How To Choose a Boarding Kennel

You are going to be away from home for a vacation or business trip… what about your pets? A pet sitter is one option; a boarding kennel is another choice that can give you more peace of mind than asking a friend or family member to remember to take care of your precious pets.

The advantages to using a boarding kennel are many. You don’t have to worry about making travel arrangements for your pet, and finding a pet-friendly hotel. With a boarding kennel, your pets will have supervision and attention throughout the day and night. The kennel staff will watch for health and behavior problems that may develop while you are away. And if your pet happens to be an escape artist, you can rest easy knowing the kennel is secure.

Finding a good kennel can be as easy as asking a friend or family member who they use. You can also talk to your veterinarian, local shelter or breeder association, and trainer. Check with the American Boarding Kennels Association for help in finding a kennel that meets ABKA standards of professionalism, safety, cleanliness, and quality of care. Your state may also require boarding kennel inspections; if your state does, make sure the kennel you choose is licensed or certified by the state.

Before you make your final decision, visit the kennel or kennels you are considering. Ask to see all the areas where your pet may be taken; pay attention to the cleanliness and smell of the kennel, plus other details like temperature, lighting, and ventilation. Watch the staff, to see how they interact with the animals. Are they knowledgeable, gentle, and caring? Look at the sizes of indoor and outdoor runs, and ask about exercise schedules.

Some other questions you may want to ask:

  • Will the animals be sleeping on the floor, or are beds provided?
  • Are cats and dogs housed separately?
  • Do cats have plenty of space between food and water bowls and litter boxes?
  • What is the feeding schedule?
  • Can your pets eat food from home, or must they eat the food provided by the kennel?
  • Are pets required to be current on vaccinations for rabies, parvo, and distemper? Are other vaccinations (like kennel cough) required?
  • Are emergency veterinary services available?
  • Are grooming services available?