a dog run is important to prevent odours and allow for cleaning and sanitising. Dirt, grass and wood chips are poor choices for dog run flooring, because they absorb urine and odours, are hard to clean and are easily dug up. Concrete, gravel and plastic decking are better choices that will keep your dog clean and healthy.


Concrete is a popular flooring choice for dog runs. It is durable and easy to clean and sanitise. Brick pavers or patio stones are also options, but should be tightly installed to minimise urine seeping into the spacing between them. Consider covering the dog run in locations prone to snow and ice, which can build up on the concrete and prevent cleaning. Ice may also pose a slipping hazard.

To install a concrete floor for a dog run, first stake out the run area and dig down 3 or 4 inches. Stamp down the earth so that it is even, and use 2 x 4 boards to create a frame for your floor. Depending on your location and soil, put down wire mesh or a layer of crushed stones. Pour concrete to a depth of 4 inches; you may want to hire a company to mix and pour it for you. Install slabs on a slope to allow run-off of urine and water used for cleaning. Level the poured concrete, and then drag a broom over it to provide traction for the dog in the finished product.


Pea gravel and crushed granite are also common dog run flooring materials. The small stones allow urine to seep through to the ground underneath. Solid waste is easy to pick up, but gravel inevitably comes with it, so the stones do need to be replaced at times.Some dogs eat the stones, however, which can cause intestinal blockages; others may try to dig it up. Regular application of lime will minimise odours, as will an odour-control product applied with a hose-end sprayer.

Dig down 4 inches for a gravel dog run floor. Use a 2-inch layer of lime at the bottom to break down urine and faeces that filter through the stones. Cover the lime with pea gravel or crushed stone at a 2-inch depth. Consider using landscape edging around the run, to keep stones from spilling over into the surrounding area.

Plastic Decking

High-density plastic dog run flooring is designed to channel liquids away from the floor. Like concrete, high-density plastic is easy to clean and sanitise. Plastic decking is impervious to sunlight and moisture, does not absorb odours, and is not subject to digging or chewing.

Decking comes in interlocking pieces that are easy to install---simply lay them out on a flat, even surface. Dog runs can be placed on top of plastic decking, or the material can be cut to fit inside the run. The pieces are easily cut with a hand saw or jigsaw to fit your needs.

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