Passports are up to date, holidays booked, kids are mega excited but who will care for the family pet while you are away? Nowadays there are many options from someone who stays at your house with your dog, to your pet going to stay in someone else’s house to boarding kennels.
It’s important to do your research into which is the right option for your pet sooner rather than later. As a good establishment will get booked up at certain times of the year, especially over the summer period.
So how do you know a good boarding kennels from a bad one?
All boarding kennels in the UK have to be licenced by the local council, this must be displayed within the facility. The kennels will be inspected annually and certain standards will need to be met.
A boarding kennels that has a good reputation via word of mouth in the local area is a good place to start. Look into two or three that have been recommended to you and make an appointment to have a look round. While you are there take an interest in;
Cleanliness – The kennels themselves should be made of material that is easy to clean to help prevent the spread of disease. They should be in good working order and not damaged or overcrowded in any way. The kennel space should be large enough for your dog to move around freely, as well as a sleeping area. The kennels should also be nice and bright with as much natural light as possible
Separate Area – is there a separate area for nervous dogs? Or those that don’t interact well with others.
Outdoor area – is there an outdoor area for your dog to have exercise? Enclosed so that off lead walking/running is possible. Ask how often do they get walked and for how long?
Happy? Look at the dogs that are already staying there. Most, if not all of the dog’s maybe barking as you walk around but remember you have just turned up.
Don’t forget to ask lots of questions, the kennel staff should be happy to answer them and may well be used to visitors having lots of queries. Remember, they may be looking after your fur baby for you so you need to be happy to leave them there.
Staff – look at how they interact with the dogs and how many staff are on duty compared to how many boarding dogs. Remember to check if there is someone there 24 hours a day.
With a large number of dogs being within such close proximity, there is always a higher risk of infection within a boarding kennels. Before you book your dog in, ensure that their vaccinations are all up to date, including kennel cough as well as flea and worm treatment. The boarding kennels will have their own veterinary practise that they take the dogs, in their care, to in the event that any of them become sick, however do give them the name and contact details for the veterinary practise that your dog is registered at and don’t forget to inform your vets that you are going away and where your dog will be staying.
If your dog is on any long term medications make sure you have a good supply of it and discuss this in advance with the kennels. Making sure they are happy to administer it.
When dropping your dog off at the kennels remember to bring their usual food in with you, especially if they are on a prescription diet or have a sensitive tummy, if this is the case make sure the kennels know not to offer your dog any other food or treats. Take their bed or a blanket that smells of home and a favourite toy. Be happy and smiley when saying goodbye even if you don’t feel it, if you are sad and anxious your dog will feel it to.
Although this is not always possible, a backup plan is useful just in case for any reason your dog doesn’t settle in kennels alternatively you could book your dog in for a couple of nights before a longer stay to see how they might react.
If boarding kennels doesn’t suit your dog, there are a number of pet sitters that may well suit your pet better. Alternatively, with the pet passport system maybe your dog could pack a suitcase and come to!
If you have any questions about what is best for your pet then get in touch!