DOG BOARDING: HOW TO CHOOSE A BOARDING KENNEL
As much as you may hate to leave your furry friend behind, sometimes your dog may not be able to travel with you - on weekends, on holiday, or if you have to travel for work, for example. If you don't have a friend or family member who can look after your pooch, you'll have to find another solution. Dogs are not independent pets like cats. So avoid leaving them alone at home at all costs, even just for a day! Not only will your little furball not have access to do their business outside, they also don't know how to self-regulate when it comes to food. In any case, dogs are sensitive creatures who struggle with separation anxiety and can experience loneliness very badly! Here are our tips for choosing a boarding kennel for your dog, or finding another alternative.
Dog Boarding: How does it work?
Dog boarding involves leaving your dog at a boarding kennel, specially designed to temporarily look after dogs. These boarding kennels are usually found outside of the city, in order to have more space and a small "room" for each animal. Animals are kept separate for safety reasons and each sleep in a large cage of their own - unless you have several dogs and specifically ask for them to be kept together. When you contract the services of a dog boarding kennel, the staff will take care of walking and feeding your pooch on-site, and of course, administering any medication they're on.
Boarding kennels accommodate dogs of all ages and breeds. However, some boarding kennels reserve the right to refuse certain animals: female dogs who are pregnant or in heat, aggressive dogs, sick or contagious dogs, etc. It is your responsibility to provide all the necessary information about your four-legged friend at the time of booking. And yes: you need to book in advance! Most boarding kennels will not accommodate more than 15 dogs at once, depending on the space available and the responsibilities of the establishment (some dog boarding facilities also accommodate other animals, like cats or rabbits). During holiday periods—summer or Christmastime, for example—it's quite likely that dog boarding facilities will fill up quickly.
The dog boarding experience is not necessarily a bad thing. If you choose it well, your four-legged friend is not likely to suffer at all. At boarding kennels, dogs learn to socialise with their compatriots, which may help you to train them better afterwards.
Choosing a Boarding Kennel
First and foremost, you need to consider your dog's well-being. Sometimes the closest boarding kennel is not necessarily the best option. It's essential that you visit the premises before booking, to ensure that your loyal friend will be thoroughly looked after and treated well in your absence. Although most people in the dog boarding business do it because they're passionate about animals, unfortunately, there are always some who see it as no more than a business opportunity. During your inspection visit, trust your instincts and pay close attention to several key aspects:
Is it clean?
Is there enough space in the cages and outside?
Do the other animals at the boarding kennel look happy and healthy?
Are the staff welcoming?
Do the owners or employees make a good impression on you?
How do they treat your dog during this first visit?
Do they give you a full tour and clearly explain their dog boarding routine?
What is included in their services?
Do they listen to you?
Prices may vary widely from one boarding kennel to another. This difference is mainly due to the location and type of dog boarding you're looking for (basic or luxurious). Depending on the boarding kennel, you may have the option to book their services by the day, week, or month. Some boarding kennels even offer dog boarding services for just a few hours or the whole day - just like a children's crèche, for example.
The Alternative to Dog Boarding: Dog Sitting
Dog boarding is not the only solution for looking after your pooch! You can also opt to entrust your furry friend to individuals found on dog sitting sites. This solution is not only more flexible, but it's also cheaper. With dog sitting, you don't necessarily have to take your dog anywhere; a dog sitter could come and look after your dog in your home if you wish, just like a babysitter would come and look after your child. Dog sitters tend to be people who love dogs and either don't have one of their own or just enjoy spending their free time looking after dogs, in exchange for a small fee. As with boarding kennels, trust your gut when it comes to choosing your dog sitter.
Thanks to dog sitting websites, you can choose a dog sitter online from a list of prospective candidates. You may even be able to see other dog owners' reviews about your dog sitter of choice to help you make the decision. Dog sitters can either come and look after your dog all day or just take them for regular walks. Some dog sitters also offer dog sitting services at their homes, sometimes with their own pets. If you're going on a long trip, dog sitting might be a cheaper and less traumatic alternative for your pooch, who will spend their time in a warm, temporary foster home rather than a cage at a boarding kennel.
The Responsibility of the Owner
Before adopting a dog, you need to be sure that you can meet their needs. And these needs go much further than just food and shelter; you also need to take care of a dog and spend quality time with it. Dogs are intelligent, sensitive, and very sociable beings; they often need to be part of a group, like a family. Don't adopt a dog if you don't have the time to take care of it: this will make them extremely unhappy and could cause them health problems due to poor psychological well-being.
If you can travel with your dog, then go ahead! Dogs are generally fine with car or train travel and some can even travel on planes, depending on the country and the size or breed of your dog.
PUBLISHED 31.12.2020 - HECTOR KITCHEN, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
By the Hector Kitchen medical and scientific team
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