How to Shade Dog Kennels and Dog Parks

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Many facilities provide outdoor kennel space for dogs even if they have adequate indoor space. Some kennels or boarding homes only have outdoor space to house their animals. Most dog parks offer very little in the way of shade from the heat. In all these cases, a shade structure outdoors could help these dogs stay cool during the hot season.

Why do dogs need a shady space?

Our canine pals need a break from the heat more often than we do. It’s a common misconception that dogs can handle the heat as much or better than humans. Here are a few ways in which your pup can become overheated and need time in the shade.

Short hair:

It’s generally not recommended to shave the body hair off of your dog. While excessive hair would make most humans sweat, dogs can actually stay cool with their layers of fur kept intact. A normal trim now and then by a professional groomer is all that’s needed to maintain their natural coat. If a dog’s hair is too short, sunburn can happen.

No shoes:

Unlike ourselves, dogs do not get to wear shoes. You can imagine on hot surfaces such as concrete or asphalt how hot temperatures can escalate. On a blistering summer day, a dog’s foot pads can easily get scorched and become very uncomfortable. Try finding a way to walk your furry friend on grass as much as possible.

Over exercise:

Be careful not to over exercise your dog. You may think that your pet is going to be fine on your three-mile run, but in fact that might be too much for him/her. Keep in mind, dogs don’t always want to stop playing just because you do. Learn the signs of an overheated dog, which may start with excessive drooling, panting, or heavy breathing.

Sun Exposure:

Dogs without hair (whether naturally or from a recent surgery) or dogs with short hair such as Great Danes, Beagles, or Foxhounds can get sunburn like humans with prolonged sun exposure. In fact, many breeds can get sunburn but dogs with more hair have added protection and can endure the outdoors for longer periods. Dogs with white fur are more likely to get sunburn than other pets.

SPF factor:

While some dogs can use a type of sunscreen, owners may find that even pet safe sunscreens are often licked off and thus not an ideal way of protecting pets. Epi-Pet Sun Protector is one product that has FDA approval. For all the reasons stated above, a shade structure might make the most sense for commercial organizations and have a better return for your facility.

Shade Structures for Dogs

So, what types of shades would work well at a dog kennel? How about at a dog park? The most obvious choice is a larger shade structure to allow both pets and their owners to roam under the structure and to stay out of the sun. Due to its’ fabric nature, a shade structure also can offer better airflow underneath the canopy. Some parks have shelters instead, which is fine in winter months but provides less airflow than a traditional shade in warmer weather.

Type of shade:

Sail shades, square shades, and rectangular shades are the most common choices for pet parks.  Square shade structures usually range from 10’ x 10’ to 38’ x 38’ and can be placed over concrete or turf. Rectangular shades range from 13’ x 20’ to over 40’ in width. Superior Shade carries over 25 sizes and can create custom options as well. All of these structures can be made in 8’, 10’, or 12’ eave height.

Shade material:

Shade fabrics range in quality from cheap nylon sails to quality polyethylene. Superior Shade uses fabric that is 80% water repellent with UV stabilization that helps to resist fading in the sun. Our shades are made of a high density polyethylene and block up to 99% of dangerous UV rays depending on color. This fabric breathes and will allow warmer air to escape which helps keep things cool below the canopy. This fabric is Rachel-knitted which helps to prevent fraying over time. Shade structures 34’ and larger come with Kevlar® reinforced corners.

Steel posts are most common in the industry for support. Superior offers steel tubing that complies with ASTM standards and is coated with a 3-millimeter zinc-rich, rust inhibiting primer and a 3-millimeter powder coat paint. This balance helps to prevent paint from flaking.

Color options:

Some shade manufacturers have a limited scope of what a color palette should be. Superior Shade prides itself on selection and customization. We offer our traditional shade fabric and our steel frame in several color options. This allows you, the buyer, a wide range of options for customizing a shade canopy for your dog facility.

Shade placement:

Installing a shade structure is done in one of three ways. Surface installation is performed when the client already has a concrete slab in place. A steel base plate that complies with ASTM A-36 standard is used to anchor the shade post to the concrete. Sub-surface installation is when a base plate is used below the surface to provide stability but with a different appearance above ground. Embedded installation is performed in open spaces when no concrete slab is present. This in-ground placement is done with poured concrete support footers which are most common at dog park locations.

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