Making Your Dog Den Last Forever by Steve Snell
The Dog Den dog houses made by K-9 Kondo are the best dog houses I have ever used. I have several houses that are 8 or 9 years old and they are still in pretty good shape. Over the years I have found a few things that you can do to make these houses hold up over time.
All of the K-9 houses and barrel kits are made from galvanized steel. While galvanized steel doesn't normally rust, it will turn a dull color and tends to get a weathered look to it. This isn't a big issue, but some folks might prefer to paint them to keep them looking good.
However, cosmetics aren't the only reason to protect the metal on your dog house -- one thing that can rip the zinc out of galvanized steel is urine, and over time this will cause your dog house to rust.
I have three Dog Dens that are in my back yard for the dogs that stay up at the house. None of these are painted and they still look pretty new. The houses that are in my kennel runs are a different story. These houses get exposed to urine in several ways.
I have a few male dogs that will mark their houses. I have the occasional dog that will urinate inside the house. I also have had times where a dog walks through urine on the kennel floor and then jumps on the roof of the house or walks inside. Sometimes I have sprayed urine on a house as I was washing out the kennel run. No matter how hard you try, a dog house in a kennel run is going to get exposed to urine, and over time that dog house will rust.
To keep the houses in kennel runs from rusting you need to paint all the metal parts. I have used several different kinds of paint and all work well. Any good exterior paint that can be used on metal will do the job. I have had the best success using the same material that is used to protect truck bed liners. You can either purchase the material to do it yourself, or for a fee you can have your local auto place do it for you. Either way you end up with a super tough shell that will protect your house for years.
If you have your house inside the run, you may also want to have the roof done with a non-slick finish. Many of my dogs love to sleep on the top of the house during the warmer months. I like to have a rougher finish on the roof so that they don't slide across it when they jump on it.
Another thing that I do to my houses is add two additional pieces to the wooden frame. The instructions for the Dog Den houses call for a raised base using exterior 2 x 4's, assembled in an "H" pattern. I found that with the "H" design, hair and feces get under the house and it has to be moved to clean underneath it. To solve this problem, I added two extra pieces to close up the top and bottom openings of the "H". Now, nothing gets under the houses when I wash out my runs. Be sure to keep the middle brace because it is important to stabilize the floor. This makes for a cleaner and better smelling dog kennel.