Dogs are part of the family, but sometimes traveling with them isn’t feasible. Fortunately, boarding kennels are available to take over pet-care duties. Though nothing compares to you and your pal’s special relationship, each year millions of pet owners utilize a variety of pet kennels, from traditional to luxurious.
When choosing a kennel, or even a home service, it’s important to get the opinion of someone you trust. Ask your veterinarian and his employees for recommendations in your area. Collect a list of reputable facilities and visit each one. Talk to the staff and observe their interactions with the dogs in the facility. Take note of the appearance. Can they send you videos of your dog? Is it safe, clean and secure? Inquire if someone is there 24/7 and ask about their procedures in case of an emergency. Is there a veterinarian on site or on-call, or is there a vet’s office nearby? A little time and homework before you drop your furry friend off can save you unnecessary worrying, stress and possible heartache later.
So, now you have decided you are definitely going on that vacation and you can’t take your dog. There are several different types of kennels to choose from. For example, training kennels are best suited for those furry friends who could use some house training! Then you have the traditional kennel where the dogs are in an indoor run of their own or, some may have access to the outdoors as well. There are private kennels that are best suited for socially anxious or special needs pets requiring more one-on-one care. There are the luxury kennels that may have a heated swimming pool or two, homemade fur-baby furniture, freshly baked treats, messages (I want to go there!) and, a bigger staff for more one-on-one attention! Also, don’t forget that there are services where people are offering either their home to your pooch or, some will stay at your home so your dog has all his/her familiar surroundings to minimize any stress and, the cats are taken care of too!
If you decide on the kennel option and are wondering how to choose the best one, here are a few pointers to help you get started:
- Locate the most convenient kennels: Rather than dashing off to all the kennels you know of, take a few minutes to jot down the closest and most convenient locations to drop off and pick up your furry friend. Use Google, ask friends about their experiences and you could even check with a local Better Business Bureau for reviews and customer ratings on local kennels.
- Contact: Once you’ve shortlisted a few kennels, ensure that you call (or if possible, chat online via., their website) with each kennel, to know if they can take your pet during your vacation dates. Ensure they accept your particular breed, and state any special care needs (a very young pup, an untrained one or one which requires medication etc.). Find out what vaccinations are required.
- Visit: Once you do visit a Pet Boarding facility, be sure to look around and ask specifically to have a look at where your fur baby will be staying. The area should look and feel clean and must certainly be safe, i.e., no area/items that could hurt your pooch. Do you see smoke detectors and a sprinkler system? NOTE: In case the kennel has a no visitors’ policy, you should be allowed to at least view the doggy house through a window or on camera.
- Security: Some of your furry buddies may be expert climbers or diggers or have the ability to unhook an un-attended door to let itself out. Hence ask to get extra fencing, wired coverings, locks etc.
- Trained Staff: Properly trained and certified staff should be present during the day and the night. You could also check on the staff to pets ratio and the number of staff is less, look for a different facility, since the safety and proper care of your pets will determine your furry buddy’s comfort level as well as your peace of mind. Having an on-call Vet as well is an added bonus.
- Certified Facility: The facility should hold proper licenses as prescribed by the state and be certified by the Chief License Inspector. The kennels that are a member of animal welfare associations, such as boarding/kennel associations, ensure that high standards of pet care and pet grooming are followed.
All of these ideas are meant to keep you from investing too much time on a kennel that can’t accommodate you.
We hope you find this helpful and can now comfortably leave your furry friend in the most experienced hands you can find and go ahead and enjoy your vacation! What do you think?