Use the links above to access information on the housing, husbandry and care of dogs.

An expert working group produced a report on refining dog husbandry and care. The report includes factors to consider for housing which promotes good welfare:Dogs playing during their exercise period - RDS.Wellcome

  • Provide pens of sufficient space to permit housing in socially compatible groups, allow separate areas for defecation, activity and resting/sleeping, and allow essential enrichment such that the dogs can perform a wide range of normal behaviour
  • Provide pens of sufficient depth to allow retreat
  • Allow good visibility of the room outside the pen whilst still allowing a semi-enclosed area for privacy and control over social interactions
  • Provide bitches with a secluded area for whelping out of sight of other dogs and free from disturbance
  • Offer interest and choice (e.g. of location, height and social contact); in some circumstances choice can be provided through the management practices of the entire facility; in many cases it will be necessary to provide choice within the pen environment
  • Provide objects to chew, presented so that the dog can hold them in a species-typical fashion
  • Provide toys for the expression of species-typical postures and activities
  • Provide a choice of microenvironment within the pen (e.g. light, temperature, noise)
  • Provide a warm, dry, draught-free area for resting/sleeping within the pen
  • Allow flexibility in running pens together
  • Design and construct pens so as to facilitate refurbishment and remodelling as knowledge develops and improves understanding of the housing needs of dogs
  • Control noise through facility design and construction (e.g. by incorporating noise absorbent ceilings, upper walls and/or baffles), pen furniture and enrichment, and the use of good management practices
  • Limit the number of dogs in a room to around 20 to reduce allelomimetic barking

    The first video below shows a small group of beagles exploring a designated indoor exercise/activity area, containing suspended toys, chews, plastic boxes and raised platforms with ramps. 

    The second video shows social play among a larger group of dogs in a play area complete with child's sandpit, tunnel, toys and dog chews. Enriched areas of this kind increase environmental stimulation and choice for the dogs dramatically, and should be used in preference to leaving dogs housed in their pens.

 

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Resources

References

  • Refining dog husbandry and care: Eighth Report of the BVA(AWF)/FRAME/RSPCA/UFAW Joint Working Group on Refinement. 
    View PDF

  • Comfortable quarters for dogs in research institutions . 
    Open Link

Discussions

  • LAREF - Laboratory Animal Refinement and Enrichment Forum -- For exchange of experiences about ways to improve the conditions under which laboratory animals are housed and handled.
    Open Link

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