If you’re a pet owner, you may have seen stainless steel kennels in your veterinary clinic; as a veterinarian, nurse or clinician, you’ve undoubtedly worked with them at some point in your career. 

Around for more than six decades, stainless steel kennels are, unfortunately, still a mainstay at many clinics, hospitals and shelters today. But when it comes to the question of ‘What is the best material for a kennel’, they are no longer the answer. 

Stainless steel kennels are ‘excessively noisy’

In a survey of more than 650 veterinary professionals at leading veterinary shows across the UK and USA, 75% of respondents working with stainless steel kennels cited ‘excessive noise’ as a challenge. Perhaps no surprise, when you consider the typical opening of metal cage doors can reach more than 90 decibels – a source of concern, given 85 dBA is the level at which sounds are considered damaging to human hearing.

Then there’s the issue of reverberation. The bark of a single dog can reach an alarming level of 100 dBA (for comparison, that’s louder than an industrial fire alarm and reaching the noise levels of a nightclub), with the sound bouncing off kennel walls, floors, tables and veterinary equipment. Sound levels within these kennels have been found to reach detrimental levels of up to 120 dBA.

This excessive noise poses a serious health and welfare concern to pet patients, creating stress for all involved and impeding patient recovery  – something highlighted by our survey findings. Almost nine in 10 respondents said they had witnessed patient anxiety from kennel noise, a quarter reported animal injury and 22.35% cited extended recovery time for patients. 

It’s an issue which can cause problems for clinic staff too; 52.84% of the respondents said it had also resulted in staff stress – with more than a quarter facing challenging working conditions. Shockingly, almost one in five reported instances of staff injury as a result. 

’Jail-like’ appearance

Then there’s the matter of aesthetics. While the saying goes “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, in the case of stainless steel veterinary kennels, the judgment may be justified. 

Described as ‘jail-like’ by animal not-for-profits, these industrial looking kennels have been found to put people off, with prospective adopters more likely to visit a shelter or pound if not confronted by stainless steel kennels. Demonstrating this further, in a separate survey of 1,291 cat and dog owners, 70% of respondents said they would choose a WELLKennel over a stainless steel cage when shown images of each. You can see why: given the choice, would you opt for a cold, noisy metal cage with an obstructed view or a quieter, calmer and warmer enclosure with clearer visibility?

Factor in also, that poor cat housing – specifically “small, stainless steel, single-compartment caging” that “remains common in many veterinary clinics” – has been identified as having a substantially negative impact on both animal health and wellbeing. 

Lighting & temperature issues

Consider, too, the issue of lighting, which can affect an animal’s physiology, morphology and behavior. With a barred kennel, there is no individual lighting system – only room lights. If one patient needs to be examined? It’s lights on for all, disrupting patients’ circadian rhythms and consequently their rest – which can be detrimental to recovery.

It’s been stated that steel cages – often used for laboratory animals – create a “cool, dark housing environment” that could potentially interfere with the normal physiology of the animal, the opposite of what’s needed in recovery. It’s an issue felt within the veterinary clinic; more than half of veterinary professionals (55.68%) surveyed who work with stainless steel kennels declared temperature issues as one of the top challenges experienced with this housing.

When it comes to the disadvantages of stainless steel kennels, the list seems endless.

A 21st century solution

WELLKennels have been designed to elevate patient care by improving standards of clinical housing, to offer a modern, radical alternative to traditional stainless steel cages.

Our state-of-the-art kennels significantly reduce noise levels within clinic, crafted from specialist glass, a material recommended by experts as a ‘veterinarian intervention’ due to its ability to eliminate sources of audible stimuli. Mitigating ambient cage noise lowers levels of animal distress in veterinary spaces and improves patient safety, creating a safer and more comfortable environment for patients and, consequently, staff. 

Urgent Vet, a US-based veterinary chain, has reported that WELLKennels are 70% quieter than traditional metal cages. And, in our survey of veterinary professionals, 71% selected noise reduction as one of the most appealing features of WELLKennels. 

Customizable lighting & heat control

With built-in thermostatically controlled heat mats, heating can be customized to the patient, with warmer and cooler areas within each kennel. Enabling animals to self-regulate their temperature is crucial for optimum comfort, with heat proven to be beneficial in reducing pain as well as improving circulation.

 WELLKennels can also be equipped with our patented DRC Lighting System – a three-way system offering Daylight, Recovery and Cleaning modes. Considering animals’ circadian rhythms, it allows for the tailoring of the environment to individual animal needs. Staff are also provided with easy accessibility and visibility to patients, no matter the time of day.

WELLKennels – bringing benefits to all

Well-designed clinical housing is essential to improving standards of animal husbandry, as well as facilitating a better working environment for clinical staff.

By reducing stress points for the animal – of which noise is a particularly egregious one – the calmer atmosphere and reduced dBA level make for a safer and more comfortable work setting and reduced instances of staff injury. The specialist glass construction of WELLKennels allows for ease of patient monitoring, greater operational efficiency and streamlined workflow – benefitting staff morale and retention. 

There’s the wider business benefit too. Reducing patient fear and stress at the vets can lead to a better overall experience, in turn boosting client confidence and encouraging return visits. This can secure greater profitability for your business, especially when considering that 69.74% of pet parents surveyed said they were willing to travel further and pay more to visit a clinic with WELLKennels.

The numbers don’t lie. The evidence speaks for itself. It’s time to say goodbye to noisy, stressful stainless steel cages and welcome in a new era of superior veterinary clinical housing, with WELLKennels.