Finding temporary housing for your pooch can be a stressful process — but with this checklist in hand, it doesn’t have to be.
Breaking away from the city for a few days? Sometimes, taking your pet along for the ride is impractical, and alternate accommodations must be arranged. Since the safety and happiness of your pooch is at stake, it’s important to carefully consider your options when seeking out a boarding facility.
Evaluating a Kennel
With such a wide variety of kennels to choose from in the city, it’s important to conduct a thorough evaluation to find the facility that will best suit your pet’s specific needs. To narrow down the list, consult your veterinarian and ask local dog owners for their input.
After researching your options, be sure to visit each kennel on your list. While touring, you’ll inevitably form a strong first impression of the kennel. Is it clean and well lit? Will your dog receive individual attention, or is the kennel overcrowded? Pay attention to the way the kennel is organized as well as the attitude of the staff and the general disposition of its canine lodgers.
To conduct a thorough examination, ask the kennel’s employees about each of the following considerations during your visit.
● Security and Safety: The more secure the kennel, the happier you and your dog will be during your prolonged separation. There are many factors to consider when evaluating a kennel’s safety. For one, play areas should be kept clear of stray objects and chemicals. Primary enclosures, too, should be separated by sturdy dividers to ensure that your pet isn’t threatened by his canine neighbors. Finally, many dogs become disoriented in new environments, and oftentimes go “searching” for their owners. So, be sure the kennel has taken the proper precautions — such as sturdy gates and experienced staff on-hand — to prevent such an occurrence.
● Supervision: Some facilities shut down at 5pm, after which workers go home for the day. But as every owner knows, a dog’s needs don’t end with business hours. Therefore, choosing a facility with staff on-hand at all hours of the night is ideal.
● Cleanliness: Good hygiene should be at the top of your priority list. The kennel should be kept free from dirt, odors, and parasites with a regular cleaning schedule.
● Food: Maintaining your dog’s diet is even more important when he’s in a new environment. Before you make a decision, determine whether the kennel offers the right brands of dog food for your pup, or if you have to bring Fido’s food yourself. In addition to regular feedings, ensure that the kennel makes individual containers with clean drinking water available at all times.
● Health Care: While the only legally required vaccine for dogs is rabies, some facilities request that lodged dogs be up-to-date on all available vaccines. So, you might need to take a trip to the vet before dropping off your pet. Also, if your dog is taking medication, you’ll need to inform the kennel about his condition as well as the schedule for administering the meds.
● Exercise and Play: Each kennel has a different approach to exercise and play. If the kennel you select doesn’t provide a designated playtime, bring your dog’s favorite toy from home to keep him company.
● Comfort and Accommodations: Be sure your dog has an individual place to lounge and sleep comfortably. Some kennels provide resting platforms, bedding, or even full beds. Other measures for animal comfort, like lighting and temperature control, should also be considered.
While you examine each kennel’s facilities, bring your dog along so they can sniff around and get a feel for the place. You might also book daycare ahead of your trip to ensure they’re already comfortable with the new, temporary surroundings before you take off.
Prepare for Boarding
After booking the reservation, be sure to follow the proper drop-off procedure. Provide the staff with a written list of medications, allergies, and typical feeding times. For extra pampering, bring your dog’s food and a special toy, blanket, or bed.
Finally, and most importantly, be calm when handing off your dog to the boarding kennel. Your dog will perceive your mood and follow suit. Rest assured that you did your research, and that there’s nothing to worry about. You’ll be back before Fido knows it.