Choosing your pet's home away from home while you are gone is one of the more important choices you can make for them. Many people do not realize the extreme differences in pet boarding kennels these days. Just the name itself can tell you a lot. Would you rather your dog stay at a boarding kennel or a pet resort? I think the answer to that is easy! Now let's explore why this is by talking about prices, accommodations, extras, and other factors.
- Locating Pet Boarding Kennels: The first step in choosing the right place to board your pet is to first locate all of your choices. There are two really simple ways to do this.
- The Yellow Pages - Get out your local phone book and open it up to the yellow pages. You should be able to find several kennels in your area in this book. They may be listed under a few different things, such as Boarding Kennels, Pet Resorts, and even Veterinarian Clinics. You should also call your own veterinarian to see if the clinic she works at offers boarding.
- The Internet - You can also check the yellow pages via the Internet. This may be easier for you if you don't feel like lugging out that huge book! You can also do a search online using your favorite search engine. You can search for pet boarding kennels, pet resorts, and veterinarian clinics that offer boarding.
- Tours: Now that you have compiled a list of locations, you will want to start calling them. The first (and perhaps only) question you want to ask is whether or not they offer a tour of their facility. This will be an immediate indicator of the quality of the location. Most high end facilities will have nothing to hide and will gladly provide possible clients with a thorough tour. As you visit the facilities that allow tours, assess the other factors that will help you make your decision.
- Cleanliness: When you attend the tour, it is almost a given that cleanliness will be the number one thing on your mind. Whether you are boarding a cat or a dog, cleanliness is the most important thing you can consider for your animal as you assess pet boarding kennels.
Be sure to ask whether or not the kennels are cleaned everyday, and how they are cleaned. Make sure that the kennels are cleaned every time the animal has a bowel movement in the kennel. Most places will give the kennels a thorough cleaning every day at the beginning of the day. This is what you are looking for, and the same thing goes for the cats. For your cat's sake, make sure the litter boxes are being cleaned out at least twice a day. This is because most litter boxes used will be small and will need to be cleaned that often.
- Feeding: Feeding is obviously a very important aspect in choosing the right boarding kennel. Many people have a certain feeding schedule for their pets.
The first thing you will want to check is whether or not the pet boarding kennel will let you bring your pet's own food. If they do allow this, double check that they do not charge extra to feed your pet the food you provide. Some pet boarding kennels may charge upwards of $6.00 extra just to feed your pet his own food each day. There are also many that allow this without charging a thing.
Also check and make sure that they will prepare your pet's food accordingly to your specifications. Many locations will feed your pet up to twice a day, but no more than that. This is true unless you are lucky enough to find a 24-hour facility, which do exist throughout the country.
- Bedding and Toys: It is important to check whether or not the facility will allow you to bring your pet's own bedding and toys. Some locations may not allow this and will want to use only their own bedding. This is the same for toys. Having his own bedding and toys may be important to your pet. It may be a great comfort for your animal while he is away from you.
- Extras: While you are away, especially if it is for a long period of time, it will be important for your dog or cat to get out of the pet boarding kennel. Most places will offer extra services for your animal.
Make sure to check what services are offered by all pet boarding kennels you check out. Many might only offer a walk or two a week, while some may offer services every day. These might include walks, spending quality time with your pet (petting and brushing), or play times in fenced and secure areas. Some places that are actually called resorts will sometimes allow the dogs to get together, and swim and have fun together. These will almost always cost extra, but any more than $6.00 a day is a bit on the high end.
- VIP Rooms: Most locations will offer what they will call VIP rooms or suites. To your pet, this is the same as you staying in a fancy suite at a hotel. These will often be larger than regular kennels, and will have extra comforts such as TVs and couches.
VIP Rooms will be a bit pricier, of course, but if you are looking for the ultimate in comfort for your pet, these are a great option.
- Medical Treatment: Many pets take medications every day, therefore it is important to make sure the facility will offer this option. If your pet takes medication, make sure that the facility will give it to your pet and that they have personnel qualified to administer medications. Some pet boarding kennels may also charge extra to administer the medication. This is common, but it should not cost much more than $5.00 a day or so for this service.
- Health Monitoring: It is very important to make sure that the pet boarding kennel will monitor your pet's health during his stay. This does not take much and does not usually cost any extra. The people caring for your pet should always keep a close eye on him and know what to watch out for. While the facility will have the name and number of your veterinarian, it is important to make sure that they have a veterinarian on call in case of an emergency with your pet.
- Price: Prices will vary, especially when the extra costs are added in. Remember that while one place may only be $15 per day, and another $25, there may be valid reasons for the increased cost. This is where touring the facilities will be important. Some may cost a bit more, but that extra cost may be worth it.
Remember that pets are family, and leaving them is a lot like leaving your children with a babysitter; you wouldn't leave them with just anyone. You want to make sure that their stay is a comfortable one, and that you keep their stress levels down.
Good luck in finding the perfect pet boarding kennel.