Choosing a Kennel

Although we always have a pet sitter when we’re not able to travel with our pets, for some pets and people a boarding kennel may be the best solution. Boarding kennels are cover a whole variety of establishments, from basic boarding to luxury “pet resorts” with private rooms, in-room movies for your dog, and more.

Many veterinary hospitals offer boarding services but this may not be the best place to board your pet UNLESS they have a separate staff and facility designated for boarding. After all, how would you feel hanging out in a human hospital for a few days? It’s not the same as a hotel, is it! However, many veterinary hospitals have a separate staff and facility designated for boarding, making it a good option.

How can you select a good kennel where your dog will be happy and safe and you’ll feel comfortable leaving him so you can enjoy your trip without worry? Here are some things to consider when choosing the right kennel for your pet:

Clean Boarding Facility

As with a hotel where you’d spend the night, the cleanliness of a kennel says a lot about a place. Select a facility where the employees quickly clean up after “accidents” and there isn’t a lot flea-scratching going on. Do not leave your pet anywhere that does not require him to be up to date on current vaccinations, including a negative fecal check.

Exercise

Check out the kennel arrangement.  Will your dog be in an inside/outside kennel where they’re able to go outside to take care of business and enjoy the weather and smells? This may be all the older or inactive dog needs. Do the employees regularly exercise the dogs? High energy dogs need to be walked, played with, or allowed to play with other dogs. Check to see how and when they exercise the animals and if there is any extra cost involved.

Availability

Many people take their vacations at the same time of year, putting popular kennels in a real crunch. During major holidays and peak travel times, you may need to book a kennel a long time in advance.   You’ll also want to explore their hours of operation. Some kennels are closed on Sunday or at night so you can’t just drop off or pick up your pet whenever you want. Will your pet be okay if he ends up staying an extra day at the beginning of your trip and another day after you’ve gotten back?

Feeding

Find out what food they will feed your pet, and how often.   You want the food to be a quality dog food and you want your dog fed twice a day.  Some kennels will give you the option of bringing along your own food.  Will they be able to administer your pet’s medications, if applicable? And can your dog have his own favorite blanket along with him? Most kennels won’t allow chew toys and other potential choking hazards but a blanket can be comforting to your dog while you’re away.

Ask your veterinarian if they know of any good boarding facilities. Often they know the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to kennels in your area. Just be sure to visit any kennel you are considering for your pet in person. You may even want to take your pet along for the ride so he can tell you what he thinks of the place too!