Playing with friends, watching TV, lounging on a comfy cot and eating well were all on Jinx’s “to do” list. Jinx, a beautiful Norwegian Elkhound, enjoyed these activities and more at a boarding kennel while his owners were away. Luckily, their good planning turned the oft-dreaded kennel situation into a doggy holiday.
Here are their tips on how to find good dog boarding facilities -- and what to do once the big day arrives.
How to Find a Good Boarding Kennel
A simple online or phone book search for a boarding kennel provides no assurance of quality. Since the health of your dog is at stake, it’s best to rely upon trusted word of mouth.
Your veterinarian might also be a tremendous resource, as boarding kennels often work with vets in the area. This tactic is doubly useful, since your vet can recommend not only a kennel, but also any vaccinations your dog requires before the stay.
What to Do When Researching a Kennel
Once you’ve selected one or more kennels, be sure to visit them in person and note the following:
• Amount of light and ventilation
• Expertise and consideration of staff
• Available services
If the facility has cats, make sure they’re housed away from dogs. And even if the business caters exclusively to dogs, ask if they’re kept in separate areas based on age. Geriatric dogs, in particular, tend to be more sensitive, requiring their own quiet area.
Preparation Before Your Dog’s Stay
It’s a good idea to arrange for your dog to have a “test visit” to the kennel -- a half- or whole-day visit, just to see how he reacts there without you. Issues such as separation anxiety can crop up at this time. That’s important, as some dogs simply don’t handle boarding well -- they stop eating, bark incessantly, pant or exhibit other signs of stress. In those extreme cases, you’re better off finding out ahead of time and hiring a pet sitter.
Assuming your dog is fine after the test run, you can begin other preparations. At this point, you should have already ensured your dog has had your vet’s OK, as well as the necessary vaccinations. It’s also best to bathe your pet beforehand (although many boarding kennels can take care of cleaning and grooming).
You’ll also want to determine what goodies to leave with your pet. Some owners provide the kennel with the dog’s kibble, while others rely upon the food the kennel provides. Even if you go for the latter option, it helps to bring some of your dog’s regular food so that your pet can easily transition to the new diet. Also, for comfort it’s a nice idea to pack your dog’s favourite things, such as his bed and toys that require little to no supervision.
On the Big Day and Throughout Your Dog’s Visit
When you drop your dog off, try not to get too upset as it could affect how your pet feels about the situation. Instead, make it a happy thing. Good kennels usually have one or more cheery staff members on hand to welcome your dog.
Many kennels permit you to keep in touch with your pet throughout the stay -- from daily calls to 24/7 webcam monitoring. After the visit, when you’re ready to pick up your dog, boarding kennels often provide a “report card” discussing how he fared. This can help you focus on any problem areas before next year’s holidays -- and the need for repeat doggy boarding -- comes along.
By Jennifer Viegas for Exceptional Canine
This editorial content is bought to you by Eukanuba