There may be times when you feel you have no choice but to put your dog in a boarding kennel. Although you may worry that he will be unhappy while he’s there, if you take the time to find a well established, clean, tidy and reputable facility the chances are he’ll have a great time – although there’s no doubt that he will be delighted to see you again at the end of his stay!
There are no guarantees that any kennel will be up to standard, so make some enquiries before you commit to a reservation. Begin with:
- Personal recommendation: ask you dog-owning friends where they send their dogs.
- Notice boards at your veterinary surgery, pet shop or grooming parlour.
- Local Press.
- Telephone directories.
Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of kennels, arrange to visit them all. Cross any off your list that do not welcome your visits and/or will not allow you access to the entire facility.
First Impressions: Is it clean and tidy? Are there gaps between kennels to prevent the transmission of disease?
Licence: Most local authorities will issue a certificate and this should be on display.
Vaccinations: Avoid any kennel that will take pets without seeing up-to–date certificates.
Kennels: Are they draught free? Is there heating at night? Do they look clean?
Exercise: Are the dogs taken out for walks, alone or in a group? Do they have access to a run? If so, how often?
Cost: Ask for the day rate. Does heating, special food or administering medications cost extra?
Illness: What is the kennel’s policy if your dog is taken ill while you are away?
Insurance: What cost does the kennel owner have if your dog gets lost, injured or, worst of all, dies while in their care?
There are some doggy hotels that offer such home comforts as armchairs, music, central heating, home-cooked cuisine and even supervised access to a heated doggy swimming pool. While these establishments cost more, you may decide that knowing your pet is living in the lap of luxury while you are away warrants the extra cost.
It is recommended that dogs are not left alone for longer than four hours or they can develop behavioural and psychological problems. Some kennels take dogs as day boarders, which is ideal for owners who work long hours and can’t get home during the day. Simply drop off your dog in the morning and pick him again after work, knowing he’s had regular food and exercise.
Whatever the facilities at the kennels you choose, to help him settle in more quickly, it is a good idea to pack your dog’s favourite blankets, bed, toys and treats to take with him for his stay.