Kennel Know-How

Kennel Know-How


Considering boarding kennels? It’s a good idea to plan-ahead. You will want to be sure that your dog is well-cared for, safe and happy while you are away. Iain Why answers some common questions and provides some tips on choosing the right boarding kennel.

A dog is your companion and we as dog owners try to spend as much time as possible with our four-legged friends. If it was up to us it would be none stop holidays and the dog would be welcome. However, there may be times when you need to spend time away from home when it is impractical or not possible to take your dog with you. This could be one of many reasons; You may need to travel on business, need hospital treatment or be going on holiday and to set your mind at rest it is important you know your pet is being cared for. Let’s have a look at some of the important factors to consider when choosing a boarding kennel

How do I find a dog kennel?

Boarding kennels advertise online, in pet directories, local vets and pet shops. You will have increased confidence in the establishment if it has been recommended to ask around, friends with dogs, your local vet even online forums can be a great way of finding out which kennels would be best-suited to you and your pet. Ring around and contact 2 or 3 dog kennels in your local area and make a list of questions to ask about the services they offer.

How far in advance should I book a Boarding Kennel?

Book early, many of the more popular kennels are booked up to a year in advance for peak holiday times and you will want to ensure you reserve your first choice. Booking in plenty of time also gives you the opportunity to visit the kennels and check the facilities. Turning up the day before your trip and finding the amenities are not to your satisfaction will cause stress for both yourself and your dog.

Do Boarding Kennels need a licence?

In the UK, all boarding kennels are required to obtain a licence from their local authority and this must be displayed at all times. The licence is renewed annually and the kennels are also inspected on a yearly basis. Licenced Kennels must comply with rules and regulations relating to kennel size, hygiene, feeding and general welfare, but be aware this applies to the minimum standard of care and just because an establishment is licenced doesn’t mean it offers the standard of care you are comfortable with.

Should I visit the Boarding Kennels before booking?

Definitely! Many kennels are happy to welcome visitors anytime although it might be worth checking so you can avoid their busiest times when they might not have time to stop and answer questions. Things to look out for during your visit include:

  • Cleanliness – The kennels should be clean, tidy and have no lingering bad smells. water bowls should be clean and full.
  • Staff – Dog’s love companionship so it is important the staff are caring and experienced dog lovers that will spend time with your pooch.
  • Safety – Arguably the most important factor. Is there a safe place for your dog to be off leash? Do they have access to a secure run? Are the kennels well-maintained, well ventilated, and heating provided in the colder months? Look out for broken fences or sharp edges that could potentially cause injury. Are the dogs walked separately?
  • Atmosphere – Do the dogs already residing at the kennels look happy and relaxed? You can expect some noise as you walk around the facility as the dogs will be excited and will bark but this should quickly settle down. You should not see lots of depressed looking hounds.

What vaccinations will my dog need in Boarding Kennels?

All dog kennels should insist your canine companion is up-to-date with vaccinations before boarding and you will need to provide certification from your vet otherwise you dog will be refused. Kennel cough is a flu-like illness and is easily transmitted wherever dogs are in close proximity. You will need to ask your local vet to administer the vaccination around 2 weeks before the booked stay. In the case of puppies it is recommended they have completed the second course of injections at least a week before boarding for full protection.

Will my dogs stay together in boarding kennels?

If you have more than one dog most dog kennels will provide a bigger pen so they can stay with each other this is something that needs to be discussed on your first visit though as it may not be possible if you have 4 Great Danes.

Do boarding kennels accept puppies?

If you are a regular traveller it can be a good idea to get a puppy used to staying in Kennels from a young age as they are open to new experiences and will learn there is nothing to be fearful of. Boarding Kennels will accept puppies once they have had their vaccinations. It is a good idea to introduce them slowly perhaps overnight or for a weekend before you go away.

What questions should I ask the Boarding Kennel?

Don’t be shy about asking questions, your dog’s welfare is important and a good “rule of paw” is, if you have any misgivings, walk away and look for somewhere else.

  • How often will my dog be walked?
  • Does the kennels have 24/7 access to a vet?
  • Can they cope with any grooming requirements?
  • If you have more than one dog, can they stay together?
  • How will they manage any separation anxiety that may occur?
  • Will my dog get individual attention and playtime?
  • Will they be able to administer any medication your dog needs?
  • How many staff are employed and how many dogs are in residence?
  • Are they licenced?
  • Does the price cover everything? (you don’t want to return to lots of hidden charges)

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