Once in a while we don’t have a reliable, trusted pet sitter available and kenneling the only option left. Get some peace of mind beforehand.

Get a feel for the place

It’s a good idea to book a kennel for your dog a month or two in advance during holiday times. Kennels can fill up fast during the weeks preceding a holiday period. Phone to arrange an appointment so that you are able to have a look around before booking your dog into a specific boarding kennels. You should be welcomed to do so by the staff.

Look to see how happy the animals are, what the housing looks like – sheltered, bedding (unless you have to bring your own, which will help you dog), adequate, clean water, secure kennels, cleanliness. It is normal to see the odd bit of doggy doo around but all in all there shouldn’t be a stench and the kennels should appear hygienic.

Questions to ask

  • Enquire about feeding routines, and any other such as walks, and whether they administer medication as needed if your pet is on any. Your dog will probably only be walked if it behaves well on a leash so get your dog leash trained beforehand if necessary.
  • If the kennel doesn’t feed the kind or brand of food that you prefer, ask if you will be able to leave your dog’s food for him or her.
  • Ask if you’ll be able to take your dog’s own bedding for familiarity. A piece of your unwashed clothing can also be placed in your dog’s bed to help calm him/her.
  • Be honest about your pooch’s temperament and needs eg. aggression, escaping, barking and fearfulness are all things best mentioned beforehand. If your dog needs to be housed separately from the other animals, ask if they will be able to do that.
  • Enquire if vaccinations are required to be up to date. If not, find another kennel.


  • Ensure that your dog’s vaccinations, de-worming and parasite control are up to date.
  • Have ID tags made and get your dog micro-chipped for extra peace of mind.
  • If your dog is scared of strangers or new environments, get professional help to eliminate these problems as he or she will likely be fearful of being in a boarding kennel.
  • Take her favourite toy and some chews for her, for while she’s away from you.
  • A light, natural sedative might be necessary for stressed pets.
  • Supply the boarding kennel with your vet’s details as well as a reliable family member’s contact details.
  • Make the ride to the kennels pleasant and relaxing by keeping everything relaxed and casual. Leave the kids at home to make things a bit easier.
  • Walk your dog to the kennel. Place her toy and chew in the kennel. Give her a firm pat and a treat, and walk away. Tears and hugs will cause her unnecessary stress.
  • If you think your pets may be stressed in kennels, and cope better with your absence by being in their own environment, rather consider contacting a good pet sitter. Your local vet might be able to suggest someone.

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