When it comes to finding a great day- or overnight kennel in which to place your dog while you’re away from home, it’s best to plan ahead rather than believe you’ll find a good kennel at the last minute.
You should visit a kennel you’ve never before used several days before your trip. If you like the kennel, ask if you can bring your dog in for a day, so that he can get used to it a bit before you leave him there.
As you hunt for a boarding kennel, make sure you ask these – somewhat awkward – questions of the kennel’s management. Believe us, you’ll be glad you did!
- If the kennel doesn’t automatically offer to give you a tour of a kennel, you may think they don’t offer tours. This may be the case (it’s rare, and a big red flag), but don’t be shy: ask if you can get a tour.
- If the kennel operator says you can’t go for a tour for “insurance reasons,” walk away. Any kennel operator that runs a clean, inviting kennel will be proud to show you around. If she doesn’t want to and gives a lame excuse, don’t board at the kennel – the operator is hiding something.
- The kennel also may not offer you to bring your dog in for a trial visit. Again, it’s not rude to ask if the visit isn’t proffered: ask!
You have questions; the kennel should have answers.
- “I see that the ground is wet by that dog’s kennel. How long has it been wet? Is it urine? If it’s urine and it’s been there for an hour, why hasn’t it been cleaned?” No kennel is going to be pristine. But a kennel’s staff should be working to clean it up regularly. If a urine puddle, poop in a kennel or other “dirt” hasn’t been cleaned up quickly, you have a good reason to ask why.
- “May I see your dog run/play area? If you don’t have one, how often will my dog be allowed to run freely, if at all? Does he get to interact with other dogs at all?” If you go on a tour and you don’t see a play area, don’t be shy about asking if there is one. Many kennels don’t have a play area for their guests. This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker but you’ll want to know how often your dog will be walked and engaged with each day.
- “What does the daily fee include?” Don’t just settle for the first, short, answer. Keep digging. Does your pet need special meds administered? If the kennel doesn’t have a vet tech on staff, who will administer the medications? These are important questions to have answered and you should be politely assertive until you receive answers to any and all questions you may have.
- “What are your policies and procedures in case of emergency?” All kennels should have written policies and procedures document in place in case of emergency while you’re away. If the kennel doesn’t have it, ask why. If the answer is something along the lines of “we figure it out as we go along,” consider finding another kennel.
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