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Choosing A Boarding Kennel For Your Pet

Updated on January 13, 2013

Pets need plenty of outdoor exercise in all kinds of weathers.

When you are away from home for any length of time, you will need to see that your pets are given the best of care. You may leave them with relatives or friends or have a sitter come to your home to take care of feeding, and exercise. Or, for personal reasons, you may choose to kennel your dogs. I always kennel mine.


If you choose to kennel your pets, you will want to investigate possible kennels well before they are needed. Asking relatives and friends for advice may be helpful, but the final choice should be based on your own research. Discuss your needs with your veterinarian. Some vets are willing to recommend a kennel and others, quite understandably, would rather not. Phone half a dozen kennels in your area and, based on the impression you get from a short conversation, make plans to visit at least three. Ask your choices for references and check with the BBB.


The most important thing to remember is that pets cannot speak for themselves. They depend on you completely for their comfort and happiness. First visit kennels on your own. If they meet with your approval, take your pet with you and visit again.


Be wary of any kennels that will only allow you to visit in a very small time frame. Kennels are busy places, and visitors can be disrupting, but if you can visit at odd hours and still find happy animals and happy workers, this is probably the kind of place your pet might be happy too.


Take your time to look at everything. Take notes as you observe, so you can compare.

Does the kennel have secure fencing around the property itself as well as between boarding areas?

Is it clean, bright, and warm? Are the individual cages roomy?

Do the pets have an indoor and outdoor area to their cages, that they can access at will? Is there a large outdoor play area in which the dogs get to romp at least twice daily, preferably more?

Do all the cages have a large bowl of clean fresh water? Are there toys in each cage and a comfortable looking bed?

Is the staff cheerful, even if busy? Do they, even if busy, chat with the animals?

Do the animals seem content?


After you have made your observations, talk to the kennel owners. Come prepared with a question sheet, and record answers.

Can you bring your own pet food, bedding, and pet toys?

How often will you pets get outside exercise? Where? For how long? Will this play be supervised? If you wish, can your pet have playtime with a compatible friend? Pets must have plenty of outdoor play time in all kinds of weather.

Is there special accommodation, such as a quiet room, for older, stressed, shy, or otherwise 'special' animals?

Do they accept pets with chronic illnesses and can they administer the appropriate medications if necessary?

Will they take your dogs for a walk if you wish?

Can you get, which means pay for, extra outdoor play times?

Does the kennel supply brushing, grooming, or bathing, if you wish it, and at what cost?

Is there at least one staff member always in attendance? Is the exterior of the facility locked at night?

Is there a staff member always present who knows pet first aid?

If your pet becomes injured or ill, will it be taken to a vet of your choice? Will the kennel then provide any special care your vet advises is necessary, for your pets recovery and health?

Will they inform you immediately, if they have any concerns about your pet's health or behavior?

Can you phone or email occasionally for an update on your pet?

What are the daily, weekly, and monthly costs? Is there any reduction for long term stays? Is there a seniors' discount? Are there any additional charges?


Visit all the kennels on your list and then make a comparison. The next step is to revisit your choice or choices, with your pet. For this you must make a specific appointment as some kenneled dogs get overly excited at the sight of 'potentially new' guests. See how your pet responds to the surroundings and the staff, and how they respond to him/her. If this is not acceptable, start the process again.


Make a choice. Make it a wise, informed choice. Even if you are not presently needing a kennel, it is wise to consider where you would like your pets to be if a sudden illness or obligation means you will be away. Only leave your pets with people you trust, in an environment that is safe, healthy, and welcoming.


When you leave you pets at a kennel or with anyone other than your immediate family, leave you name, phone number, the address where you will be, your email address, the pets vet and his/her phone number and any information, relevant to your pets health and welfare.




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      doodlebugs 8 years ago

      Thanks for the great advice. Love the dogs in the photo, they are very cute!

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