Your dog is a part of your family, but unfortunately, he doesn’t always get to come on your family trips. Sometimes the hotels don’t allow pets, or Great Aunt Nelda is allergic, or your dog gets so carsick, it’s not worth even attempting a road trip.
Whatever your reason for leaving Spot behind, you need to know that he is taken care of the right way for the duration of your vacation. Sometimes hiring a neighbor or in-home dog sitter is the best route for your dog’s needs, but for most dogs, dog boarding is the way to go.
Pros of Dog Boarding
Overnight dog boarding has a lot of benefits over in-home dog sitting. For one, your dog will have constant supervision, which means that he won’t tear apart the couch cushions because he’s bored. It also takes a load off your shoulders because you know that there’s always someone there to keep an eye on him. Trained staff know what to look for if your dog has a health emergency, and a good boarding kennel will have quick access to quality veterinary care should the need arise.
The staff at dog boarding kennels also give your dog attention and stimulation throughout the day, and your dog has the option to socialize with other dogs. Some local dog kennels also offer optional training programs to help your dog learn tricks and manners!
What should I look for in a quality kennel?
With so many different kennels in the phone book, it can feel overwhelming to choose one, but your pup’s life and happiness are literally in their hands, so you shouldn’t take the decision lightly. Here is a list of things to look for when you’re shopping around:
Utah County requires that dog kennels have a valid kennel license as well as a valid business license on display at all times. The kennel license ensures that your dog will be in a clean, safe, healthy, and adequately spacious environment during his stay. The business license shows that the business is up to standard and is an additional safeguard for your pet. You might also check in with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any negative reports regarding the business side of things.
The staff should be the next thing that you observe closely. All of the people who work there should be knowledgeable, but also kind and patient. You should be able to ask them questions, and they should be asking you questions right back. As you tour the facility, the staff member should be asking about your dog’s temperament, interests, medical history, and other pertinent details. If they’re not acting interested, that should be a red flag.
Additionally, the staff-to-dog ratio should be as low as possible, but no more than one staff member for 10 dogs at a time. Any more than that and your dog won’t have the care or attention he needs to stay healthy and happy.
Before you leave your precious pooch at a kennel, you should go for a tour to get a feel for the place. A respectable kennel will let you tour at any time, and you should be wary if they ask you to make an appointment for a tour.
As you walk around the facility, one of the biggest indicators of a quality kennel is cleanliness. It will still probably smell like animal, but it should also smell clean and sanitary. The outdoor spaces should be well taken care of, and there should be procedures in place for taking care of dog waste.
The ambiance is another important thing to pay attention to as you tour the facility. If there is a cat area, it should be quiet, and the dog area should be quiet-ish. Dogs are a lot more vocal than cats, but even still, they shouldn’t be going nuts in their kennels. That kind of noise and distraction can agitate pets that already feel sensitive about being away from home.
The amount of exercise that your dog receives will probably directly correspond with how much you’re paying per day. Some kennels include walks, outside play, or one-on-one time or training in their base fee, but other kennels make you pay for these separately as extra services.
Additional Questions to Ask
As you research different facilities, you should feel comfortable asking a lot of questions because your pet’s life is literally in their hands. Additional questions to ask include:
- What is the feeding schedule?
- Do you charge more to administer medication?
- What are the rules regarding medication?
- Will my dog get playtime with other dogs and for how long each day?
- Is any grooming included in the daily fee?
- What is the pick-up/drop-off time?
- What toys, treats, or comfort objects do you allow? What isn’t allowed?
- What shots and records do you require?
- What are your procedures in the event of an emergency?
- Will a staff member be present at all times?
Your pet is important to you, and his safety and happiness should be important to whichever kennel you choose. Take the time to swing by for a tour and ask a lot of questions so that you can have peace of mind when you take your next pet-free trip.