Monday, May 23, 2011

How to Pick a Kennel

Traveling this summer?

If you must kennel your dog, kennels can range from the barebones to the ultra-fancy. What is most important is the general safety and the friendliness and competence of the staff.

What to Look For in a Kennel:

1. The first thing you should do is visit the kennel before you board. Most kennels welcome these visits, and it gives you a chance to see their facilities and ask specific questions. Your questions should be answered to your satisfaction, so that you will feel comfortable leaving your pet when you are away.

2. The kennel should be clean inside and out. Proper sanitation is one of the most important aspects of preventing the spread of contagious diseases. The cages and runs should look and smell clean. Animals that are currently boarding should be clean and appear well cared for. Look at the outdoor area where the dogs are walked. Waste material should be routinely removed, leaving the area relatively free of fecal material.

3. Getting a certain amount of exercise is important for each animal, but how much and how often depends on the individual dog's need and the ability of the kennel to offer these services. Discuss this with the kennel. Find out how often dogs are walked, or if they are allowed to run free in an enclosed area. Some kennels will give dogs extra walks or exercise time, but often at an additional charge. Still, the added activity may be well worth it for the active dog.

4. Indoors, the boarding facility should have adequate cage and run sizes, with larger cages for bigger dogs. Natural light from windows is great, but if not available, indoor lighting should adequate. The air should circulate well and not smell stagnant. Proper ventilation will significantly decrease the risk of disease transmission.

5. Find out how many animals are routinely boarded at a single time and the number of staff taking care of the animals. More people and fewer animals may mean more attention for the individual animals.

7. Some kennels have associations with specific veterinarians either on the premises or working nearby. Find out how sudden illness is addressed. The kennel's veterinarian may be the one contacted for treatment, or it might be your regular veterinarian. If you have a specific preference, discuss this with the kennel owner.

8. If your dog is on medication that is given several times a day, make sure that the kennel personnel are able to administer it appropriately. Some kennels may not be able to give medication as often as your pet requires.

9. Some boarding facilities offer an added benefit of grooming services. Consider having your dog groomed the day he or she is scheduled to go home. It is always nice for your dog to come back from the kennel smelling clean, fresh and newly groomed.

Next blog will focus on the requirements of a kennel.

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