Summer is just around the corner, and that means lots of weekend getaways and even longer vacations. While it can be fun to bring your dog along with you when you hit the road, it isn’t always convenient. That’s where dog kennels come in.
Dog kennels are traditional boarding facilities where dogs mix and mingle with other furballs during the day and in most cases, sleep in crates at night. Many pet parents like kennels because they cost less than fancy dog hotels, and give your pal more opportunities to socialize than in-home boarding or pet sitting.
It’s easy to jump on the internet and find a kennel in your area in a matter of minutes, but before you decide to drop your dog off, there are some important things to consider. Here we’ll provide tips for how to select a good dog kennel so that you can feel confident taking a few days off.
Tip #1: Take a Tour
When considering a kennel, ask if you can take a tour of the facility. You should be allowed to view the play areas as well as where your pup will be sleeping at night.
- Check for signs of cleanliness, such as clean floors. While pet messes are normal occurrences in kennels, they should still be cleaned up immediately to prevent the spread of disease and parasites.
- Make sure that fresh water is available at all times.
- Make sure that there are sleeping crates available to accommodate your dog’s size.
If the kennel doesn’t want you to take a tour, this is a red flag, and you should move on.
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Tip #2: Observe Staff and Dogs
A good kennel will have trained staff members keeping watch over the dogs at all times. Take some time to observe the play area. Are the staff members distracted or engaged? Are they stepping in to stop problems before they escalate? Are dogs allowed to behave aggressively?
- Look for a kennel with staff members who seem to genuinely enjoy dogs and who are paying close attention to what’s going on around them.
- While a little wrestling is normal dog behavior, dogs should never be allowed to fight or bite.
- The safest kennels separate dogs by size, reducing the likelihood of small dogs becoming injured or frightened.
Tip #3: Ask About Requirements And Insurance
A good kennel will require that your dog be up to date on their vaccinations, protected from fleas, and pass a temperament test to ensure that the kennel will be a safe place for all dogs. In addition, your dog’s kennel should be bonded and insured. If the kennel you are considering doesn’t have requirements or they aren’t insured, it’s time to look elsewhere.
Tip #4: Check Out Reviews
Thanks to the internet, reviews of businesses such as kennels are right at your fingertips. Sites like Yelp make it easy to search either for a specific business, or for those within a certain geographic location, and then read customer reviews. Look out for horror stories and read the positive reviews, too! Ideally, you’ll get a complete picture of the kennel you’re considering.
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Tip #5: Ask for a Free Trial
Before committing to several days or several weeks, ask for a one day free trial. This will allow you to get a feel for the arrangement, and most good kennels are happy to oblige.
Tip #6: Decide What Is Important to You
Dog kennels really vary when it comes to amenities and services. Some kennels provide “report cards” on your dog’s behavior and activities, some have webcams that allow you to look in on your dog while you’re away, and some offer additional services like grooming. Decide what matters to you in a kennel, and go from there.
Do you take your dog to a kennel? What do you like about it? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus, a benefit program for pet owners that provides member-only access to medications at wholesale prices, plus discounts on food, supplies, vet visits, boarding, and more.