Tips for Choosing a Dog Boarding Kennel

In an ideal world, you should choose your dog boarding kennel before you ever have need of it. But sometimes real life gets in the way. Always check with your vet in case your dog suddenly needs to be boarded as most vets will offer boarding services. For example, one of our neighbors died, leaving her dog momentarily homeless. The family had to board the dog at the vet’s in order to get their lives together.

But boarding your dog at the vet is not the ideal place for keeping your dog if you are going to be away on a lengthy vacation or business trip especially if they are terrified of the vet’s! If they are terrified of the very building the vet’s office is in, then you should consider a professional boarding kennel so your dog has a vacation while you have your vacation.

Finding A List Of Kennels

The first place you should go to find a decent boarding kennel is your vet’s office. They usually can make recommendations, or steer you to people or services to help you find kennels. You should also ask your trusted friends, dog-owning family members and even the local animal shelter for recommendations.

If that doesn’t seem to get anywhere, you can check out the web site of the American Boarding Kennels Association, which can help give you a list of their accredited members. Then check the Better Business Bureau to see which of these kennels have had complaints lodged against them and cross them off of your list.

Check Out The Kennel

Always check the boarding kennel out before you decide on one. A good way to do this is to just show up announced at a random time during their business hours. In this way, you’ll get to see what they normally look and smell like. The smell of a kennel is very important. It should not smell rancid or like the monkey house at the zoo.

When you are wandering around or are given an impromptu tour, ask yourself these questions:

Are the dogs just left in crates or do they have their own runs?
Do you see any getting walks?
Does the place seem well-lit and well ventilated?
Does the staff seem to like dogs? (Don’t assume they do).

If you like what you see and the dogs seem mostly relaxed or at least healthy, you need to ask the kennel operator some questions like

dates of availability
any health requirements
can you bring special toys or food for the dog
how often are feedings
is grooming extra
what vet services do they use
rates

Don’t let price be your sole deciding factor for choosing a boarding kennel. This is your dog’s life we’re talking about. That’s far more important than a vacation. If you can’t afford a decent dog boarding kennel, keep your vacations at home. Your dog will love to spend the time with you.