No matter how much you love your dogs, you can’t take them everywhere. There will be times when you go on holiday and they will need a place to stay. Friends and family are always an option, but concerns about imposing on them and how ready they are to take on the responsibility.
If you’re going away, you need the peace of mind that your dog is being well looked after in a safe and comfortable environment. And that means finding a good dog boarding kennel. And we have a few tips to help you get started.
When looking for a good dog boarding kennel, talking to your vet is a great place to start. Most good vets will have professional relationships with the nearby kennels and should be able to recommend reputable kennels that would be appropriate for your dog.
If you have any friends or family with dogs, it’s also worth asking them for recommendations. They may be able to direct you to good kennels they’ve used in the past.
Pet shops can also be good for recommendations (although these may not be independent recommendations as some pet shops may be affiliated with or paid by kennels).
Finally, do your internet research and check out a kennel’s online reviews.
Consider a Sitter
If you have a puppy or a particularly fussy dog, you may be better off using a dog sitter rather than a boarding kennel. Puppies or fussy dogs can get overwhelmed and panicked by the noise and activity in a kennel and they may not be comfortable around a large number of dogs.
A professional dog sitter can provide focused one-on-one care in a calm home environment. Look for recommendations from your vet and always check out references and where the dog will be staying before making your decision.
Talk to Different Kennels
Before visiting different kennels to inspect the facilities, contact the kennels to find out if they can take your dog for your chosen dates and whether they can accommodate your breed and provide any special services your dog may need. This will help to narrow down the shortlist and minimise the legwork you have to do. Remember that most kennels will get extremely busy around holiday times so it’s important to book as far ahead as possible.
Visit the Kennel
Before booking in for the first time, it’s important to visit the kennel in person. Most kennels will be happy to give you a tour of the facilities. If they refuse (it is well within their rights to do so), maybe think twice about booking in there.
While you’re onsite at the kennel, you should take the chance to find out a bit about the staff. You can ask what kind of training the staff have, how many staff will be on hand at any one time and whether there is someone present 24 hours a day in case of emergency. Remember, these people will be looking after your dog so you want to make sure they are properly trained and serious animal lovers.
Inspect the Accommodation
You want to make sure that your dog will be comfortable and happy during its stay, so checking out the accommodation is essential. First find out if each dog has its own space or if they are “double stacked”. This is a common practice in the pet resort business where multiple dogs from different homes are put into a single accommodation area. In some cases, this can result in stress and anxiety for the dog or even injuries.
You should also ensure that the accommodation includes sufficient light and ventilation and is clean and hygienic. You can ask how regularly the accommodations are cleaned, whether the bedding is provided and how often the bedding is cleaned.
Activities and Exercise
Besides the accommodation areas, you should also inspect the recreation or exercise areas. Ensure that it’s secure and there’s no chance of your dog escaping. It should be safe with no potentially dangerous hazards that the dogs can injure themselves on. Also check that it’s clean and large enough to provide space for the dogs to run.
Find out how often they are let out into the play areas and for how long. Also ensure that they are supervised at all times.
Medical and Vet Services
When looking into different boarding kennels, it’s important to find out how they handle medical issues. If your dog has an accident or gets sick, you want to know that it will receive the best treatment possible as quickly as possible.
Find out what the kennel’s policies and procedures are for handling medical emergencies. It’s worth asking if there are staff on hand that are trained to provide pet first aid.
Most good kennels will have a close working relationship with a nearby vet. You can ask for information about this vet and whether they provide 24/7 emergency medical services.
If your dog requires regular medication or treatment during its stay, you should also discuss how this will be provided. Finally, you should find out up front how additional medical costs will be managed if your dog requires treatment during its stay.
Remember, a dog’s first time in a kennel can be difficult. So for the sake of your pup and your own peace of mind, you want to make sure you find a reputable, reliable and high quality boarding kennel.