It can be quite daunting choosing the right kennel for your dog. Not only do you need to feel comfortable leaving your dog there but your dog also needs to feel comfortable. While it sounds logical, it's not always easy on the execution. So how does one go about finding the right dog boarding facility? The answer is research, research, research.
First step is to start researching your priorities. Do you want your dog to be able to play all day or spend his day in a cage and pay for the extra activities outside a crate? Will he be in a crate overnight or is it cage-free boarding? Will someone be on-site with your dog overnight? Will dog play be supervised at all times? Are you able to take a tour and see where your dog will be playing and sleeping? Can you meet the staff who will be supervising your dog? Is there policy in place for emergencies? Is the kennel insured and bonded? What do the reviews look like for the kennel?
The next step is their assessment procedures. Does the kennel have an assessment procedure? How do they assess the dogs who stay there? ie. to determine the personality of the dog. Does the kennel ask for proof of vaccinations? Does the kennel have a policy on neutering or spaying of dogs? You'll also want to ask what breeds of dogs that your dog will be playing with.
Give a couple kennels a call and ask questions and then ask for an appointment for a tour. This is when you'll visit a couple of kennels to get a feel for who they are and how they operate. A little tip - the more reputable ones will ask for your dog's name so when they're discussing him/her, they'll call him/her by name.
The best kennel/dog boarding facilities will offer 100% transparency. You will be able to tour the grounds and see where your will be spending most of his/her time. Most reputable kennels will take pictures of your dog walking or playing and have the pictures online that night so that wherever you are in the world, you'll be assured that your dog is safe and having the time of his/her life.
At the end of the day, you want to enjoy your vacation but this is contingent on knowing your dog is safe and happy. It can be time consuming at the start but when you find the right kennel, it makes all the difference in the world for you and your pup!
Sue Faust has been running a 10,000 sq ft cage-free dog kennel and playground in downtown Toronto for many years and has had the pleasure of taking care of hundreds of dogs as kennel guests. For more information on services: http://www.pawsplaygrounds.com