It may be your intention to take your dog on holidays with you, however it’s not just holidays when your dog may need to be boarded, family emergencies, ill health can all mean you need to find a short term boarding solution for your dog. In the event that friends of family cannot help, then a reputable boarding kennel is the answer, but how do you find one that will give your dog a home away from home experience.
First of all, visit at least three boarding kennels preferably more. When phoning to make the appointment don’t make a snap judgement on the person answering the telephone, they are unlikely to be involved in the care of your dog, and as you know, people who love dogs do not always love people and vice-versa, so the judgement you are making during that initial contact is not, ‘Will I board my dog here’, it’s ‘Will I visit this kennel to see if I will board my dog here’.
What to Ask
Have a short list of questions that you intend to ask all kennels on your visit (not on the phone), you will then have a baseline for judging one kennel against another. Here are some suggestions;
- How long have you held your licence
- Is someone on the premises 24/7
- Are all boarders vaccinated
- What documentation do you want from me and what documentation do you give to me
- In the case of emergency treatment while I am are away, what protocols are in place to ensure all treatment is necessary, and how will I be notified of this
- What routine will my dog have, ask what a typical day will be like
And the most important question
- What do you do for dogs that are homesick and display behaviour such as, not eating, self-chewing etc.
What to Look For
Whilst you are walking around the kennels do you see;
- Staff that are dog friendly and knowledgeable. Some people may think it is important that the staff are friendly and approachable to the owners, and this may be a good point, however, you won’t be staying there, so it’s really important that you see staff interacting with dogs not you or each other.
- Clean facilities, that smell clean. The likelihood is that it will smell ‘doggy’, but it shouldn’t be overpowering, neither should the smell of disinfectant. If you walk around and think ‘hospital’ - walk out.
- That they have taken steps to distance dogs and cats that do not get along if they are a combined kennel and cattery.
- Happy dogs, calm dogs. Not all of the dogs in boarding kennels will be happy and some will be homesick, so do not be afraid to ask what is wrong with a particular dog and use your judgement and instinct to decide whether you are being given a good reason or ‘the brush off’. A good answer to this question would be, ‘He’s very homesick, and we are doing (whatever their strategy is for dealing with homesick dogs) to make his time here more comfortable until his owner comes home’. A bad answer is ‘ Oh he’s always like that, it’s part of his personality’.
Once you have decided on your boarding kennel, if you have time, make one last visit, preferably unannounced to confirm you are happy with your choice. If you have any doubt, do not leave your dog – trust your instincts.
- License: Creative Commons image source
This guest post was written by Jason Balchand from Online Pet Accessories who writes articles on various aspects of pet care to share his knowledge. You can read more of his articles by subscribing to his Facebook and Twitter.