The Perfect Guide to Boarding Your Pets

Boarding your pets can be a fun and easy way to take care of them while you’re away. But where do you start? This guide will walk you through the basics of boarding your pet, from choosing the right boarding facility to making sure your pet is comfortable and safe. We also cover some tips for making the process as smooth and stress-free as possible for both you and your pet. So whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, this guide has everything you need to make boarding a breeze!

A characteristic common to all boarding kennel operators is a deep love and respect for animals. This is their basic motivation for establishing their kennel.  In 1977, however, a dedicated group of kennel operators recognized that the love of animals, by itself, was not enough to guarantee the development of professional standards of pet care within the industry.  What was also needed was educational opportunities for kennel operators, to enable them to stay abreast of developments in pet care, and some method of establishing and promoting a high level of ethical conduct within the industry.  To achieve these goals, these concerned kennel operators founded the American Boarding Kennels Association, the ABKA.
    Today the ABKA has a membership of almost 1,600 kennels throughout the U.S. and Canada; by means of its publications, conventions, seminars, regional meetings, ethics program, certification program for kennel operators, accreditation program for kennels, and industry committees, the Association helps member kennels to develop and maintain the highest professional and business standards.  This in turn enables ABKA members to offer you, the pet owner, the most knowledgeable, ethical pet care available anywhere.

Boarding Your Pets

Successful Boarding

The goals of ABKA member kennels are happy, healthy pets, and satisfied pet owners.  This requires a cooperative effort from kennel owner and pet owner. In the following pages, the ABKA, in response to numerous requests from pet owners, lists the features you should look for in selecting your kennel, and suggests what you can do to ensure that your pet receives the best care possible. Let’s start at the beginning…

Finding Your Local Kennels

There are several ways of locating the kennels that are convenient to you:

1Yellow Pages: Yellow page advertising is the primary method of kennel advertising.  Remember though, the size of the ad is no indication of the facility’s quality.
2. Recommendations of friends: Satisfied customers are the best recommendation that a kennel can receive.  Ask your friends and neighbors about their experiences.  Check with your veterinarian or ask the kennel in question for references.
3. Better Business Bureau: If your community has a better Business Bureau, a   phone inquiry about your local kennels is appropriate.  Ask about a specific kennel’s reputation and if any complaints have been lodged against them.

Evaluating a Kennel

After finding your local kennels, you can determine the one to use by:
1. Telephoning the kennel:  Call to see if the kennel can accommodate your pet.  During peak times such as the Christmas season and summer vacations, many kennels are booked up and cannot accept your pet.  Also, because some pets require special handling or accommodations (very young puppies, animals on special medication or feeding schedules, or giant breeds, for example), all kennels may not accept them.  While you are on the phone, make an appointment to visit the kennel.
2. Making a personal visit to the kennel: A personal visit is essential to determine whether or not the kennel will be satisfactory.  During your visit, observe or ask about the following:

General appearance of the kennel: 

Following regular daily clean-up procedures, the kennel should look (and smell) neat and clean. Kennel operators are proud of their kennels and like to show them off, but some of them do not permit visitors in areas where animals are housed. There are two key reasons for establishing a “No Visitors”  policy.  One is that some animals react fearfully or aggressively toward strangers.  As a result, the presence of strangers in the kennel can cause such dogs to injure themselves or develop intestinal problems. Second, visitors do not follow the same stringent disinfecting procedures used by kennel personnel, and can transport contagious agents (bacteria,  viruses) into the kennel.  However, kennels with a “No Visitors” policy should provide you some type of viewing window, so that you can see where your pet will be staying. In visiting your local kennels, you will observe that there are several types of kennel designs currently in use.  Some kennels have indoor/outdoor runs; some have totally enclosed facilities; and some house pets inside but utilize outside exercise areas.  Each of these designs has its own advantages, and you should ask the kennel operator to explain the advantages of the system in use at that kennel.

Security:  When you are on a trip, your pet may decide to try to “find” you.  Because of this tendency, and because very few homes are designed with pet security in mind, pets can escape from inexperienced individuals who might be asked to watch your pet. Boarding kennels, on the other hand, are designed to prevent this kind of accident. During your kennel visit, look for sturdy gates, well-maintained fencing, and dividers between runs. If your dog is a climber, digger or some other type of “escape artist,” tell the kennel operator so that extra precautions can be taken (wire covered runs, locks on gates, etc.). Cats always require covered facilities.

Safety: Kennels areas where your pet will stay should be free of sharp objects, harmful chemicals and objects your pet might swallow. Primary enclosures (sleeping quarters) should provide solid dividers between your pet and the other boarders, both for reasons of safety and so that your pet will be able to relax and sleep without feeling challenged by his or her neighbors. Exercise areas should include barriers between runs high enough to prevent male dogs from urinating into adjacent runs. Surfaces should offer good traction even when wet. Firefighting equipment should be readily available.

Supervision: Proper supervision is the key to good boarding. Pets should be checked frequently during the day by someone who is trained to recognize the signs of illness and distress. Experience and practical knowledge are required to detect or interpret such symptoms as lethargy (“I thought he was just sleeping”), severe intestinal disorders (friends or acquaintances rarely check the backyard for bloody stool), urinary problems (it is almost impossible to detect blood in urine when pets urinate on grass), loss of appetite, coughing, sneezing, or discharges from the eyes or nose. Yet, all of these signs can be significant. Competent kennel personnel are trained to recognize and evaluate such signs and to seek veterinary assistance when needed. Therefore, you should try to evaluate the competence of the kennel personnel.

Sanitation: The kennel should be free of dirt, fecal accumulation, odors and parasite infestation (flies, fleas, ticks). There should be a strict schedule of disinfecting with effective chemicals.

Boarding your Pets-Health Care

Inquire about the following:

Water… Individual water bowls should be provided for each animal.
Food… Check on the kennel’s feeding procedures and mention any special diets/procedures that your pat may need.
Veterinary Services… How does the kennel obtain veterinary help when needed?
Immunization Requirements… Dogs and cats should be properly immunized prior to being boarded; what is the kennel’s protocol regarding the immunization of pets prior to boarding?
Medication Administration… If your pet requires medication, will the kennel cooperate and document medication administered?
Parasite Control… What are the kennel’s policies regarding flea and tick control and will your pet be safe from these parasites while boarded?

As you can see, boarding your pets is not that difficult and needs professional help only if your pet becomes stressed. That’s why we at Vets For Life offer high-quality boarding services in order to make sure your little buddy is happy, safe and secure.
To know more about our service and booking visit us now or leave a comment!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogs traumatized by boarding?

It is rare for dogs to experience trauma as a result of boarding. If the right preparations are made and research is done before selecting a boarding facility, your dog shouldn’t have any negative effects while there. Behavior changes or odd behaviour may be a sign of mental trauma.

Should I bathe my dog before boarding?

A few worn-out socks will work to put your dog at peace, according to Krieger. Ignore the bath: According to Krieger, bathing Fido before boarding him is a waste of time and effort. She compares it to bathing your child before sending them to day care.

How do pets feel when you board them?

Most of the time, boarding your pets will be a great experience for them. Not all dogs get depressed when they’re there. If it’s a respectable boarding kennel, the dogs will be spoiled, get lots of attention, and play with other dogs.

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