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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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These are great tips! Thanks so much for sharing. My goldie, Sadie, was a shelter rescue and she’s still got some residual issues. That means whenever we travel, we have to be really careful with the kennel we leave her with. Fortunately, there are plenty of great companies out there who love dogs almost as much as I do. Good luck finding your pet’s getaway!

I liked your suggestion to have my dog stay in a boarding facility for a night. My dog gets pretty nervous in areas he’s unfamiliar with, so this could help him while I’m on my trip. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a kennel that will allow my dog to stay there for a night to get used to it before I leave for a couple of weeks. Thanks for the tips!

I’m planning a lot of vacations this summer, and sadly my pup will have to stay home for most. I’d love to find a good pet boarder that I could use every time I’m gone. I appreciate all these tips that you have. I really lie the suggestion to ask if pets are inspected for fleas and tick upon arrival. I wouldn’t want my pup picking up anything while he is there!

I think it’s important to make sure that you get the right kennel for your pet. It’s pretty easy to check for their schedule and what kind of food they have. anything to ensure your pet’s comfort! Thank you for sharing.

My family and are going to put our dog in a pet boarding facility but we aren’t sure how it works. We did learn though that we need to find a kennel to put him in, but we aren’t sure what to look for. This helped a ton though and I feel that we will be able to find one soon.

I really like the questions that you encourage pet owners to ask when they go and tour the kennel, particularly the ones about lighting. Not many people realize it but, just like humans, animals need a lot of light to stay healthy and happy. You never want to choose a kennel that’s very dim and looks like you’re about to put your pet in a dungeon.

It really can be hard to choose the right boarding kennel when there is so man out there. My inlaws found a really good boarding kennel that they always use. What they like about it is that the dog actually wants to go. Anytime they mention it, the dog will get his leash and want you to take him there. That is the kind of place you want to take your dog.

Tomorrow, I am planning on visiting several dog boarding kennels and I really appreciate all of the questions that you suggest asking. I really like your point about checking other animals’ water bowls. It’s definitely important for me to make sure that my dog is taken care of while I am away, especially when it comes to what he eats and drinks.

I like the idea of the air smelling clean. Just because there are lots of dogs around does not mean it can’t be clean and sanitary. I also like the idea of a dog run being clean. I would hate the think that my dog would come back dirty and smelly.


One night stays would be good to get your pup used to the kennel! That way they won’t freak out or become extremely sad when you have to leave them there for a longer period. So. getting your pup used to the kennel will make it easier on you and on your dog! 



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