Bird Dog & Retriever News

June / July 2003 issue Page 33

 Finding The Best Boarding Kennel For Your Dog
By Julie Reynolds        

It comes a time in every dog owner's life when they need to make the decision on selecting the best boarding kennel for their beloved pet. But how do we know if it is the best one for us?
First we can start by pulling out our local phone book and guiding our fingers through the yellow pages. Once we narrow down the kennels in your immediate area, it is time to start asking questions. Call up local veterinarians. Ask them which kennels they would recommend. Ask your personal dog groomer (if you have one). Ask your friends and neighbors if they have ever used any near-by kennel services. Inquire of their experience there. Also contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the kennels you are considering to use. This will begin the selection process.
Once you get an idea of which boarding kennels might serve you best, it is time to make the phone call to those facilities. Make an appointment to schedule a visit. This is absolutely critical in your decision-making.
When you arrive, let your instinct be your guide. What does the outside of the building look like? Is the yard well maintained? Is the entrance warm and inviting? Make a mental note to yourself as you approach the front door.
Once inside, observation is the key. Does the staff appear to greet you with a friendly reception? Is the office area, clean?
Most important search the walls for certifications! If you can find a certificate from the American Boarding Kennel (a trade association founded by kennel operators to promote professional standards of pet care) then chances are you have a found yourself a respectable boarding kennel.
Next, view the kennel area. Things to be aware of are many. Does the facility smell clean? You should only smell a slight doggie smell. No offensive foul smells. If your eyes start to water and you find it hard to breathe, beware! There should be adequate air ventilation where this should not be a problem. Notice the lighting. Is it too dark to see? Is the sun beaming directly down into the housing areas? Look inside the occupied cages. Are the areas free of fecal accumulation? (Maybe you might see an occasional pile of doggie poop but if you see pile after pile, this is not a good sign!) Also check to see if water bowels are filled. Water should always be visible. Observe the actions of the dogs. Barking would be expected. But are there dogs drooling, pacing back and forth, excessively panting, or acting unusual to a typical dog's regular behavior, this could be a red flag.
Also it is good to take in consideration your dog's individual

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Copyrights Bird Dog & Retriever News May 2003
Do not reproduce or retransmit in any form, and we surf the web, we'll find you.
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