TIPS FOR CHOOSING
A BOARDING KENNEL
Call to see if the kennel
can accommodate your pet. During peak times such as
the Christmas season and summer holidays, many kennels
are booked up and cannot accept your pet. Also, because
some pets require special handling or accommodations
(very young puppies, animals on special medication
or feeding schedules, or giant breeds, for example),
all kennels may not accept them. While you are on
the phone, make an appointment to visit the kennel.
Telephone the Kennel
A personal visit is essential to determine whether
the kennel will be satisfactory.
Make a visit to the Kennel.
Following regular daily clean-up procedures, the kennel
should look (and smell) neat and clean. Kennel operators
are proud of their kennels and like to show them off,
but some of them do not permit visitors in areas where
animals are housed. There are two key reasons for
establishing a "No Visitors" policy.
some dogs react unpredictably to strangers. (They
become excessively fearful or aggressive.) As a result,
the presence of strangers in the kennel can cause
such dogs to injure themselves or develop intestinal
problems. Second, visitors do not follow the same
stringent disinfecting procedures used by kennel personnel,
and can transport contagious agents (bacteria, viruses)
into the kennel. However, kennels with a "No
Visitors" policy should provide you some type
of viewing window, so that you can see where your
pet will be staying. In visiting your local kennels,
you will observe that there are several types of kennel
designs currently in use.
Some kennels have indoor/outdoor
runs; some have totally enclosed facilities; and some
house pets inside, but utilize outside exercise areas.
Each of these designs has its own advantages, and
you should ask the kennel operator to explain the
advantages of the system in use at that kennel.
Proper supervision is the key to good boarding. Pets
should be checked frequently during the day by someone
who is trained to recognize the signs of illness and
distress. Experience and practical knowledge are required
to detect or interpret such symptoms as lethargy , severe intestinal
disorders (friends or acquaintances rarely check the
backyard for bloody stool), urinary problems (it is
almost impossible to detect blood in urine when pets
urinate on grass), loss of appetite, coughing, sneezing,
or discharges from the eyes or nose. Yet, all of these
signs can be significant.
Competent kennel personnel
are trained to recognize and evaluate such signs and
to seek veterinary assistance when needed. Therefore,
you should try to evaluate the competence of the kennel
The kennel should be free of dirt, faecal accumulation,
odours and parasite infestation (flies, fleas, ticks).
There should be a strict schedule of disinfecting
with effective chemicals.
Kennels areas where your pet will stay should be free
of sharp objects, harmful chemicals and objects your
pet might swallow. Primary enclosures (sleeping quarters)
should provide solid dividers between your pet and
the other boarders, both for reasons of safety and
so that your pet will be able to relax and sleep without
feeling challenged by his or her neighbours.
When you are on a trip, your pet may decide to try
to "find" you. Because of this tendency,
and because very few homes are designed with pet security
in mind, pets can escape from inexperienced individuals
who might be asked to watch your pet.
on the other hand, are designed to prevent this kind
of accident. During your kennel visit, look for sturdy,
well-maintained fencing, gates and dividers between
runs. If your dog is a climber, digger or some other
type of "escape artist" tell the kennel
operator so that extra precautions can be taken (wire
covered runs, locks on gates, etc.). Cats always require
1. Water: Individual containers filled with clean
drinking water should be available to each animal
2. Food: Feeding procedures vary from kennel to kennel.
Some kennels supply preferred brands of feed, which
they serve to all boarders. However, they usually
allow you to bring your pet’s favourite food,
if you wish. Other kennels maintain a stock of the
most popular brands, and feed whatever you request.
Still others require that you bring your pet’s
food when you check in. Determine the kennel’s
policy, and if there are any additional charges for
special feeding arrangements.
3. Veterinary services: Ask about the procedure for
obtaining veterinary service, if required. Some kennels
retain a veterinarian on the premises. Others prefer
to use your pet’s veterinarian so that there
will be a continuity of care. Remember that it is
customary (and responsible) for you to be financially
responsible for any veterinary care required for your
pet while it is being boarded.
4. Immunization requirements: Dogs should be immunized
against rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis,
parainfluenza, parvovirus (DHLPP), and bordetella.
Cats should be vaccinated against rabies, panleukopenia
or distemper, feline rhinotracheitis, calici virus,
and pneumonitis (FVRCPP).
5. Medication policies and procedures: If your pet
is taking medication, advise the kennel operator of
the nature of the problem and the type and frequency
of medication. Many kennels will not accept animals
requiring excessive medication (more than three times
per day, or nighttime medication, for example) or
animals requiring potentially dangerous medication
(diabetes shots, for example).
Remember, it is essential
that heartworm preventative medication be continued
during boarding, if your dog is presently taking such
medication. Inquire whether the kennel provides such
medication, or if you should bring a supply. Ask if
there is an additional charge for medicating.
6. Parasite control: If you live in an area in which
fleas and /or ticks are a problem, your kennel should
utilize procedures for controlling these parasites
(pre-entry examinations for boarders, sprays, dips,
You should inquire into the following items which
will affect the comfort of your pet
1. Temperature control
2. Protection from the elements
4. Comfortable lighting levels
5. Bedding- Kennel or Owner provided
6. Sleeping Quarters- clean, dry and roomy
7. Adequate exercise schedule or exercise area
8. Availability of grooming, bathing, or training