It’s time to go on vacation, or a business trip, or leave home for some reason and you can’t take your favorite friend(s) with you. You have decided to let a boarding kennel take care of your dog while you are away.
If you need to find a quality boarding kennel ask your vet or friends who have boarded a dog for a referral. A quality boarding kennel, sometimes referred to as a pet hotel, will usually have real customer testimonials on their website. In addition, be sure to read the kennels web site to learn more about them. Kennels offer a variety of services and some charge for each service as an add-on, such as administering medications, a bath for your dog, fee’s for picking up or dropping off after a certain time of day, etc. Be sure to compare the services offered in addition to the daily boarding rate.
Also, choose a dog kennel where the owners live on site. Most kennels are small businesses and the owners usually live on the property. If you have the chance ask them if you can visit and take a tour of their facility. This will give you an opportunity to get a feel for the owners and see where your dog will be staying.
Another option is a pet sitter and there are some good one’s. However, if they have a family emergency or get sick or have car problems who will take care of your pet? And can you be sure they will be there when they say they will?
Some kennels allow many dogs to be together and interact in a “play yard”.
This is something you will need to think about. While this may sound fun for your dog, keep in mind that some dogs are friendly and may do fine is this environment, others are nervous, some might be timid and some get a little too excited. Nervous, timid or overly excited dogs can cause another dog to react in an aggressive manner towards it. An outbreak of aggression can occur in the blink of an eye before an employee has a chance to react.
Even dogs that have behaved well with their owner at a dog park may act differently in a kennel situation without their owner present.
Should a fight break out, even if kennel employees react immediately, significant injury, with the associated emergency vet bills, can occur. It is a risk and one only you can decide if it’s worth taking.
If you have a dog that may be aggressive to other dogs or to people, or is timid, be sure and tell them when you call to make a reservation. This isn’t something you want them to discover after you have dropped of the dog and left. Some boarding kennels will not accept certain breeds and some will not accept aggressive dogs or dogs with certain behaviors.
Some kennels are better equipped to deal with these kinds of dogs and the one’s that are will also be experienced and better suited for taking care of this type of dog.
If the kennel allows it, and they should, be sure to bring your dogs’ food. An abrupt change in diet can cause diarrhea and intestinal upset so you don’t want your pet to have to eat whatever the kennel provides. Also, be sure to tell them if your dog takes any medications at the time you make the reservation.
Some kennels will allow you to bring your pets bed or a favorite toy as well.
Keep in mind all kennels will require your pet to be up-to-date on vaccinations, which they really should be at all times anyway. They will also want your pet to be current with a flea and tick control product. It doesn’t matter if yours is an “inside” dog. All dogs go outside even if for short periods and a flea or tick can get aboard and hitch a ride. Most kennels will insist on this product being used because they cannot risk any dog bringing in fleas or ticks to their kennel, so it’s in your best interest if the kennel requires this treatment in order to protect your dog. If they don’t require this you may want to consider another option.
When considering which flea and tick product to use when boarding your pet be sure to get one that treats for both fleas AND ticks. Unfortunately, vets sometimes suggest a product that only treats for fleas.
Some boarding kennels provide grooming and nail trimming also, so this can be a good time to get that done while they are there. Again, be sure to request this when you make your reservation so they can schedule it.
When you arrive at the boarding kennel to drop off your dog, say goodbye to your dog outside before you go in. Once you check in, let the kennel employee take the dog and you should not make a big fuss about it. Dogs will sense if you are upset so try to be your normal self. This isn’t the time to hug and kiss and even cry while the kennel help is trying to take the dog into the kennel, it only makes it more difficult for everyone, especially your dog. Your pet will interpret this behavior as a message from YOU that he SHOULD be upset, worried and afraid. He will take his cue from you about whether he is going to like this new place and have fun there.
Be sure the kennel has an emergency contact number just in case they need to reach you or someone who knows you and give them any special instructions.
Boarding your dog is often more difficult for the humans than it is the dog. The dog will adjust quickly and be curious about their new surroundings, new people and new dogs. Dogs are curious animals and most of them are friendly and like to meet new people and other dogs.
People that own and work in boarding kennels do so because they love dogs. They love meeting new dogs and getting to spend time with them. As long as you have researched the kennel and have received good reports from others, or read positive reviews about them, you don’t need to worry about your friend.
Your dog will definitely remember you, even if it’s a long stay, and be excited and happy to see you when you return.
When you pick up your dog and the kennel brings the dog to you don’t make a big fuss or talk in a high-pitched voice or show a lot of excitement. Wait until you get home or outside to do that. Give your dog a little time to calm down and relax.
It is normal for your dog to be more tired than usual when you get home. They had a lot of excitement while you were gone and a routine that was different from what they were used to. Don’t be surprised if they sleep more than usual for 2-3 days after you get back home.
Remember, holidays and during the summer are popular vacation and travel times and they are busy times for boarding kennels so be sure to plan well in advance if you will need their services.
A boarding kennel or pet hotel can be a fun, positive experience for your dog and allow you to have a worry-free vacation or business trip.
By Terry and Debbie Vaught
Part of the Family Kennels
“Where Pet’s Feel At Home”