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Need to go out of town? There are various options open to you; you can ask family or friends to take care of your dog, hire a pet sitter, or use a boarding kennel. A boarding kennel can give your pet quality care and can give you peace of mind.

A facility specializing in care and overnight boarding allows your pet to:

  • avoid the stress of a long car or airplane ride to your destination.
  • stay where he's welcome (unlike many hotels).
  • receive more attention and supervision than he would if home alone most of the day.
  • be monitored by staff trained to spot health problems.
  • be secure in a kennel designed to foil canine and feline escape artists.

Potential drawbacks to using a boarding kennel include:

  • the stress related to staying in an unfamiliar environment.
  • the proximity to other pets, who may expose your pet to health problems.
  • the difficulty of finding a kennel that accepts pets other than dogs and cats.
  • the inconvenience of the drive over.

Responsible kennels will only take fully vaccinated animals. Remember to book well in advance of your holiday as kennels can be, and usually are, fully booked at the popular holiday times, especially during the school holidays.

All kennels should be licensed by their local authority and this license should be on display at the kennels. You can get in touch with the local environmental health department to confirm the license.

There are several questions that you can, and must, ask when you approach a boarding kennel. It is an idea to check the kennels out yourself, unless it is highly recommended by friends and family.

  • Does the facility look and smell clean?
  • Is there sufficient ventilation and light?
  • Is a comfortable temperature maintained?
  • Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring?
  • Are pets required to be current on their vaccinations.
  • Does each dog have his own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run?
  • Are outdoor runs and exercise areas protected from wind, rain, and snow?
  • Are resting boards and bedding provided to allow dogs to rest off the concrete floor?
  • Are cats housed away from dogs?
  • Is there enough space for cats to move around comfortably?
  • Is there enough space between the litter box and food bowls?
  • How often are pets fed?
  • Can the owner bring a pet's special food?
  • What veterinary services are available?
  • Are other services available such as grooming, training, bathing?
  • How are rates calculated?

It's also a good idea to accustom your pet to longer kennel stays by first boarding her during a short trip, such as a weekend excursion. This allows you to work out any problems before boarding your pet for an extended period.

After the check-in process, hand your pet to a staff member, say good-bye, and leave. Avoid long, emotional partings, which may upset your pet. Finally, have a good trip, knowing that your pet is in good hands and will be happy to see you when you return.

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