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Care and Maintenance of Dog Dens

K-9 Kondo’s well-constructed Dog Dens use commercial-grade materials to last long past the five-year guarantee. There are currently several thousand K-9 Kondo Dog Dens in service that are more than eight years old. When properly maintained, the unique Dog Den doghouse will provide dogs with superior comfort and protection while delivering great economy to the owner. The following tips will help keep your Dog Den in top condition and maintain its utility for many trouble-free years.

Doghouse Cleaning

All K-9 Kondo Dog Den doghouse models are completely washable. The interior wall and ceiling will become soiled over time with grime from the dog rubbing against them when moving inside the Dog Den. For doghouse cleaning and sanitizing, remove the lid and the inside floor with the insulation. Soap and water with a little elbow grease will restore the wall to a clean, shiny surface. The common cleaning agent “Simple Green” works well for cutting the grime and leaves a pleasant aroma to the interior. The steel parts can also be cleaned with soap and water or a grease-cutting cleansing agent. Allow the interior to dry and reinstall the interior floor with the insulation.

Doghouse Bedding

The doghouse bedding should be changed frequently, especially in cold weather. The longer doghouse bedding is used, the more insulation value it loses due to collection of moisture. I replace bedding in my dog’s Dog Den every two weeks. Too often, dog owners will allow their dogs to sleep on doghouse bedding which is months old. Loose bedding (hay, straw, etc.) breaks down into crumbled dust and no longer offers much in the way of comfort. Moreover, the longer bedding is used without a clean replacement, the more apt it is to retain any moisture that is brought in by the dog or through the dog’s respiration. Good quality grass hay is the best type of doghouse bedding for your dog, even in summer. Straw and wood shavings are less desirable as straw breaks down very quickly, does not make a good “nest,” and tends to cling to the dog. Wood shavings will spread around the dog rather than stay underneath them. Sit in a bean bag chair for a while and you will see what we mean. If loose bedding is not used, heavy mats, sometimes called horse mats, which are made from strips of used tires, work very well. For dogs that are not “chewers,” doormats made from plastic Astroturf work very well. Dogs should never be allowed to rest for extended periods on a smooth, hard surface such as wood, plastic, or metal. Pillows and blankets can jam the dog door closed and must never be used.

Dog Door Maintenance

The dog door is designed to swing in and out. The ¼" metal door pin rotates in an elongated rubber grommet. The metal will eventually wear through the rubber. The time that it takes to wear through the grommet is largely determined by the owner. Just like tires on an automobile, the rate of wear is determined by the care and dog door maintenance of the operator. The more the dog door is used, the more wear will occur. To increase the life span of the grommets and to keep your dog door operating smoothly, a silicone lubricant should be applied weekly either through a canned spray or silicone grease. The grommets in my German Shorthair’s Dog Den have been in use for almost two years. Grommets are not a warranted item.  Replacement bushings sell in lots of 10 for $8.00. U.S. Postal Service is used for shipment. Delivery when using USPS is not guaranteed. For orders placed by mail, send check or money order for the amount to: K-9 Kondo, 9129 East Ehler Road, Stapleton, NE 69163.

Doghouse Rust Prevention

All commercial-grade metal panels are constructed of 22- and 24-gauge G90 zinc-plated steel. G90 is the highest grade of galvanized steel commercially available. With proper maintenance it will last for many years. Some customers have asked why we don’t use aluminum or stainless steel. The simple answer is cost and the fact that dog urine also corrodes aluminum. To use either material would almost double the cost of a Dog Den doghouse. For most owners, rust is never a problem. However, when a Dog Den is exposed to the salt spray of the ocean or chronic exposure to dog urine, rust is sure to follow. Dog urine will eventually corrode the zinc to the point that the steel is exposed to oxygen causing oxidation (rust). It is very important to use doghouse bedding and change it often to prevent direct exposure to the inside floor from dogs tracking in urine on their feet. Some dogs, especially bitches, will often urinate inside their shelter. Such behavior often goes unnoticed and can rust both the interior and exterior floor. My Dog Den is seven years old and does not have a spot of rust on it. If rust is present, it should be repaired immediately. The best method is to treat the rusted area with spray or roll-on bed liner. Follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully. Spray-on bed liner material can be bought by the can at most auto parts stores.