This is the one time every year that you dread: leaving your loving companion at home. You have tried to make trip arrangements for your dog, too; but for whatever reason (your dog’s age, temperament, the destination or length of trip), you just will not be able to take him with you. You have been hearing your friends talk about boarding kennels, so maybe you should find out more information.

It is fairly easy to find a kennel in most areas. Often, a local veterinarian facility doubles as a kennel. Other times, people open independent boarding kennels. The choice is yours, but it is a good idea to check out your options before you commit to one. There are many good things about your veterinarian kennel: you are probably already familiar with the staff, your dog may already be familiar with the environment, there are an adequate number of staff members, and it has on-site emergency facilities. There are not so good things about a veterinarian kennel, too (although this does not apply to all vets): the staff may be stretched thin between the patients and boarders, the kennel may not have appropriate exercise facilities, other animals in the kennel are probably there for health reasons and may put your pooch at risk, and the scents and sounds of a veterinarian clinic can cause more stress for your already stressed out dog.

No matter which type of kennel you choose, there are always things you must keep in mind and look for while visiting the kennel. A pre-visit is very important. Be courteous and set up an appointment to see the facilities. You want to make sure that the kennel will not be extremely busy, and someone will be there to answer all your questions. When you make the initial visit, pay close attention to the staff. Are there enough people there to spend quality time with every animal? Is the staff happy, professional, and have good attitudes around the animals? A grouchy, inadequate staff can make your dog’s stay miserable.

While you are there, ask about how the facility will care for your dog. Common questions include: how much time will my dog spend exercising per day? How much time will a staff member spend playing and giving attention to my dog? What will you do in case of an emergency? While you are asking these questions, do the math in your head. If they say that a staffer will spend two hours with your dog everyday, but you have only seen two staffers and 30 dogs, then this may not be true. Also, take a whiff of your surroundings. The kennel should not have a bad odor, nor should it smell like disinfectant (you want your dog to be completely comfortable). It’s always a plus if each “living space” has its own scooper. This is not necessary, but it does help prevent the spread of disease.

The people at the boarding kennel should also ask about your dog. They should want to know his temperaments, behaviors, fears, special diet, feeding time, medication, etc. They should ask about his health record and vaccinations. Do not try to hide anything from the kennel. If your dog does not play well with other dogs, then tell them this up front (or any other kind of behavior they need to know about). They are there to ensure the comfort of every dog they board. A good kennel will also try to keep your dog’s schedule. Many dogs are under high stress when they arrive, especially if it is their first time at a kennel. Keeping the same feeding and walking routine will help your dog relax.

This is just a few suggestions of how to choose a kennel. Recommendations from friends and veterinarians are always a good starting point. Never pick the first kennel you come across in the phone book. Take time to make an appointment, and check out the facilities before you leave your dog in a strange place. The staff should always have animal-loving personalities, and the kennels should be clean. Do not be afraid to ask any questions you may have. And, don’t worry; your dog will be fine!

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Article written by Shelly Seigler. Find Elite pet products at low prices with Discount Pet Mall. Shop Uniquely for dog training collars, dog tracking collars, & electric dog fences