If you’ve ever lodged your dog in a dog boarding kennel, you’d have realized that it is nothing to guilt trip yourself over. There are a number of times when the boarding option is inevitable.
For one, a good number of hotels do not allow for pets within the premises. Other times, your dog might be too sick to travel or the cost of transporting him with you might not just be logical.
The possibility of the need to lodge your dog in a boarding kennel facility arising is reasonably high. So it makes sense that you are equipped with as much information as you can get on the concept of boarding your dog. Luckily for you, we have the information you need. So, come with us, let’s do this.
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This is basically sending your dog off somewhere for a period of time for reasons best known to you. There are two options when it comes to boarding your dog; home boarding and boarding kennel.
With home boarding, you take your dog to a family who has dogs of their own. They take care of your dog and try as much as possible to stick with his usual routine.
People with senior dogs usually go with this option because, well, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Getting him to change his routine, however short the time, might prove too much of an effort. Some other people go for this option because it is not as structured as the other option.
Dog Boarding Kennel
A dog kennel is a property or building where dogs are housed or sheltered for different purposes. There are basically two reasons why dogs are housed in a kennel; for breeding and for boarding.
In some cases, one establishment can decide to do both. However, it is common to find specialized kennels for breeding and boarding separately. The focus of this article is the specialized kennel for boarding.
A breeding kennel is created for the production of animals. So a bunch of dogs are housed and made to mate. They produce puppies that will eventually be sold off and the cycle continues. Breeding kennels are heavily regulated to ensure that they don’t carry out any funny business.
A dog boarding kennel, on the other hand, is a facility where dogs are housed temporarily pending the time that their owners come to retrieve them. Dog are housed in a structured environment with routines that are supposed to be accommodating for all the dogs involved, kinda like a human boarding school. All these are done for a fee, of course.
Dog Boarding And Dog Sitting
We have to say categorically that dog boarding (the home kind or the kennel kind) is not synonymous with dog sitting. With dog boarding your dog leaves your house to a different place, be it someone else’s home or a kennel.
However, with dog sitting, the hired dog sitter either stays in your house throughout the duration of your absence or they come in, say twice a day, to feed and generally take care of your dog.
If you won’t be away for so long and can find somebody that you’re comfortable leaving your house open to, you could go for this option. It makes it easier on your dog if he is old or generally finds it difficult to adapt to a different environment.
However, if you want your dog to have the pleasure of being with other dogs and your dog is a regular happy-go-lucky dog then you could go with the boarding kennel idea.
The Upsides To Patronizing A Dog Boarding Kennel
- Your dog gets to avoid the long car or plane rides that might be too stressful for him.
- There are a lot of people to give him all the attention (medical and otherwise) he needs making it a better option than being home alone.
- A kennel is the best option if you have an escape artist on your hands.
The Downsides To Patronizing A Dog Boarding Kennel
- It is not a good idea if your dog is aggressive. He might not mix well with other boarders.
- There is the tiny possibility of your dog catching something from other boarders.
Thankfully, there is a regulating body that tries to minimize these downsides as much as possible.
The American Boarding Kennels Association
Just like breeding kennels are regulated, boarding kennels are too by the above named body. This body, which was born in 1977, is in charge of ensuring that dog boarding kennels are not just about the love and the passion.
They ensure that the environment is safe and favorable for all dog breeds (at least the ones they want to house). They also make sure that boarding kennels have the right facilities (quality and quantity) to house the number of dogs they are proposing.
The American Boarding Kennels Association (known as ABKA henceforth) does not just regulate, they also educate. They make sure that boarding kennel operators are up to speed with all the developments there are in taking caring of pets. ABKA also tries to make sure that everybody is ethical in their business and sets reasonable fees.
Knowing that there is such a body regulating and educating kennel operators should give you a sense of confidence in boarding kennels. Yup, that was the plan.
Is My Dog Too Old/Young To Board?
Most dog boarding kennels set the minimum age limit for a dog at 4 months. The reason is they want to make sure that your dog has had his first two shots (which he should have gotten at 12 weeks and 16 weeks respectively). This is best for all involved because a puppy that has not been vaccinated is at risk of contracting anything.
Most kennels don’t have a maximum age limit because, much like humans, not all dogs behave their age. However, a good number of the kennel operators are skeptical about boarding senior dogs because of how trying it could be to make an old dog adapt to a new routine.
That said, before you drop your dog off in a boarding kennel, there are a few things to do.
Finding A Boarding Kennel For Your Dog
There are no rules to this. You could ask for recommendations from fellow dog parents. Your veterinarian should also have information on a couple of dog boarding kennels.
You’ll need to get a couple of recommendations and run a background check on them (yes, it’s that serious). This should help you narrow down the options to a few. Here’s what to do next.
Before You Go To The Dog Boarding Kennel
- Try to call the kennel first. You know how you are not so excited if someone just shows up in your house and plans to stay the weekend without telling you? That’s probably how dog boarders feel when people just show up with their pets.
A better description is what happens when you go to a hotel and it is already fully booked. Yea that’s what you’re setting yourself up for if you just burst in there. This is especially possible during holiday periods because everyone wants to travel but not everyone has the capacity to carry their dogs with them.
So, put a call across to the dog boarding kennel and be sure that they have room for you dog.
- The next thing to do is to pay the kennel a visit. We know that you’ve seen them advertise or you heard from a friend that has used them before. Still, humor us and visit the place. Go there personally so that you can decide for yourself if it is a place that your dog can stay. Nobody can decide that for you.
You could also go there with your dog and gauge his reaction. That should help inform your decision.
What To Look Out For In A Dog Boarding Kennel
We agree that there is no place like home. However, if you have to be away from home, there are some things you would want to see and experience that will make the stay bearable and dare we say enjoyable.
Also, the existence of some of those things makes the people in your life comfortable, with mobile network being really important
Same goes for your dog. If he is going to be away from home for a bit, do ensure that his stay away is as comfortable as possible. Also, do it for your peace of mind. So what are those things? We’ve examined them below
- Does the place look OK to you? This is absolutely important and we are not just talking aesthetics. We are talking structural design, cleanliness and such. The kennel operators should allow you take a tour of the facilities.
- One of the reasons you should take your dog to a kennel if you won’t be around is that your dog might decide to locate you. If your dog is very attached to you, this is a definite possibility. So, be sure that security in the boarding kennel is tight enough. One of the questions to ask is what kind of fencing system they use. You know your dog and should know the kind of fence that is not fence enough.
- Be sure that the place is safe enough for your dog. The operators should have made sure that there are no environmental hazards lying around. Also, the kennel should be prepared for any undesirable event not excluding a fire outbreak.
- The dog boarding kennel operators should allow you speak with the professionals on ground so that you can determine their competence. The reason is, you want to be sure that there is somebody who is trained to notice any unfavorable sign in your dog. Someone that will not miss something or mistake something for something else.
- Inquire about their health care services. How do they want you to go about getting veterinary services? Are you to provide or are they going to? Will you be allowed to bring in your dog’s favorite foods or treats? Are they particular about immunization? These are some of the questions to ask.
- The facilities on ground should be good enough to give your dog physical comfort. Be particular about things like lighting, sleeping quarters, bedding, ventilation and the like. Also, find out if they board other animals. If they do, what’s the arrangement like?
Prepping Your Dog For Dog Boarding Kennel
First off, if your dog is aggressive around new people or animals, boarding house might not be the right option for him. Your dog should be comfortable enough around other pets and humans alike. Also, he should be well versed (OK, moderately versed is also OK) in the fine art of communication.
Make sure your dog is up to date with his vaccinations. Also, if he is taking any kind of medication be sure to carry it along and inform the kennel staff. Remember to inform them of any phobias and quirks if he has any.
At this point we’re sure that you can confidently make a choice about whether to board your dog or not. If you’ve decided on boarding, you know what to do, don’t you? Go ahead, you’re OK!