13 Questions to Ask a Boarding Kennels

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24 May 2021
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Finding the right kennels for your pet is no less important than finding a proper nanny for your children. Pet owners need peace of mind knowing the kennels of their choice is capable, kind, professional, and caring. This won’t be obvious right from the start — you need to ask certain questions to find out.

This article shares 13 good questions to ask a boarding kennels. If you don’t get the answers you were hoping for, or decide to look for an alternative to a kennels, check out the best pet hotels near you instead.

1. May I take a tour?

If they’re disinclined to give you a tour when you arrive, that’s not a good sign.

2. Which vaccines are required?

Most kennels will require vaccines, so check what these are.

3. Do I need to book in advance?

A lot of boarding kennels are booked weeks in advance, particularly in spring and summer, when people travel the most. The best ones are even booked for months ahead. Ask how far in advance you have to book, how long your pet can stay, and if a deposit is required upfront.

4. Will my pet fit in the kennel?

Very large dogs don’t fit in standard kennels. Ask how the animals are housed. Dogs and cats should never hear or see each other. It’s also not a good idea for dogs to see each other easily. This is why most facilities erect barriers between kennels. Check if the kennel is well ventilated, and have a look at the enclosures to make sure your pet will have sufficient space to move around.

5. How do the staff interact with the animals?

If this question seems too general, ask if the staff pet or play with the animals. Ask how much time the staff spend with them, if they only interact with them at certain times, and about the ways in which they interact. Inquire into the type of activities provided, how often they are offered, and for how long.

6. How often do you walk dogs?

On average, dogs should be walked twice a day. Ask how long the walks are; some dogs take longer to defecate than others. Some kennels release dogs into a pen outside. In others, the staff take them out on a lead. If they’re released into a pen, how big is it, and does a staff member stay with them or go back inside?

7. Do you take pets with special needs?

If your pet has a medical condition, is elderly, or otherwise has unique needs, it’s important to have this information. Ask for details if they say they do. How will they approach your pet?

8. Do you provide extras?

Some kennels offer extras like additional playtime, training, washing, brushing, and nail trimming. There are even kennels that offer special playgroups.

9. What do pets eat?

Vets don’t recommend changing your pet’s diet because it might upset their digestion, so you must ask if they can give your dog what he normally eats. If not, and you’re ok with that, do ask what food will be provided.

10. Do the staff have training?

Don’t just assume they do; you need to assure yourself the employees are trained and certified. If you don’t find information about certifications on the kennels’ website, ask.  

11. Do you have procedures in an emergency?

Check to see if the facilities are exposed to the elements, and if storms or floods are common in your area, or in the event of a fire breaking out, ask how they would deal with it.

12. Is the kennel loud?

Loud noises, bright lights, and other elements overwhelming to the senses can be a source of anxiety.

13. How do you manage waste?

Needless to say, get out of there if the place reeks; this is a sign of a potentially negative experience. Another one is a small, unsheltered outdoor pen. Be wary if the staff tell you nothing about your pet, if he smells bad, or is behaving strangely when you pick him up.