If you love your dog, leaving him at a boarding facility while you are away can be a very difficult decision. Overall, however, boarding facilities are operated by pet-loving people and offer a safe, loving environment for your dog in your absence. Choosing just the right kennel for your dog is essential. Follow these tips to do your research and make your pet’s stay a pleasurable, or at least tolerable, one.
If you grab your local yellow pages it is likely you will find several options to choose from when boarding your dog. Prices can range from as little as about $10 a day to $60 or more. The price is based on several factors including your dog’s size, the amount of specific care desired, and of course, just the individual boarding facility’s amenities. Don’t just choose a kennel based on price. A less expensive place may have more individual care, or time outside, than a more expensive facility. Know what your price range is, then consider multiple facilities which all fall within this range.
Before using a kennel, be sure to take a tour. If the place is hesitant to let you tour it, find somewhere else for your dog to stay. During the tour, you will be able to see exactly where your dog will be living and the outside areas where you dog can play. While touring, ask questions. Is your dog allowed to bring a favorite blanket or toy? Many facilities will allow outside toys, but not blankets for the fear of flea infestation. How many hours a day will your dog spend outside? How many times will she be taken to use the bathroom? Are meals only fed once a day? Who provides the food? Bring a list with your questions already written down or you will forget something. You can, of course, always call back later if you think of something else to ask.
While visiting the kennel try to get a feel for the owner and employees’ love for dogs. If the boarding facility owner is also a breeder, for instance, you have a pretty good idea that he or she is a “dog person.” Having employees who are pet-lovers is essential to your dog having a pleasant stay.
When reviewing the prices for boarding, you may notice that some facilities offer “doggy daycare” at an additional cost. Most boarding only includes your dog being fed, taken outside to use the bathroom, and sleeping accommodations. Paying for doggy daycare will get your dog interaction with people and other dogs, as well as more time outside. Some places will charge for every small interaction with your dog. For instance, “15 minute belly rub,” $5.00. Avoid places that offer these “a la carte” services. If employees aren’t going to offer automatic free belly rubs to dogs, then it probably isn’t the most desirable facility. If you are extra concerned about your dog’s stay, and money isn’t really a consideration, many kennels offer webcams which allow you to view your dog 24 hours a day on the internet to make sure she is doing okay.
The best way to know what boarding facility to choose is to get recommendations. Ask friends, family members, and coworkers if they have boarded their dogs before and find out which places to check out and which to avoid.
Before bringing your pet to the boarding facility make sure you have proof of all immunizations. You should ask the boarder what specific shots your dog must have before staying at the kennel.
Choosing to board your dog is a huge decision. Do your homework to make sure your dog’s stay, as well as your trip, is a happy one.