Vet Notes : dogs
What to look for when choosing a kennel for your pet.
With the holidays approaching, many pet owners are faced with leaving their pets in the care of others while they travel. For some, a pet sitter visiting the home is the best option to avoid disrupting routines. For others, the decision to board their pet is the best fit and provides more supervision and attention than staying home alone all day. When choosing a boarding kennel it is wise to consider factors such as the temperament of your pet, health issues, and the quality of the facility itself. Ask for references from friends, neighbors and your veterinarian.
When boarding your pet, research local facilities to make sure they have an option that is a good fit. For the active young dog accustomed to daily exercise, a large boarding facility with a play yard or group playtime may work best. There may be additional fees for such services but the cost may be worth it to keep your active dog stimulated. Small lap dogs or nervous dogs may prefer to stay in a facility with that offers solitary "suites". These are small rooms that appear home-like with carpet and furniture and are not as loud (closed in rooms). Bring items that belong to the pet or have your scent on them to help provide comfort. Many dogs develop diarrhea as a result of stress while boarding. If your pet is known to have a sensitive stomach, you may want to ask your veterinarian about using probiotic supplements before and during the boarding stay to try and avoid this issue.
Older pets or pets with medical conditions that require regular treatment should have special consideration as to where they board. If possible, boarding at their regular veterinarian's office (if they offer this) is nice because the pet can be watched closely by doctors and technicians familiar with the pet as a patient. Making a detailed list for the kennel staff about medications and food schedule will help keep things consistent and avoid treatment error.
Finally, one should consider the facility itself. Ask for a tour of the kennel: noting cleanliness, odor, temperature and ventilation, size of the rooms or cages and the friendliness of the staff. Be wary of facilities that aren't open to impromptu tours and ask plenty of questions. There are many types of boarding facilities available so give yourself plenty time to research which is right for your best friend.