12 Things to Ask Your Kennel When Boarding Your Pup
by Melody Keilig
We don’t always want to board up our pup in a kennel when we’ll be away for a considerable amount of time, but sometimes it’s a must. So when your usual dog sitter isn’t available to watch your dog, how can you determine the kennel you’ve found is the best (and safest) place for them? Here are twelve crucial questions to ask the kennel when boarding your pup!
1. “May I tour the facilities?”
Before committing to a kennel, make sure to ask for a tour of the facilities. A kennel can have a beautiful and clean appearance online, but you never know if it’s an accurate portrayal of the space. If the kennel turns down your request for a tour, move on to the next option. You never want to leave your pup in a place you won’t be able to fully see for yourself. But if they do say yes, bring your dog along to see how they react to the kennel. That way, your pup can have a sense of where you might be leaving them temporarily. After all, you want to ensure that they will be comfortable!
2. “How many dogs are boarded at a time?”
A dog kennel should have a limit on the number of dogs it can house at a time. Ask if each dog gets their own kennel space or if it’s shared with a few other dogs. If the kennel is cramming several dogs into one space, take it as a red flag and find another place. You want to make sure your dog won’t be hurt by overcrowding.
3. “Is there a play area?”
This is another area you must tour to ensure cleanliness and safety. When you visit the space, make sure that the other dogs are enjoying the play area and are able to roam. Some kennels charge extra for use of their play area, so let them know that your dog will need to burn off their energy, socialize with other dogs, and have time to do their business.
4. “How many staff members are on duty?”
It’s important to check with the kennel about how many staff members are on duty. A good, unwritten rule for every kennel is to have one staff member per ten dogs. This ensures that your dog is getting the attention they need, especially in the event of an emergency. Checking with the kennel about the responsibilities of their staff is another great idea. After all, you’ll want to be assured that your dog won’t be left alone at any time during the day.
5. “What happens if there is an emergency?”
We never want to even consider the possibility of our furbaby becoming ill or injured, but it’s better to be prepared than panic! Ask the kennel what their emergency protocol is if your dog were to get sick or hurt. Be clear that you want them to call you immediately if something were to happen. It’s also a good idea to give them your dog’s vet information so they can call them in an emergency as well. Lastly, ask the kennel about their evacuation protocol in the event of a fire. You’re putting your pup in their hands, typically overnight, so you want to ensure that they have safety in mind.
6. “What are the costs for everything?”
You may think that kennels have a one-time boarding fee, but you’d be surprised by how many places will charge you hidden fees for special services. Before the day comes when you must board your dog, ask the kennel to break down all of their costs. That way, you’re not footing a bill with extra charges that you weren’t expecting.
7. “What will my dog eat here?”
Even if your dog doesn’t have any food allergies or sensitivities, it’s still a good idea to ask about the kennel’s food. Maybe it’s a brand that your dog doesn’t like, so you’ll want to make sure you know what they’re serving for meals and treats. If your dog does have certain food they cannot have, ask if you can leave dog food and treats for the kennel staff to feed them.
8. “Is your kennel certified?”
Did you know that not all kennels need certification to board dogs? If this is something that doesn’t bother you, it’s your call, but it’s always good to ask the kennel if they’re certified. For example, if they are certified by a pet care organization, that means the kennel has gone through testing to ensure the best quality care possible.
9. “What will my dog do all day?”
When you think about leaving your dog at the kennel, you’re probably curious about what a full day looks like for the staff and dogs. Ask the kennel what their daily routine is: do they start the day early with the dogs? How often do the dogs get to play? When are meals prepared? Take the time to learn about the kennel’s routine. Some facilities even have cameras where you can check up on your pup through your smartphone!
10. “Can you cater to my dog’s specific needs?”
If your dog requires extra attention, like special needs or senior dog care, it’s important to find out if the kennel can cater to those needs. By asking, you can find out if the kennel regularly cares for mostly younger dogs or if the dogs boarded up often play rough. Both scenarios could cause anxiety for senior dogs or dogs with special needs.
11. “How do you help anxious or nervous dogs?”
Your pup may not be used to getting boarded up, so ask the kennel how they would be able to help if your dog gets anxious, scared, or gets a case of nerves. In a perfect scenario, you would be able to pick up your dog right away and calm them down. But if you’re miles away, or even across the world, there’s no way you’d be able to come to your pup’s rescue. So make sure the kennel can work with your dog to make them as comfortable as possible until your return.
12. “What are the immunization requirements?”
When boarding your dog with many other dogs, you’ll come to realize that you don’t know the medical history behind each one. Even if your dog is vaccinated and bug-free, how would you know if your dog’s potential playmates are carrying disease, fleas, or ticks? Ask the kennel if they require vaccinations for diseases like Bordetella, rabies, parvovirus, or hepatitis. Likewise, check up on your dog’s vaccinations and make sure they are fully protected.
The hardest part of leaving town for a while is having to say goodbye to your pup for the time being. Even though it’s only temporary, the separation can be difficult for you and your dog. So the best thing you can do is follow the tips above and make the transition as smooth as possible!