With the recent trend toward establishments offering “Pet-Friendly” accommodations, it is now easier than ever for us to take our critters with us when we travel. Even so, there may be times when we need to be away from home and need to find alternative pet care. Most of us would prefer to leave our animals with family and friends, but this is not always an available option. In some cases, relying on the services of a boarding kennel is the only practical solution.
It can be very tricky to find a good, trustworthy “pet hotel”, and it is necessary thoroughly check out the kennel before leaving your pet with them. Here are a few very important considerations:
- Be sensitive to the fact that your pet will be very insecure out of it home environment. You have to be absolutely certain that the kennel staff will be sympathetic to your pet’s anxiety.
- Choose a kennel where the entire staff has your pet’s best interest in mind. They must be knowledgeable, attentive and dedicated to the health, safety and comfort of your critter.
- You should never leave your pet in a kennel that does not have access to on-site medical care. There should be emergency medical staff readily available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
- Make sure the kennel facilities are clean and sanitary. Kennels should be cleaned and sterilized before any new pet uses it, as well as cleaned on a daily basis.
- The buildings should be heated in winter, and other good ventilation of air (or ideally air-conditioning) in summer.
- Although dogs are social pack animals and like to be together, choose a facility that allows your dog to have his own space instead of just a group of dogs in one room. If each space is enclosed by wire, the dogs can still share each other’s company without the risk of dog fights.
- Be sure that the kennel will allow your pet to exercise daily. This will help your pet relieve some of the stress they may be feeling.
- Many kennels now offer different levels of accommodations, from shared quarters to luxurious “pethouse suites”. Be sure to make reservations as far in advance as possible so that you can guarantee your desired spot. If the facility offers specialty services (i.e. web cam, spa treatments, special diet, etc.) inquire about availability and fees. And always remember to confirm your reservation the day prior to your departure.
- Some kennels play music around the clock to help your pet feel more relaxed. Ask ahead of time if this is optional, because you may want your pet to have unlimited access to quiet areas. This should be noted in your file before you leave your pet.
- There should also be staff on hand around the clock to check on your pet.
- The best indication of whether you have chosen a kennel wisely will be when you pick up your pet, or drop them off for the next visit. They should be happy to go there, and although they may want to go home, you will be able to tell how your pet reacts after his visit.
- If you have a cat, be sure that the facility for cat care is separated from the dogs. Your cat will certainly be more stressed if they have to fear the dogs around them all the time
Look to your family and friends first for boarding recommendations. Your vet will usually have some suggestions as well. In all cases, you should obtain several verifiable references from the kennel before making a commitment, and take detailed policies and practices documentation with you when you drop off your pet. Back