If it’s not possible to bring your dog along on a family vacation or leave him with a trusted friend or family member, you may consider a reputable boarding facility. Although there have been horror stories about disreputable kennels, there may be a great “bed and biscuit” in your area and your dog may even enjoy the company of other dogs. Without a doubt all kennels are not the same. DO your homework on them — some can be full-service and provide grooming, massages, and aromatherapy, while others not so much…
You’ll need to do some research to reassure yourself and take a tour ahead of time. Here are some tips to notice on your tour to make it easier for yourself, your dog and the kennel staff:
- How big are the kennels or runs? Are there both indoor and outdoor?
- Is there adequate ventilation and light?
- Is the kennel kept at a comfortable temperature?
- How many times a day is the dog exercised? Are they exercised individually or in a group?
- Am I allowed to bring my dog’s favorite blanket, toys and food? If I don’t bring my own food, what type of food is provided?
- How many times a day are the general areas cleaned so they don’t smell? Are the kennels cleaned after each boarder?
- Is EVERY dog up-to-date on current vaccinations?
- If your dog has special needs can these be accommodated?
- How many times a day is the dogs fed? Is there clean water in the bowls?
- What are the qualifications of the staff?
- What is the policy when your dog gets sick? Are the dogs taken to a 24/7 clinic or a veterinarian close by?
- How secure is the facility? Is it locked overnight? Are the outdoor fences at least 6’ high?
- Is the facility accredited by the American Kennel Association?
- Can I put a video cam in the kennel so I can interact with my dog or see how he is doing?
- Are cats and dogs kept separately?
- Are any other services provided like grooming, nail clipping and bathing?
- What are there hours of operation of pickup and drop offs?
The best way to choose a kennel might be to ask your veterinarian, friends or family members. Also check with your local better business bureau for reports or write-ups.
As you are dropping your dog off, be strong. He/she can pick up on your anxiety or distress at your departure!
If you are happy, thank the boarding staff for a job well done. They are taking care of your dog and you want them to feel appreciated so they continue to do a good job. If you board your dog often, consider tipping the staff or getting some extra goodies for them!