Chances are, at one point or another, you will have to turn to someone else to take care of your dog. Perhaps you have accepted a job that will take you a month away from the city. Maybe you are finally leaving for this long-awaited cruise. Whatever the reason, you find yourself in need of someone reliable and trustworthy to take care of Rover. Although some dogs do better at home with an animal sitter, other dogs do better in a boarding kennel. Consider your dog’s personality and needs before making a decision.
Things to know in advance: For kennels, the pet boarding is a business. Their success depends as much on volume as on quality care. The kennels take care of many animals at the same time and your pet will probably be kept in a cage or running. Don’t expect a kennel to give your pet the same kind of attention and affection as you do. it just won’t happen. But good kennel workers have a natural love for dogs that will be kind and gentle and will take care of your pet to the best of its ability.
Choice of kennel: most veterinary surgeries offer boarding services. Although veterinary care may be limited, with smaller cages and limited exercise opportunities, many people, especially those whose animals have medical needs, feel safer leaving their pets behind. trusted veterinarian. Other owners are turning to private boarding kennels that can range from bare bones to luxurious ones. Sparse facilities do not differ much from veterinary offices. The cages are generally small and exercise is limited to two walks per day. More expensive facilities offer mixed play time for socialized dogs, outdoor exercise areas, larger tracks rather than cages and grooming services (all of which may be chargeable). High-end dog hotels are popular in some areas. Your dog can receive a massage, bath and haircut, obedience training, soothing music and luxury bedding while you are away.
Where to start: Whatever level of care you decide on, there are some basic things to know and do before making a final decision on where to board your pet. Price, comfort, health and safety are all valid concerns. After all, you give someone else one of the most emotionally precious things in your life.
Ask your friends, neighbors, family and your veterinarian or dog trainer for recommendations. Then do a little background investigation. If your state requires licenses and inspections, make sure the kennels you are considering are in good standing. Also ask if the potential farm belongs to the American Boarding Kennels Association. This professional association promotes professional standards, obliges members to subscribe to a code of ethics and offers accreditation for professionalism, safety and quality of care. If you are convinced that a kennel meets the basic requirements, schedule a visit.
What to look for: first impressions are important. Sniff the air as soon as you enter. There should be no strong odor or antiseptic odor from urine or feces. Some antiseptic odors are understandable in concrete areas, but if odors invade your nose when you walk through the door, you may want to consider another kennel.
Look for a pleasant atmosphere. Do the current onboard dogs look happy? Are they coming to the front of the kennel to greet you? Dogs who lie in the back and do not interact are a bad sign. Are the staff competent, confident, friendly and attentive or do they seem harassed and irritable? Are there enough workers or are they understaffed and overworked? Is the kennel owner ready and willing to show you where your dog will be housed and the exercise areas? Otherwise, strike it off your list.
Take mental notes when you visit the facility. Are the dog beds clean? Look for food bowls and clean water bowls without scum or floating objects. Are the tracks clean or are there excrement? It’s impossible to keep all tracks clean 100% of the time, but you can tell the difference between dirt and recent deposits. Is the kennel full of debris? Does the building need serious repairs? Is there good ventilation and a comfortable temperature? If possible, take a look at the kitchen. A clean kitchen is a good indicator of a clean animal area. Take a tour of the exercise areas and outdoor races. Are they protected from the elements? Is the noise level overwhelming? Although it is impossible to prevent dogs from barking, especially while someone is walking through the facility, the kennel should not be overcrowded to the point where dogs constantly bark. Observe all the activities on offer. Note especially how aggressive dogs are handled.
Brass nails: If your first impressions are favorable, go to the details. You should know if the animals need to be up to date on vaccination. Some kennels now require that your dog be vaccinated against Bordetella, canine kennel cough. Many kennels will allow you to bring your dog’s regular food. This not only reduces their costs, but helps your dog adjust to the life of the kennel. If it is important that your pet continues to follow its regular diet, ask; don’t just assume. What veterinary services are available? Does the kennel have a veterinarian on call? You may prefer that the kennel call your veterinarian if there is a need. Make this information readily available and inform your veterinarian that your pet will remain in a kennel during your absence. Ask about feeding schedules. If your pet needs regular doses of medication, make sure this service is available. Find out how much exercise your dog will do and how often he is allowed to potty. Can you bring your dog’s bedding and his favorite toy? Is it important to you that a staff member be on the property 24 hours a day? If so, make sure it does in the establishment of your choice. Make sure you get a breakdown of the fees. Some services are included in the basic daily rates, others are not. If price is an issue, get the details ahead of time so you won’t be surprised when you get home. And finally, trust your gut. If you are not feeling well in a particular kennel, go elsewhere.
Prepare your pet: you have therefore taken all the preliminary measures and selected a kennel for your pet. Now you need to prepare Rover for his stay. If the facility offers dog care in addition to longer term care, give your pet a chance to try it. Take it once or twice just for the day. Take note of his first impressions and reactions. Ask the staff about their behavior and their interaction with other animals.
Make sure your pet knows the basic controls. Make sure it is up to date on vaccinations and that it is free from fleas (most kennels need it). If your pet will be staying in the kennel for an extended period, you may want to consider trying a weekend excursion. This allows you to resolve any issues before the long stay. If necessary, teach your dog to sit before being petted or fed and to walk quietly on a leash. Socialize it with strangers, especially if medication or grooming will be provided at the kennel. Make sure he is used to a crate if he will be one at the kennel. This will make the stay less stressful and less frightening for your pet.
Prepare the farm staff: No one likes surprises, not even the farm staff used to working with all animal figures. If your dog has unusual fears, triggers of aggression or other idiosyncrasies, be honest for the safety and well-being of everyone involved. Let them know if Rover is not properly trained, hates men or eats things he is not supposed to.
On the day of the breeding: exercise Rover before handing it over to the breeding staff. Leave the children at home. Enter the kennel door, give Rover a pat, tell him you will see him soon and let him go. Long goodbyes, hugs and tears will only stress your pet (and you). He will not hate you for your departure. Have fun.
Going Home: One last thing, don’t be surprised or alarmed if your dog separates and sleeps a lot when you get home. He is not angry with you or has had a miserable time. The dogs in the kennels are awake from dawn until night. They are excited by the barking of dogs, the meal times and the visitors walking past them. It may just be exhausted.
Boarding kennels can be a good solution for times when your pet should be left behind. Do your homework and find the best facility for you and your pet. It is well worth the time. Your peace of mind and the health of your pet are your reward.
by Sherry Massey