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How to Choose a Good Dog Boarding Facility

Learn how to find and choose a good dog boarder.

When you need to leave your dog with someone else for a while, the last thing you want to do is worry that she isn't getting good care. If you do a little legwork beforehand, leaving your dog at a kennel can be less worrisome. We've collected some tips for how to choose a great dog kennel.

Get Dog Kennel Referrals

As you begin your search for a great dog boarding facility, ask for referrals from friends, family members, and the staff at your veterinary clinic. This allows you to get feedback from people who have used or had extensive contact with the kennel.

Ask your network specific questions about why they do or do not recommend certain dog kennels so you can evaluate whether or not their experiences might be similar to yours.

Check Licenses and Experience

Find out what your state requires of dog kennels with regards to licensure, insurance, and inspections. Then ask the potential kennel to show you proof that they've complied with all regulations.

Ask about the experience level and type of the owners and workers at the kennel.

Interview the Owners and Workers

If possible, schedule an interview with the people who would be caring for your dog at the kennel. Be sure to explain any specific behavior issues or medical conditions your dog has and find out whether they are comfortable dealing with them. Don't be afraid to ask specific questions to find out if the kennel is a good fit for you and your dog.

Tour the Facility

You should schedule a tour of the kennel before you agree to leave your dog there. Ask if you can bring your dog with you. That will allow you to see how she reacts to the workers and atmosphere there. It will also help her recognize it and feel more comfortable when you leave her there later.

Here are some specific things to think about and look at during the tour:

  • Does everything look clean and organized?
  • Is there good lighting and air flow?
  • How is the temperature? Is it too hot or too cold?
  • Are the individual kennels, cages, or dog runs big enough for your dog to be comfortable in, and do they have good lighting, air flow, and temperature?
  • Does the staff seem friendly and competent?
  • Do outdoor play areas have protection from weather?

Write Questions Down and Get Answers to All of Them

Here are some more considerations and questions to ask when you are deciding on a dog kennel:

  • How often do they feed the dogs and check their water?
  • How much exercise will your dog get daily?
  • Will there be individual or group playtime for the dogs?
  • How does the staff respond to signs of illness in the dogs?
  • What is the kennel's policy on vaccinations for the dogs that stay with them?
  • What do the kennel staff do if your dog experiences an emergency?
  • Are there webcams that allow you to check in on your dog?

Once you've gone through this process for several kennels, you should be equipped to make a good decision on which one will be best for you and your dog. That will translate to a more comfortable time apart for both of you.

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