I have owned a small boarding facility for a number of years, and I love it.
Boarding dogs has given me the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life and build trusting relationships with their beloved pets. Having done so, I’ve learned a lot about boarding dogs and what really matters when it comes to kennels.
Luxury or Economy—Which should I choose?
Pet boarding is a booming business, which generally gives dog-owners plenty of facilities to choose from, no matter where you live. But do you have to choose a luxury boarding facility to get good care for your pet?
The short answer is no.
Unless you’re just wanting to fork out big bucks to pamper your pet, I would recommend shopping around until you find an economical option that suits your budget.
Economical doesn’t necessarily equate to poor dog care. On the contrary, there are likely plenty of kennels near you that offer great care for your pet. And this can mean huge savings for you if luxury is not a requirement.
If I don’t need luxury boarding, then what do I look for?
This step in choosing where to board your dog can take a little while, but don’t let that bother you. It will be worth it in the long run.
First, do a Google search on dog boarding to see what’s in your local area. Look for kennels with good reviews and pictures of their kennels. This will help you narrow down your search.
Of course, if you have friends who board their dogs, find out which kennels they use, how they like them, and why. You should compile a short list based upon your online search and your friends’ feedback, then start making calls.
What do I ask when I call a kennel?
If you have time, it’s really a good idea to set an appointment to visit the kennel you choose, but first you need to ask some questions. A good kennel should be happy to answer all of your questions before you plan your visit.
Here’s a quick list:
- What vaccinations are required for boarding?
- Are accommodations climate controlled?
- What size kennels are available?
- Will my dog have outdoor access?
- How often will my dog be let out to potty and play?
- Will he have access to a yard? If so, what size?
- Do you accept dogs with special needs?
- Will you administer my dog’s meds?
- Can I bring my dog’s own food, toys, and bedding?
- Will my dog receive personal attention from staff?
- Can I check in on my dog during his stay?
- What are your rates?
If your questions are answered to your satisfaction, then plan a visit to the kennel(s) of your choice.
You will have your own preferred responses to the above questions, but any kennel you give serious consideration should meet some minimum requirements.
First and foremost, you do not want your dog exposed to preventable diseases during his stay. Any kennel you consider should minimally require proof that dogs are up to date on rabies, distemper/parvo, and kennel cough vaccinations.
Next, you want to make sure that your dog’s kennel is of adequate size for him to move around freely. Additionally, it needs to be both well-ventilated and climate controlled.
Access to the outdoors to play and potty should be 4x/day at the minimum. Five would be even better.
Finally, it is best for your dog that he be fed his own food during his stay. Suddenly switching to another food offered by the kennel will likely cause your pet serious digestive distress and should be avoided.
Scheduling a Tour
If all questions have been answered to your satisfaction, it’s time to schedule a tour (time permitting) of your kennel of choice. Be sure to ask if you can bring your dog with you for the tour, or at least to meet the kennel staff.
When visiting the boarding facility, be sure to ask to see the kennels and the outdoor play area, plus any other areas of interest. It would also be nice to meet some of the staff who will be caring for your dog.
Make sure the kennel smells and looks clean, the play yard is of adequate size, clean and safe, and watch how the staff interact with your dog.
You should come away from the tour feeling good about your visit. If not, keep looking.
It is important when you need to leave town or go on vacation to rest assured that your dog is in good hands. With a little advanced-planning, you’ll be able to relax and focus on your trip without concern for your pet.
My customers always have direct 24/7 access to me via text messaging while they’re gone. I even try to send them updates and pictures of their dogs, unless they would rather be left alone. Usually, they prefer to stay in the loop!
My regulars tell me that their dogs get excited once they realize they are headed to our kennel. Your dog should enjoy his stay! If not, and you know he doesn’t suffer from severe separation anxiety, then do some digging to see if you can figure out why he doesn’t like boarding.
Remember, your goal is to keep your dog safe, healthy and happy.