How to Find Reputable Dog Kennels

If you're planning an extended stay away from home and aren't comfortable with the idea of giving professional pet sitters access to your house, dog boarding kennels can be a great alternative. However, you must be careful because not all pet kennels are created equal. Some of them can be filthy, poorly managed or run by uncaring or even abusive staff, posing a danger to your dog's mental and physical well-being. So, before you head out of town and leave your furry friend behind, take the time to find a suitable kennel.

How to Screen Boarding Kennels

Call ahead and make appointments to see the kennels you're interested in. During the screening process, you want to make sure the kennels are clean, well-ventilated and spacious enough to accommodate your dog. Other things you should look for include:

  • Dog kennels should be comfortably heated or cooled.
  • Indoor and outdoor kennel runs should be clean and free of debris.
  • Kennel staff should be kind, compassionate and enjoy being around animals.
  • Outdoor dog kennels should offer animals protection from the weather.
  • There should be visible signs that fresh food and water are given to dogs daily.
  • Dog beds and food and water bowls should be clean.
  • The facility should smell clean.

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Questions to Ask a Kennel Operator

When you visit potential boarding kennels, asking the right questions is an important part of the screening process. Asking questions also helps you better understand the types of dog services the kennels offer. Some of the questions you should ask include:

  • Do they accommodate special diets?
  • What is their policy on administering medications to pets (important if your dog has a medical condition)?
  • Will they contact you and your dog's primary veterinarian if your dog gets sick?
  • Do they offer baths to pets before they return home?
  • Are animals required to have flea dips and updated shots – including one for kennel cough?
  • Is there someone on the property to supervise dogs at all times (not mandatory, but some people prefer this)?
  • Will your dog be exercised daily?

If your pooch has never stayed in a kennel before, it may be wise to have it stay for a short amount of time before your actual trip, just to see how it handles being away from you. Your pooch deserves the best, so if there is anything about a kennel that makes you uncomfortable, scratch the facility off your list and move on to the next one.