How Much Room Does a Dog Need in a Kennel? (Solved & Explained!)

Measure your dog from the tip of their nose to the tip of their tail and add 2 to 4 inches to this. Now while your dog is standing measure your dog from their feet to the top of their head (or tips of their ears if perky) and add 2 inches to this. Your kennel (i.e. dog crate) must meet these minimums and larger is better. 

For the remaining space of this article, we’ll answer important questions trending this week about both commercial boarding kennels and residential kennels. Read on to learn about measurement, conditions such as kennel sickness, and more!

What is a dog kennel used for?

A kennel is just a structure that is used for housing animals, most commonly cats and dogs. It can refer to a commercial kennel service that will house your animal while you are away, or an individual structure on or in your property.

At home, kennels are is used to hold your dog or cat as-needed to isolate them, keep them safe, to help with potty training, or even to leave open as your animal’s own personal space.

How many square feet should a dog kennel be?

To find the minimum square footage required for your dog’s kennel, you’ll want to grab a piece of paper and a pencil or get out your trusty calculator for a little preparatory math. Measure your dog from tip to tail in inches and add 6 to this number.

Now, multiply this number by itself. This will give you the square inches that you need at minimum, but since we want square feet we need to now divide this number by 144.


Your dog measures 20 inches from tip to tail, so we add 6 to get 26 inches total.

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26 x 26 = 676 square inches as the minimum kennel size.

676 ÷ 144 = 4.69 square feet as out minimum kennel size in square footage.

How do you measure a dog for a kennel?

A popular ‘quick and dirty’ measurement method for determining kennel size is to measure from your dog’s feet up to the tips of their ears in inches and to add 2 inches to that as the optimal height.

Measure next from the tip of your dog’s nose to the tip of their tail and add 2 to 4 inches to this as the optimal length. This gives you a good starting point idea of your minimal kennel requirements.

Is a dog kennel too small?

Provided that you have followed or exceeded recommended minimums, it’s still not a good idea to leave your dog in a kennel for too long. They are quite limited in the type of exercise which they can do unless you are using a ‘dog run’ style kennel that gives them a goodly amount of space.

Adult dogs shouldn’t be spending more than 8 hours in a kennel at most, though around 6 hours should be okay if you provide them with bedding, toys, and the kennel is well-insulated. Just remember it’s a little cramped in there, so use the kennel sparingly or your dog may become depressed.

Is it cruel to keep a dog in a kennel outside?

An outside kennel is not cruel, provided that it is not overused, there is plenty of room, and that it is insulated and not going to leave your dog vulnerable to the weather.

Dogs should not be left unattended in an outside kennel for very long periods of time. The weather can change quickly, and your dog could overheat or freeze in a worst-case scenario. Furthermore, isolation is not good for dogs. They are pack animals and too much kennel time can lead to separation anxiety and depression!

Do dogs feel sad in a kennel?

When you have to board your dog in an outside kennel, it can be a little heartbreaking for both of you. The good news, however, is that a recent study seems to indicate that while your dog definitely misses you, the occasional kennel visit can be stimulating for dogs, much the same as a vacation is for us.

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With a good kennel, your dog gets plenty of attention and treats and often gets to play with other dogs. This can make the kennel visit a pleasant diversion, rather than the ‘jailhouse’ scenario we naturally assume. So, if you don’t overdo it and it’s a good kennel, then things aren’t as awful as you think!

Do dogs miss their owners when in kennels?

Dogs definitely miss their owners when they aren’t around. It’s natural for these animals, who form a lifelong bond with their owners – so much so, that even if your dog doesn’t see you for 10 years, they’ll still know you instantly once they catch your scent!

So, don’t worry that your dog will forget you if you have to board them somewhere for a brief time. They’ll definitely miss you but once you return, they’ll forgive you in moments and you can make it up to them with some quality time together.

At what age can you put a dog in kennels?

The typical minimum age for boarding a dog in a kennel will be about 4 months. You will be required to provide health papers on ‘check-in’, so that the kennel staff will know that your dog is vaccinated, and this is completed by 16 weeks.

If your dog has not completed their vaccines then you will not be able to board them, but if you have then just bring those papers along and you should be able to board your dog there.

What type of dog kennel is best?

Typically, larger dogs are better suited for a wire kennel, while smaller dogs seem to prefer cozy plastic ones. You also want to select a crate or kennel that makes for easy transport, so that you can use it if a vet visit is required

There are even folding models that you can put in the trunk if you want to let your dog ride in the car but want a backup option if they get too animated. It all boils down to your specific needs, so be sure to check the available options well before you settle.

What is kennel stress?

Pacing, shaking, and shivering can all be signs of a condition called Kennel Stress. This can occur if a dog is spending too much time in the kennel and not getting enough socialization, or even if recent changes in the bedding or removal of toys has recently occurred.

Watch for signs of this and adjust your dog’s kennel schedule appropriately or set their kennel back to the way it was before. If you need to be out for long periods, consider hiring a dog walker you trust to give your dog a walk so that they get a little socialization and this can work wonders.

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