Whether you are going on holiday or spending some short time away from home, you may be unable to take your dog with you. It can be a difficult and worrying time when deciding the best place to leave your dog in your absence. You want your dog to be somewhere where he is happy, content and cared for like he is at home and not stressed or panicking. You may consider placing them in a reputable boarding kennel, but it is always a good idea to have a look around well in advance so that you have enough time to make the right decision. It is always best to give yourself enough time to make alternative arrangements if it is not the right setting for your dog.
Finding a Boarding Kennel
You probably won’t know where to start when searching for a boarding kennel, but recommendation is always a good idea. Start by asking your neighbours, local vet or local dog walker if they know of any kennels - and if they do, have they heard good things or have had a good experience with them? Another route you could go down is searching the internet, local paper or posters in pet shops - as many boarding kennels use these platforms to advertise their business. If some boarding kennels are only small then they may board the dogs in their home. This is much better if your dog is quite nervous, however, they must have the correct insurance to perform this.
Once you have narrowed it down to a few then you should ring around to check that they can accommodate your pet on the dates that you require. Make sure that the person who takes your call is knowledgeable, can answer any questions or concerns that you may have and is reassuring that it is the best for your pet. Always ask to look around beforehand as you want to know where your pet will be staying before you make the final decision.
Have a Look Around
Never board your dog somewhere that will not allow you to look around before they stay. However, it is important to book an appointment with them first, as if you turn up unannounced then they may not have a member of staff free at that time to show you around - and boarding kennels can be quite hectic. Apart from ensuring that the kennel is up to the highest standards and is a suitable size for your dog, there are some other main things that you should always look out for.
A good kennel will be free of bad odours and waste, and should always look and smell clean due to being well ventilated. The staff should keep on top of any urine and waste on the walls by cleaning up on a regular basis to stop any bad bacteria spreading.
They should always be safe and secure ensuring that your dog cannot escape at any time. You should check visually that there are no sharp edges within the kennel where your dog could hurt himself.
All staff should have some sort of animal care qualification; however, it is not always possible that every member of staff can be qualified to the highest standard. A good quality boarding kennel will ensure that a fully qualified member of staff is on site at all times and every staff member is training in doggy first aid. When you are looking around check that all staff love what they do, are knowledgeable, experienced and care for each pet like they are their own. Staff should make notes about each dog’s requirements such as diet needs and information such as their favourite toy or bed. They should do everything they can to make sure your dog has a happy, fun and content experience whilst in their care.
Any quality boarding kennel will let dogs out of their kennel daily to ensure that they don’t get bored. Some kennels may have a small outdoor area attached to the indoor kennel where they can go at their own free will throughout the day. Alternatively, some have a large, enclosed space where they will let the dogs out a few times a day and some will even take them for walks. Before choosing a kennel, you should check that they can meet your dog’s exercise needs.
Insurance and Liability
Anyone who runs a commercial boarding kennel must have the correct and up to date insurance and public liability to protect the dogs in their care. Most kennels who have these will display the certificates on the wall where visible so that potential clients on visits can feel at ease knowing their dog will be protected. If you can’t see the certificates anywhere on your visit, then you should ask to see it. If they have no insurance or public liability, then you should not leave your pet in their care.
If you have looked around a few boarding kennels and don’t like what you see or don’t like the idea of leaving your dog in one, then a pet sitter may be more appropriate. This is where a professional pet carer comes into your home and cares for your dog from the comfort of your own home. This may be a better idea if your dog suffers from separation anxiety or if they don’t get on with other dogs very well. Whatever choice you make you should always give yourself plenty of time to decide to ensure both you and your dog are happy.
For information on taking your dog away with you, check out our guide here for tips and advice. If you’re planning on taking your dog abroad with you, then why not also have a look at our guide to getting a dog passport.