Dog and Cat Boarding: How to Choose the Best KennelPublished July 5, 2011
Vacation time—hurrah! But maybe it’s not a hurrah for your pet, if he’s going into boarding while you take it easy. Sadly, many kennels are not up to par and it’s your dogs and cats that suffer while you’re unaware. Before you put your pet into a boarding kennel, here’s what to check for:
Take the Tour of the Boarding Kennel
Tour the boarding house and try to do so at a couple of different times of day. Also plan for plenty of time; you’ll not pay proper attention if you are rushed, advises Lindsay Stordahl, owner of Run That Mutt, a pet sitting/boarding business in Fargo, N.D.
Does the Kennel Have Eager Employees?
Are the staff polite, professional, welcoming and willing to answer questions, asks Michelle Fontaine, vice president of sales and marketing for Planet Bark, a two-location boarding and daycare business.
Look at the staff: Do they look bored or engaged? Are they interacting with the animals? They should never be yelling at your pets.
Make sure there’s at least one human employee per five dogs and find out what those employees offer in terms of interaction, unstructured or structured play and walks.
The boarding house employee should ask you a lot of questions about your pet, says Fontaine—what they like and dislike; allergies; what they like to play; what they like to eat and how they eat.
Is the Boarding Facility Keen on Clean
Look at where your pet will sleep and be toileted and check for cleanliness. “There might be hair on the floor but you should never see urination or defecation,” Fontaine points out. Also check that there is always fresh water for the animals.
Ask about cleaning:
- Do they use dishwashers and how do they sterilize if they use common feeding bowls?
- How do they clean the play areas?
- How often do they change cats’ litter boxes?
Does the Boarding Kennel Offer Playtime for Your Pet
Try to find a facility that includes some kind of exercise with a human and has interaction with a human included in the fee.
The employees should be able to tell you how often the dogs get outside and for how long each time. Stordahl says they should be out at least four times a day for 20 minutes each time to get some exercise and go to the bathroom.
When Your Dog or Cat Comes Home From the Kennel
When you’re home and have picked up your pet, make sure she’s happy so you know if you should take her to that boarding house again. Sometimes animals are really tired when they come home, but only because they’ve had a good time and run around a lot, says Stordhal.
Make sure your pet looks and smells clean. If he comes home dirty it shows the boarding house doesn’t really care about your or your pet.
If your cat or dog has an upset stomach, it could be a sign of stress or it could be because she wasn’t fed what she was supposed to eat.
Four Questions To Always Ask when choosing a Boarding Kennel for Your Cat or Dog
Remember to always ask these four questions before you select a boarding house:
1. What are your hours of operation and the services and schedule you provide? Every facility should have some kind of schedule.
2. Do you have a relationship with a local vet? This ensures your pet’s safety.
3. Do you perform staff training and development? Any good boarding facility should be a member of Pet Care Services Association, says Fontaine.
4. What happens if my pet becomes sick or injured while in your care?
Visit Pet Places to find a dog boarding kennel near you!
For budget-friendly human hotels that allow pets along, see our 10 Pet-Friendly Hotel Chains slideshow.