What You Need To Know About Dog Boarding
You have to travel somewhere and you cannot take your beloved dog with you. You have never left her alone before, and you know that she will have to go into dog kennels while you are away. But the thought of this fills you with dread. What can you do? Read this article to find out.
What You Shouldn’t Do
There are probably a number of good intentioned family members, friends and neighbors that would offer to look after your dog. If they are not currently dog owners, then you have to question whether they have the skills to look after your precious pooch.
Unfortunately there are many horror stories of dogs that have been left with these well meaning people, and then escaped to find their owner, or become sick because they did not receive the care and attention that their owner provides.
It Is Better To Use The Professionals
You want to ensure that your dog is well cared for and safe. There is no substitute for dedicated full time care, that a well run dog boarding kennel service can offer. With staff that are experienced and knowledgeable, you know that your dog will be in good hands. That’s why 30 million owners turn to these facilities each year for temporary boarding of their dogs.
But the problem is that there are likely to be many of these kennels in your area, and if you have never used one before then choosing the right one can be a real challenge. By making the right choice, you will be able to relax while you are away, knowing that your dog is being cared for.
How To Evaluate Boarding Kennels
Can They Take Your Dog?
The first step is to contact them and see if they can take your dog when you need them to. Many kennels get full really fast, especially during peak season. Also you need to check if they can provide special care if your dog needs it. Puppies, giant breeds and dogs that are taking special medication are examples of this.
Visit The Dog Kennels
If the kennel can accept your dog then the next step is to pay them a visit. Good kennels are normally cleaned thoroughly once a day, so a trip first thing in the morning should tell you whether the dog boarding facility looks and smells clean. The kennel may not allow you to visit where the dogs are housed which is a good thing. Some dogs do not react well to strangers and strangers can carry infectious diseases.
Ask the kennel owners about the boarding arrangements. Some dog boarding facilities use different types of kennels, and will have different policies for indoor/outdoor enclosure. Will your pet be housed indoors at night? What kind of exercise routines does the kennel employ?
Ask About The Level Of Health Care
You need to know what the feeding policy of the kennel is. What kind of food do they provide to the dogs in their care? If your dog is on a special diet, will they allow you to supply food for her? Are there any additional charges for this? If your dog does not require special food, does the dog boarding center provide a selection of the most popular brands of food? What about clean drinking water?
What is the policy of the kennel center if your dog needs a vet? Some center’s have a resident vet, but others prefer it if your dog’s current vet is contacted to ensure care continuity. You will be expected to pay for any veterinary treatment while your dog is in care.
You will also need to know the policy of the boarding facility when it comes to special medications. If your dog requires medication more than three times a day then this can be a problem for some kennels. It needs to be fully discussed with the kennel representative, and you need to disclose everything about your dog’s medication routines. Your dog’s life could literally depend on this.
Most quality kennels will insist that you get your dog checked for fleas and ticks before bringing her to the facility. Alternatively they may insist that your dog undergo a dip or spray session at their facility before entry.
What Kind Of Security Measures Are In Place?
The next thing to look at is security. Check that the boarding kennels have good security arrangements, and that your dog will not be able to escape and try and find you. If your dog is prone to digging a lot, then she might be able to escape by doing this, so discuss this with the kennel representative.
How About The Safety Of Your Dog?
Enquire about the safety procedures that operate at the kennels. You do not want your dog to be exposed to sharp objects, or anything that they can swallow that will harm them. If they use chemicals for cleaning and other purposes, then how will they ensure that your dog will not come into contact with these? Does the facility have the right level of fire fighting equipment?
You will want to be sure that your dog is fully protected from the other dogs that are boarding there. There should be solid dividers between kennels, and the exercise areas should have appropriate barriers. All surfaces should be slip proof even if they are wet.
How Will Your Dog Be Supervised?
This is very important, as your dog should be checked often each day by a professional who recognizes the signs of distress or sickness. There are many checks that should be performed by a competent kennel. These include checking for urinary and stool problems, loss of appetite, and unusual discharges, coughing and sneezing etc.
It is advisable to select a kennel that is an active member of the American Boarding Kennels Association (ABKA). Check that their membership is current, and ask if they are a Certified Kennel Owner (CKO). This award is given by the ABKA and it involves some stringent checks to assess their level of care.
Other Things To Look For
Ask about comforts for your dog such as the temperature of the facility at night. Older dogs require a warmer environment. Your dog should always be protected from the weather, so ask about this too. Lighting and ventilation should be checked out as well.
When it comes to bedding what will the center provide? Do they require that you supply bedding for your dog? Check out the sleeping areas that your dog will use and ensure that they are dry and warm.
Don’t forget exercise. Ask what exercise routines are in place for your dog, and make sure that you choose a kennel that is dedicated to providing the right amount of exercise for your canine friend.
Get Your Dog Used To An Outdoor Kennel
If your dog has never been in a kennel before, then you can get her used to this by getting an outdoor dog kennel. Please read our review of the best outdoor dog kennels.