There will inevitably be occasions where you will have to go away and not take your pet with you. This may be for planned events such as holidays etc, but may also occur "at the drop of a hat" should you have to leave home without your pet(s) for any reason. Therefore, it is always useful to have a suitable kennel or cattery on standby so you will not be faced with a last minute crisis.
Please be aware that if your dog is going into Kennels, he/she will require the Kennel Cough vaccine. This is not routinely done as part of the annual “booster” so you will need to check if your dog is protected. The vaccine must be given at least 72hrs (3days) before the dog goes into kennels.
Boarding services can be found in many ways. Yellow pages, pet magazines, the veterinary surgery, pet-shops and local councils all provide a list of kennels and catteries which are in the area.
A recommendation from a friend is always a useful and good place to start - however what is suitable for one family may be different from those needs of another. The best way to choose a kennel or cattery is to check it out for yourself. Use the checklist below and if the establishment meets the following criteria then your pet is likely to be well looked after.
- Do the animals being currently cared for have clean and full water bowls?
- Are the buildings well-maintained so that there are no escape routes?
- The the kennels smelly? (There should be no/little smell)
- Are the floors in each kennel smooth and clean?
- Do all the dogs and cats have free access to a run and a suitable covered area?
- Ask if all dogs are locked in their own sleeping quarters at night in an area with suitable bedding?
- Ask if the dogs are walks, where and for how long?
- Do the cats have toys to play with, a scratching post and a sun shelf?
- Can the dogs and cats have their own baskets/bedding to help them feel more at home?
- Will the dogs and cats be groomed? (A small charge may be made for special grooming care of long-haired breeds)
- Is there a dedicated kitchen for the kennel that is clean and well stocked?
- Is there evidence of a diet chart in the kitchen for all the animals currently under their care?
- Are they willing to continue/administer any medication that your animal may be on?
- Are there contingencies in place should your animal be taken ill during its stay? It is worth asking if they are prepared to take your pet to a vet of your choosing.
- Proof of up-to-date vaccination status to prevent the spread of disease. Usually for cats this entails just the Flu and Enteritis vaccine. Dogs will require being vaccinated with their yearly jabs as well as kennel cough which is usually administered separately if an animal is going into kennels.
- Information about your pet such as name, age, eating habits (or special diets), likes and dislikes. Then kennel or cattery should be prepared to feed food you supply.
- Any relevant medical history or treatment.
- Contact details for your vet and for a friend or relative who could make a decision on your behalf if necessary. (You may be asked to signs a veterinary treatment authorisation form, which allows the kennel or cattery to call in a vet if necessary). You can request that the staff contact your vet first if possible.
If you find a good kennel or cattery, remember to book well in advance. Good establishments fill up fast in peak season!
Information provided with the aid of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA)