Choosing a Boarding Facility

Whether you entrust the care of your pet to us or another boarding facility, we urge you to review and consider the following excellent information and advice provided by PetMD to pet owners comparing prospective boarding facilities.

General appearance of the kennel

Following regular daily clean-up procedures, the kennel should look (and smell) neat and clean. Kennel operators are proud of their kennels and like to show them off, but some of them do not permit visitors in areas where animals are housed. There are two key reasons for establishing a “No Visitors” policy. First, some dogs react unpredictably to strangers. (They become excessively fearful or aggressive.) As a result, the presence of strangers in the kennel can cause such dogs to injure themselves or develop intestinal problems. Second, visitors do not follow the same stringent disinfecting procedures used by kennel personnel, and can transport contagious agents (bacteria, viruses) into the kennel. However, kennels with a “No Visitors” policy should provide you some type of viewing window, so that you can see where your pet will be staying.

In visiting your local kennels, you will observe that there are several types of kennel designs currently in use. Some kennels have indoor/outdoor runs; some have totally enclosed facilities; and some house pets inside, but utilize outside exercise areas. Each of these designs has its own advantages, and you should ask the kennel operator to explain the advantages of the system in use at that kennel

Security

When you are on a trip, your pet may decide to try to “find” you. Because of this tendency, and because very few homes are designed with pet security in mind, pets can escape from inexperienced individuals who might be asked to watch your pet. Boarding kennels, on the other hand, are designed to prevent this kind of accident. During your kennel visit, look for sturdy, well-maintained fencing, gates and dividers between runs. If your dog is a climber, digger or some other type of “escape artist” tell the kennel operator so that extra precautions can be taken (wire covered runs, locks on gates, etc.). Cats always require covered facilities.

Safety

Kennels areas where your pet will stay should be free of sharp objects, harmful chemicals and objects your pet might swallow. Primary enclosures (sleeping quarters) should provide solid dividers between your pet and the other boarders, both for reasons of safety and so that your pet will be able to relax and sleep without feeling challenged by his or her neighbors. Exercise areas should include barriers between runs high enough to prevent male dogs from urinating into adjacent runs. Surfaces should offer good traction even when wet. Firefighting equipment should be readily available.

Supervision:

Proper supervision is the key to good boarding. Pets should be checked frequently during the day by someone who is trained to recognize the signs of illness and distress. Experience and practical knowledge are required to detect or interpret such symptoms as lethargy (“I thought he was just sleeping”), severe intestinal disorders (friends or acquaintances rarely check the backyard for bloody stool), urinary problems, loss of appetite, coughing, sneezing, or discharges from the eyes or nose. Yet, all of these signs can be significant. Competent kennel personnel are trained to recognize and evaluate such signs and to seek veterinary assistance when needed. Therefore, you should try to evaluate the competence of the kennel personnel.