What to look for in a boarding kennel?

April 4th, 2018


Every pet owner wants to take their four legged friend with them on holidays, however this cannot always be possible. Whether it is too expensive to bring them along; you’re going somewhere they’re not allowed; or they will be too much of a handful, your only option is a boarding kennel.

Boarding your dog somewhere safe and enjoyable for them is your top priority. With the multiple options out there, it is imperative to find one that suits you, your pet and your budget. Petplan have put together some key points that you need, to guide you in choosing the best boarding kennel for you and your dog.

Getting organised

As soon as you know you’re going away somewhere, you should book your dog in to a kennel immediately. When it comes to major holidays such as school breaks or Christmas time, boarding kennels are usually very full and will therefore need to be booked well in advance. They often increase in price closer to the date so if you are worried about money, the quicker you book the better.


It is best to get word of mouth recommendations from boarding kennels as these are usually the most reliable references. Other good recommendations will come from vets, groomers and anyone else that is associated with the pet industry. However it is best to do some of your own research and even go as far as visiting the kennel beforehand so you can see how they operate and what their facilities look like.

What to look for

When finding a suitable boarding kennel to look after your pup while you’re away, you need to have in mind certain aspects that you’re looking for. A few things to look for include:

  • General attitude of staff – are they enjoying what they do
  • Cleanliness and smell of the entire facility
  • Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring
  • Interaction between staff and the animals
  • Are the pets allowed their own toys and blankets as it can be comforting for them
  • Do the dogs look relaxed or are they pacing, barking and looking anxious
  • Outdoor areas for dogs to socialise
  • Is the bedding area sufficient for pets
  • If you have a small dog, will it be separated from bigger dogs for its safety

Warning signs

Some kennels may look like a great place for your dog; however there are some warning signs that should make you wary of these places. The warning signs include:

  • A smelly odour around the entire kennel
  • Anxious dogs that are either pacing up and down the enclosure or barking
  • Boarding kennels that are unwilling to give tours or show you where the dogs will sleep and play
  • Dirty or hard to clean sleeping areas
  • Not asking for proof of vaccination
  • Run down kennels that need heavy maintenance – this can include peeling paint, blocked drains or wire fences that have sharp bits of wire poking out
  • The enclosure where your dog is kept should have ample space, shelter from the weather and be escape proof

When deciding on which boarding kennel is right for you and your dog, be sure to have done your homework beforehand. There are numerous options available and if you are not happy with one, you can move on to the next.  It is best to find the right one so that you’re not worrying about your pet when you should be enjoying your holiday.

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