Your dog may be used to the comforts of your home and their everyday routines, but what happens when you need to arrange external care? Whatever your circumstances may be, boarding kennels are an option many pet owners have relied upon for their furry loved ones needs.
While this can be a new and exciting experience for your dog, many owners feel daunted and uneasy with the idea of sending their pup to an unfamiliar environment.
The right boarding kennel for your pet will keep them cosy, happy and comfortable. Here are our top tips on how to choose the best boarding kennel for your dog.
How long will your dog need to stay at the kennel? Some facilities may be better for short-term stays, while others are equipped for longer stays. Knowing in advance how much time they will need to be there, and the activities they will enjoy during their stay, will help you to pick the best place.
We strongly advise all owners to visit boarding kennels before booking any stays. This will allow you to verify that the facilities are up to scratch and meet your expectations.
Most importantly – if your dog is going to stay at a boarding kennel, we strongly recommend that their vaccinations are kept up to date and that they have a general check-up in advance of their stay. Any boarding kennels that do not stipulate vaccination requirements are likely inappropriate for your dog, and could put their health at risk. Your vet will be able to give you a certificate of vaccination, which most kennels will require from you prior to commencing your dog’s stay.
Do your research
Make a short list of boarding kennels you are interested in and do your research on all of them. Do they have websites with information about their facilities, staff and what you can expect from them? What are their ratings like on Google or Facebook reviews?
One of the best ways to narrow down your search for an excellent boarding kennel is to ask the kennel for references. Talk to other pet owners who have used their services and ask what their experiences were like with the staff and facilities. You may even want to talk to owners who have dogs with similar needs, to ensure that the kennel staff are fully capable in looking after your pet.
Practice makes perfect
Most boarding kennels will give you the opportunity to have your dog stay with them for short visits. Some even offer doggy day care! Sending your pup to the kennel for short durations, such as a day or two, will get them used to the environment and the people they will be spending time with.
These short stays can give owners peace of mind that their furry loved are happy and enjoying themselves. And, if you think your dog isn’t doing as well as you’d like at the kennel, these short visits give you the opportunity to try a variety of boarding kennels before you book a longer stay.
After any short (or long) stay, enquire with staff about your dog’s behaviour and their appetite.
If your pet has a special diet, allergies, or medication they need to take, make it a priority to choose a kennel that can accommodate their special needs. Many kennels are more than happy and willing to work with owners, and organising a chat in advance can help you to feel more confident about their care and stay.
Things to look out for
When inspecting a boarding kennel, be sure that you find out:
- The facilities are clean and tidy
- There are areas for exercise and play
- They have shelter and somewhere comfortable to sleep
- Their current clients look happy (excited is okay, distressed is not)
- Their feeding schedule and food provided is sufficient and healthy
- What type of interaction you can expect your dog to have with other pups
- How often their sleeping quarters will be cleaned
- How the kennel deals with unsocialised dogs
- How the kennel deals with separation anxiety
- What kind of security the kennel has to prevent unwanted visitors
- What procedures are in place should your dog become unwell
Things to remember
It may be hard leaving your dog at a boarding kennel, but most dogs are excited about their stay and see it as a rewarding experience. Many dogs settle into boarding kennels quickly and come home after their adventure happy and tired from plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
If your dog experiences a negative change in behaviour after their stay in a kennel, it’s best to take them to the vet straight away for assessment and care.
Still unsure if a boarding kennel will be right for your furry companion? We’re here to set you and your dog up for success. Contact our friendly team for further advice and recommendations.