You wish you could take your pets with you everywhere, but occasionally, you need a boarding kennel to be their home away from home.
Finding a boarding kennel you can trust will put your mind at ease when life takes you away from your pet parenting responsibilities. You need a kennel that will suit your dog's needs as well as your own, and finding the perfect facility isn't as easy as it sounds.
Here are five tips to help you find the perfect boarding kennel for your dog or cat.
Talk to the Staff
You want someone who cares about your dog or cat's well-being just as much as you do. Don't assume that because someone works at a boarding kennel, they automatically love animals.
Talk to the staff to get an idea about how they feel about their jobs. You want caretakers that will interact with your pet and treat them with the same love and affection they get at home.
Ask About Personal Items
For some pets, staying at a kennel can be a scary experience. You can help alleviate some of that stress, however, by sending them with a few of their favorite toys or blankets.
Those familiar items will comfort your pet throughout her stay, but not all kennels allow it. Be sure to ask about a kennel's personal item policy before making your final decision.
Find the Outdoor Play Area
Even if your dog is used to staying in a kennel all day, he'll benefit tremendously from daily play and socialization. Take a tour of your potential boarding facility and make note of whether or not they have an outdoor area for free play and socializing with both dogs and people.
This rule applies more to dogs than cats, but the area should be large enough for your pet to run and exercise and also have adequate shade.
Evaluate the Cleanliness
Your dog may mess up your home worse than any toddler you know, but the boarding facility you choose should be well taken care of and clean.
Check the kennels to make sure they aren't in disrepair, and evaluate the facility's overall appearance. If the grass is long and unkempt, the paint is peeling, and the whole area smells like the inside of a dog poop bag, view that as a reflection of the level of service they provide.
It's best to move on and explore other options.
Inquire About Proof of Vaccination
With so many animals in one area, it's easy for contagions to spread from one animal to the next. Health concerns are always a factor when choosing to board your pet, and you need a facility that takes your pet's health seriously.
All kennels should require proof of vaccinations before admission. If you're considering a kennel that doesn't require that paperwork, view that as a red flag, and walk away.
Above all else, the best thing you can do when choosing a kennel for your pet is to go with your gut. If something doesn't feel right or you're not comfortable with some aspect of the kennel's care, move on and continue your search.
You don't want to spend your entire trip worrying about your pet, and your pet wants to enjoy her time spent away from home.