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How to Choose a Boarding Kennel

With holiday travels just around the corner, now's the time to start thinking about where to board your pet if you need to leave your dog or cat home. When looking for a boarding kennel, contact several to find out about their services, then pay a visit. Use these questions and tips to help make the experience stress-free for you and your pet.

Questions to Ask the Kennel Before You Visit

  • dog kennel questions to askWhat are the rates and how is payment accepted (cash, check, credit card)?
  • What are the drop-off and pick-up hours? What if your return is delayed?
  • Are there set times when you can call to check on your pet?
  • What size are the kennels or runs? Are there both indoor and outdoor runs?
  • Can sick or elderly animals be boarded in quiet areas?
  • Do the kennels and runs have solid partitions between them? Solid partitions can make your pet feel more relaxed and prevent aggression towards neighbors.
  • pet boardingHow often are the kennels cleaned and with what cleaners?
  • What kind of bedding is provided? Can you bring your pet’s bedding from home?
  • What is the exercise schedule?
  • What is the feeding schedule? Is food provided or can you bring your pet’s regular food?
  • Can you bring your pet’s toys from home?
  • Which vaccinations are required? Which ones are recommended?
  • Are animals inspected for fleas and ticks upon arrival?
  • What is the procedure if your pet needs a veterinarian?
  • Is anyone on the property at night?

Questions to Ask When You Visit the Kennel

  • picking the right kennelDoes the staff seem attentive and knowledgeable?
  • Are the fencing and gates sturdy and well maintained?
  • Are the dog runs clean? Does the air smell clean? There may be a few dirty runs after a morning cleaning, but the kennel area should generally have a clean smell.
  • Are the sleeping areas clean and dry? Is there room for your pet to stand up and turn around comfortably?
  • In cat kennels, is there enough space between food bowls and litter boxes?
  • Does each animal have a clean water bowl? Does the water look fresh?
  • Are the temperatures comfortable? Is there good ventilation?
  • Is there enough lighting indoors?
  • Do outdoor areas have protection from wind, rain, snow, and direct sunlight?
  • Are cats and dogs kept in separate areas?

5 Tips for Boarding Your Pet

  1. boarding tipsCats tend to adjust to boarding more easily than dogs. Consider a few one-night stays for your dog to help him get familiar with boarding.
  2. Give the kennel written instructions for feeding and medications, how to contact you, emergency contacts, and the name and phone number of your veterinarian.
  3. Tell the kennel staff if your pet has any special characteristics. Is he a climber? A digger? Aggressive towards other animals? Afraid of storms?
  4. Don't make your good-bye emotional. It will only make your pet anxious. Give your pet some extra love at home, before you leave for the kennel.
  5. When you pick your dog up from the kennel, he’ll be very excited to see you. Only give him a small amount of water when you arrive home and wait 4 hours before his next meal or treats.

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