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The veterinary industry prides itself on innovation – whether clinic design that keeps abreast of wider architectural trends, or technological healthcare advancements like 3D printing, telemedicine and magnetic resonance imaging [1]. However, there has been a significant lack of innovation when it comes to animal housing, which has seen little in the way of advancements since the 1950s [2]. Commonly used is the material and design of yesteryear – stainless steel 304 – largely due to a lack of viable alternatives over the years.

For the veterinary profession to prioritise pet wellness, standards of housing must be elevated. Conventional housing offerings face several issues, including:

  • Noise levels
  • Poor indoor quality
  • Potential lack of sufficient light
  • Aesthetic appearance
  • Difficulty in maintaining cleanliness and hygiene


The noise problem

It is no secret that kennels can be loud. However, a study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has indicated that the extreme sound levels in kennels could cause hearing loss in kennel workers; reaching a decibel level that frequently ranges from 100-120dB(A)[3]. 

According to the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the levels of safe hearing for humans tops out at 90dB(A) for 8 hour/day [4]. When the decibel level is 115, the maximum exposure is 15 minutes per day without protection [5]. It is not only human hearing that is affected; excessive noise levels pose welfare concerns for dogs, too – elevating stress levels and anxiety – as well as threaten their hearing ability [6]. 

But where does this noise come from? The slamming of a steel cage can reach 90dB(A) [7]; a golden retriever’s bark may exceed 100dB(A) [8]. There is then the reverberation from surfaces like kennels, exam and treatment tables – and stainless steel highly resonates sound.


Ventilation & airflow

Multiple studies cite that providing good air quality is critical for ensuring animal welfare. Adequate ventilation first and foremost acts as a biosecurity measure, reducing the risk of airborne disease transmission and eliminating potential cross-contamination in turn [9]. Poor ventilation and airflow also affect staff wellbeing, and the revolving door of owners, too. However, veterinarian spaces are prone to poor quality of indoor air – due to odours, humidity, chemicals, necessary heavy cleaning and pet hair.


Lighting concerns

Lighting is, of course, a necessity for a veterinary practice. However, if pet patients do not have reprieve from lighting, it can provide undesired stimulation to those who need rest to recover, preventing vital time spent sleeping and therefore healing. Fluorescent lights can prove irritating to canines, who may be susceptible to flicker [10], and it can disturb their natural sleep pattern.


Aesthetic appearance

It is not surprising that the appearance of stainless-steel kennels has been likened to that of jail cells, with their wire-front bars. Studies have shown that the appearance is off-putting to humans; in shelters or pounds, prospective adopters are more likely to visit when not confronted with ‘jail-like’ cages [11].

Its appearance can also be dangerous; veterinarians have also reported instances of animals – particularly canines, who charge the door out of fear or aggression – becoming entrapped and needing to be extracted, either using restraints, sedatives or having to cut through the stainless steel itself.


Issues with cleanliness & hygiene

The wire-front bars also pose an issue with biosafety. Animals can come into contact with one another, encouraging the spread of infectious disease. Moreover, when surveyed, a number of veterinarians commented on how much time it took to thoroughly clean and sanitise a traditional stainless-steel kennel. Although stainless steel is known for its durability, it can still corrode, pit or discolour over time – particularly when continuously exposed to heavy alkaloid chemicals and bleach. This includes bleach standing wet on stainless steel for more than two minutes, or when bleach is allowed to evaporate and dry on surfaces [12]. Environmental conditions – like high humidity or salt water – may also contribute to material decay.

Cleaning guidelines for stainless steel even state animal hair being allowed to collect around legs, hinges, casters and welded wire intersections as a factor that can degrade stainless steel [12].


A material issue

For over 25 years, CASCO Pet has been designing and manufacturing housing for the retail pet segment, zoos, public aquariums – counting household names like PetSmart, Petco and Kolle Zoo as customers. With a history of providing first class solutions for these types of animal enclosures – all crafted with specialist safety glass – revolutionising veterinary clinical housing was a natural evolution; utilising the benefits of glass to offer a radical alternative to conventional kennelling. And interesting solution to the outlined problems the veterinary industry faces, it was chosen as the material for WELLKennels, an innovative range of veterinary kennels.


Solving issues with noise

Glass is, in fact, a material that is recommended as a ‘veterinarian intervention’ for lowering levels of distress in animals attending veterinary clinics. Unlike stainless steel, glass is a ‘noise reducing’ material, that eliminates sources of audible stimuli [13].

Both studies and real-life applications have found a decrease in noise levels when comparing WELLKennels with its stainless-steel counterpart; US-based veterinary care chain, Urgent Vet, stated adopting WELLKennels for all of its new clinics resulted in significant noise improvement that was 70% quieter than metal cages [14].


Solving issues with ventilation & airflow

We have seen how adequate ventilation primarily acts as a biosecurity measure. It also assists in the reduction of humidity, which is a very important factor, as elevated levels of humidity can lead to heat stress in animals, and moist environments favour the survival of disease agents [9]. Proper ventilation also helps with cleanliness and hygiene – reducing odours and facilitating the drying of surfaces after cleaning.

A CASCO Pet WELLKennel is designed to function with negative air flow in either passive or active ventilation; the ventilation port on the ceiling of each kennel can be opened or closed to regulate air flow. The glass kennel doors also have ventilation holes drilled into the glass; an acrylic conversion panel can be designed to overlay on the kennel door for conversion to an oxygen cage.


Solving issues with lighting

Lighting plays a critically important role in the overall health and wellness of animals – and a significant role on clinic aesthetics. Relying wholly on lighting at a room level – as opposed to individual patient level – is a missed opportunity.

CASCO Pet’s patented DRC Lighting System meets the fundamental needs of animals in day housing, treatment, and recovery, as well as those that need to be observed while resting; it can be individualised to each patients’ requirements and allows for non-disruptive continuous overnight monitoring. In addition, the innovative cleaning mode facilitates greater biosafety and hygiene levels thanks to its blue UVA light. 


Solving issues with aesthetics

Eliminating the jail cell look which is standard across animal housing has been a huge accomplishment. Veterinarians who have adopted WELLKennels have reported improved employee morale and client perception, due to change in aesthetic. Research has shown that well-designed accommodation enables improved standards of husbandry, in turn making for healthier animal patients who are more likely to display natural behaviours [15], aiding their recovery.

The shade of blue chosen for WELLKennels was a direct result of surveying pet owners, presenting animal owners with various colour choices and asking them which appeared the warmest and cosiest for their pets. In addition, studies have found that dogs have a colour preference for blue, and both dogs and cats are ‘blue shifted’ [16,17]. 


Solving issues with cleanliness and hygiene

Adequate ventilation and the CASCO Pet DRC Lighting System have been seen to assist with a higher standard of cleanliness and hygiene. In addition, glass doors prevent patients from coming into contact with each other – maintaining levels of biosafety. The straightforward surfaces of WELLKennels are extremely easy to clean, without having to spend time cleaning each individual wire bar, hinge and welded intersection; as one would have to with stainless steel kennels. 


Reducing animal fear, anxiety and stress

Fear Free® is a global movement to reduce fear, anxiety and stress in practices and clinics, for the benefit of companion animals. A crucial element in achieving this lies with better facility and equipment design. CASCO Pet has aligned with Fear Free®  in the following ways to meet these important criteria:

  • Partially frosted glass doors on WELLKennels allow animals to break eye contact from other animals and veterinary technicians.
  • Tempered glass construction absorbs sound, providing a quieter environment for animals and staff.
  • Dimmable lighting provides a comforting environment; infrared lighting allows animals to be observed while resting undisturbed.
  • Better ventilation and airflow at the animal level allows for a healthier environment.




Housing is a necessary fixture for veterinary clinics, practices and hospitals – but it has the potential to be much more. Antiquated equipment contributes to well-documented problems and does not significantly aid the healing of animals. The evolution of animal housing is a need; it can provide a better standard of veterinary care and result in improved pet wellness.

CASCO Pet’s WELLKennels are not only a housing tool, but a wellness one – helping the healing of animal patients, improving aesthetics and client perception, and boosting employee morale. When given a choice between WELLKennels and traditional stainless housing for their companion animals, pet parents preferred WELLKennels – on every survey received. 



Advancing Pet Wellness & Veterinary Care with Modern Animal Housing

Authorship Information:


Co-Author - Scott Robins



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9648472/

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1583328/pdf/vetsci00084-0025.pdf

[3] https://extension.purdue.edu/extmedia/VA/VA-3-W.pdf

[4] https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.95

[5] https://www.msdmanuals.com/home/multimedia/table/measurement-of-loudness

[6] https://avmajournals.avma.org/view/journals/ajvr/73/4/ajvr.73.4.482.xml

[7] https://www.uwsheltermedicine.com/library/resources/facility-design-and-animal-housing

[8] https://www.cdc.gov/hearing-loss/causes/

[9] https://www.msd-animal-health.ie/offload-downloads/guide-to-infectious-disease-control-in-multi-dog-environments/

[10] https://academicworks.cuny.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1935&context=hc_sas_etds

[11] https://catcare.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Environmental-and-infection-control-guidelines-for-cattery-operations.pdf

[12] https://shor-line.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Stainless-Steel-Cleaning-Care-Guide.pdf

[13] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0168159118303277?via%3Dihub

[14] https://urgentvet.com/news/casco-enclosures/

[15] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1098612X18781388

[16] https://prizedwriting.ucdavis.edu/sites/prizedwriting.ucdavis.edu/files/sitewide/pastissues/07%E2%80%9308%20WONG.pdf

[17] https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2013.2995

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