Don’t we all love to take our dogs with us on a vacation? Unfortunately, dog friendly resorts and hotels are not only difficult to find but are expensive as well. So, we end up leaving them behind in a pet boarding/kennel while we are on a vacation.
They end up in someone else’s care while we have a good time. Since they can’t tell us their experiences in the pet care facility, we need to make sure they never get a chance to complain. How do we know if the pet hostel is indeed a good one? Read more to find out.
An Unplanned Tour
A good pet boarding/kennel should be willing to show you around at any given time. Try to arrive suddenly and ask to for a tour. This will give you the chance to observe how the kennel functions on a day to day basis. Many kennels have separate compartments for dogs while others chain their dogs. Have a good look at separate closures and make sure they are up to date.
Also check for any unwanted odours. Though they have many pets in one boarding/kennel, it does not mean that the place should stink. See if employees clean after any indoor accidents. Keep a note of all employers in the area. Are they old enough and trained to handle pets?
Most pet hostels have an outdoor area. Do request to have a walk through the lawn as well. If the hostel allows dogs to freely explore the lawn at a given time, it should be clean and safe for them.
You should be dubious if the hostel is unwilling to give you a tour. it may mean that their place is not being handled properly and it would be a good idea to board your pet elsewhere.
Willingness To Answer Questions
Don’t shy away from asking questions. A good boarding facility would be happy to answer all your queries. These are some questions you should be asking the pet hostel/kennel:
- Do you separate dogs according to their temperament? – A good pet hostel should separate the playful socialised dogs from the aggressive ones. This is more important than separating dogs according to size. However, for safety reasons, toy breeds and giant breeds should be separated.
- What kind of food do you give the pets? And, can I give my pet my own food? – Most pet hostels shouldn’t have a problem if you provide your pet their own food; especially if your pet has any special dietary requirements. If you opt that your pet has hostel food, be sure to ask them what they provide. Ask them for the packaged food brands that they provide. If they also cook for pets, enquire if you can have a look at the kitchen.
- Is there around the clock supervision? – A good pet boarding/kennel should have people around the clock. To make sure that their employees are not over worked, they must have shifts.
- Do you have any sort of playtime for pets? – Ideally, they should take your dog out and socialised at least once a day. If your dog is not friendly or energetic, request them to walk your dog separately.
Questions From The Boarding/Kennel Owner
A good boarding/kennel will have some questions to ask you as well. Here are some questions you should expect from any good pet hostel:
- Are all vaccinations updated? Can we have a look at their vaccinations?
- At what time do you feed your pet?
- Does your pet have any allergies?
- How is your pet with other comrades?
Usually, a good pet hostel has a form for you to fill. This form includes information like your name address, pet’s name, dietary specification, in time and out time, etc. It is important to keep these records for your pet’s, other pets and hostel staff’s safety. So, always cooperate and be as detailed as you can while filling in the forms.
The Return Trip
Another great way to know the quality of the pet hostel is to observe your pet and the hostel employees when you come to pick her up. Is your pet scared around the employees or does she seem calm? Ask their keepers how your pet behaved over the days. A good hostel should observe each pet they take in and therefore should be able to give you a detailed note.
Since your pet will not be able to tell you about their stay, on your way back, observe their body language. A satisfied pet should be tired but relaxed. They shouldn’t be agitated or scared. It is okay for some pets to loose a little weight in the hostel. It happens because of stress and separation anxiety. As long as your pet behaves normally around you, they will gain those extra kgs in a few days.
Lastly, as a responsible pet owner, we must take a few cautions before sending our pet to a hostel. Make sure all their vaccinations are up to date. Fleas and ticks can be a huge epidemic in a pet hostel so make sure your pet isn’t the reason for it. Check for any fleas or ticks before you board them in. Give your pet a bath before and after they board the hostel just to make sure they are squeaky clean the entire journey.