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Get Ready for Your Trip — What is Boarding for Dogs?

When travel needs arise, many pet owners in need of substitute pet care rely on the services offered by a professional boarding kennel. Provided you can locate a trusted facility with a strong reputation, kennels represent a safe and convenient way to ensure your companion is cared for in your absence. It’s estimated that more than 30 million pet owners utilize kennels within the United States and Canada annually. But, what is boarding for dogs?

While kennels range from the bare-bones to the ultra-fancy, keep in mind that the frills are meant mainly for owners. The dog really doesn’t care whether Chopin plays softly in his sleeping quarters. What is important is general safety and the friendliness and competence of the staff.

The first thing you should do is visit the kennel before you board. Most kennels welcome these visits, and it gives you a chance to see their facilities and ask specific questions. Your questions should be answered to your satisfaction, so that you will feel comfortable leaving your pet when you are away.

The kennel should be clean inside and out. Proper sanitation is one of the most important aspects of preventing the spread of contagious diseases. The cages and runs should look and smell clean. Animals that are currently boarding should be clean and appear well cared for. Look at the outdoor area where the dogs are walked. Waste material should be routinely removed, leaving the area relatively free of fecal material.

Getting a certain amount of exercise is important for each animal, but how much and how often depends on the individual dog’s need and the ability of the kennel to offer these services. Discuss this with the kennel. Find out how often dogs are walked, or if they are allowed to run free in an enclosed area. Some kennels will give dogs extra walks or exercise time, but often at an additional charge. Still, the added activity may be well worth it for the active dog.

Indoors, the boarding facility should have adequate cage and run sizes, with larger cages for bigger dogs. Natural light from windows is great, but if not available, indoor lighting should adequate. The air should circulate well and not smell stagnant. Proper ventilation will significantly decrease the risk of disease transmission.

Find out how many animals are routinely boarded at a single time and the number of staff taking care of the animals. More people and fewer animals may mean more attention for the individual animals.

Tips to Understand What is Boarding For Dogs

The best way to learn more about what is boarding for dogs is to do your research on kennels in your area. Use these tips when you’re trying to gather an opinion in order to help you and your dog to have a good boarding experience.

1. Interview the kennel on the phone. Find out how long they have been in business and ask for references. Use those references. Make a surprise visit or tour the facility before you schedule the boarding. Notice the place is clean, smells, check out where the dogs are boarded, where they are walked and if they seem…happy. Do any dogs have messes in their cages?

2. Talk to a few kennels before you decide where to take your pet. Also, ask your friends or neighbors where they have boarded their pet and what their experiences have been. Recommendations go along way. Don’t go for the cheapest place. Go for the best place.

3. Determine kennel requirements. Does your pet need any special vaccines for this kennel? If so, what and when? Do they need a copy of the vaccine record? Can you supply your own food and treats? Can you leave any toys or his favorite blanket? Can you leave your pets leash, collar or harness?

4. Check out kennel staff. Find out about the consistency with the staff — is it the same person seeing your dog everyday or someone new? It is someone who knows about pets or a high school student shoveling food into the cages? Does the staff appear competent and do they look like they enjoy working with the dogs?

How dogs react or responds to being in a kennel really varies with the dog and his personality. As the owner, you’re the only one who will be able to understand what your dog will struggle with while he’s at the kennel, so it’s important to relay that information to whoever will be in charge of your pup to make sure they’re prepared.

There are pros and cons to every situation, so its important to weigh your options properly if you’re going to board your dog. We’ve compiled the most common positives and negatives that come with boarding your dog for your consideration.



Dogs are social animals that form strong bonds with people, so it is not surprising that they may feel somewhat anxious when separated from their social group. Most dogs adapt well to the typical daily separation from their owners. Unfortunately, problems can arise when an overly dependent dog develops a dysfunctional and strong attachment to the owners. The dog with separation anxiety is distinguished by signs of distress when left alone and over-attachment when the owner is present.

The onset of separation anxiety sometimes occurs after the dog is exposed to an experience that disrupts its social bond. This can occur when owners board the dog for vacation or change their work schedule. It may also occur when a household member leaves or dies, or when the dog is relocated to a new house or household.

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