Happy Chocolate Lab

Whether we want to admit it or not, our pets have us wrapped around their cute, adorable little paws. We’d do anything for our pets – they are our family. But no matter how much we love and adore our pets, it’s always nice to take a little time off from the daily routine and head out on vacation, which often means having to leave our pets behind at a boarding kennel.

Fortunately, there are more facilities out there than ever, and choosing the right one will make a ton of difference in how well your pet handles being away from you. The operators of the right boarding kennel will make it their goal to be so kind to your pets, they won’t even realize you’re gone. (Don’t worry, they’ll still be excited to see you upon your return, we swear!)

Here are some tips on how to choose the right boarding kennel to suit your animal’s unique needs.

3 dogs

Ask Around

Depending on where you live, there will be a few different boarding kennel options in your area to choose from. To narrow down the selection and avoid having to personally visit each place, ask other pet owners in your life who they would recommend. If you have a chance, find out from your pet’s veterinarian who they might recommend, while taking into consideration any health conditions your pet has. You can do this at any old time – it is handy information to have before your vacation planning even begins.

If neither of these are options, online reviews can be helpful. Find out what people are saying on social media, and how well the kennel is generally rated. You might also consider checking to see if they are members of the Pet Care Services Association, and how well they fare in the Better Business Bureau. While a lack of association membership doesn’t mean too much, a bad review or two does.

Meet the Staff

This point is very important. You can get a good feel for a place right away just by talking to the people who work there day in and day out. Do they seem interested in answering all of your questions? Does it sound like they know their stuff? This is a good time to find out the ratios of pets to staff at the kennel at any given time. The general rule is at least one staff member per 10 animals.

Find out if the staff are specially trained or certified. While people don’t need to be certified to work at a kennel, anything extra they can offer in terms of recognizing medical emergencies will be beneficial. Also check to see if staff are present around the clock to check on the animals, and whether a veterinarian is on-call.

Take a Tour

Most kennels will offer to take you on a tour of their grounds. Definitely don’t skip this part! You’ll learn a lot during a boarding kennel tour. If you are refused a tour, be very cautious and skeptical of the business.

During the tour you’ll be able to check out where the animals play, how much room they have to roam, and how clean the facilities are kept. Be sure to check out the sleeping quarters, whether or not cats and dogs are kept separately, and if there are separate areas for aggressive breeds, young dogs, and dogs with medical conditions. How’s the temperature indoors? Do the animals appear happy, playful and energetic? How secure is the perimeter?

Puppy Love Grounds

Find Out More

You will have learned a lot about you potential kennel of choice by shaking hands with the staff and by walking the grounds of the facility, but there are some things you’ll want to clarify if they weren’t covered during the tour. For example, ask whether or not you need (or are allowed) to bring anything during your pet’s stay, such as their bedding or favorite toys.

Also find out if the kennel:

  1. Takes dogs out for daily exercise – This isn’t a deal breaker by any stretch, but if the grounds are small and you have an energetic breed, you’ll want to make sure he or she has room to roam, or otherwise is able to get a walk in, or at least some play time. Some kennels will guarantee a daily scheduled walk for your pet if you request it.
  2. Can provide special diets – Many kennel owners are well-versed in the different types of diets pets are on. Find out if the kennel can accommodate your pet’s special dietary restrictions, if they have any. Most kennels will for an additional fee. Are they willing to feed your pets the food you supply, or do they adhere to a one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to feeding time?
  3. Has vaccination and spayed/neutered requirements – A good kennel will require every one of its pet guests to be up to date on their shots, and be either spayed or neutered. This is for the health and well-being of everyone, humans and pets alike, staying at the kennel. You will be required to bring supporting documents.
  4. Is willing and able to administer medicine – If your pet requires daily medication for diabetes, thyroid problems, weight loss, etc., find out if the kennel can accommodate this. If the rest of the kennel checks out, there should be no reason why the kennel wouldn’t be able to facilitate this essential step, but check to make sure. There might be associated fees for this.
  5. Offers additional services – Many kennels offer pet grooming and bathing services along with room and board. While the option of such additional services shouldn’t weigh too heavily on your decision, it’s handy to know what all is available, especially if your pet has a scheduled grooming coming up anyway!

Hours of Operation

Puppy Love GroundsFinally, when it comes to choosing the right kennel for you, make sure the drop-off and pick-up times match up with your vacation schedule. Depending on your hours and theirs, you might be required to book additional nights.

Also remember that at peak times of the year, reputable kennels can fill up fast, and waiting lists are often created. Once you’ve made up your mind, don’t wait until the last minute to book your pet’s room!

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing the right boarding kennel for your pets, but once you find the right fit, you’ll can rest assured that while you’re away from home, your pet is enjoying their holiday, too!

We at Puppy Love invite you to come and take a look at our facilities. We are opened from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week, and are located at 2918 Lamont Road in Victoria, British Columbia. For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch! 

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