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Experience with boarding kennels?

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by AnnetteV, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. AnnetteV

    AnnetteV New Member Registered

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    Hello everyone,

    We recently adopted a wonderful 6 month old Working Sheepdog x which we had to put into boarding kennels early in December and then again over Christmas. It's nothing we're planning to do regularly, but we were hoping that our dog would get the best of care there with experienced people who know what they're doing. We tried long and hard to find good, reliable kennels. We do not own a car which made it rather difficult to get at certain places, but we decided to pay a pet taxi.

    The lady from the pet taxi charged us a ridiculous amount for a 20 minute drive, dragged my dog around on the leash and managed to get his paw stuck in the cage she wanted to load him into so that he cried in pain. She did not realise what had just happened and when I intervened she started blaming the dog, albeit jokingly and called him 'silly'. He has never seen a cage and has never jumped into a car before, which I had told her previously.

    At the first kennels in early December I did not get any confirmation of my dog's stay there whatsoever. I told them to please not overexercise my dog and to give him 50 mins exercise per day max. The new environment would be more than enough stimulation, he's still a puppy and I want to be careful with his joints and bones and I certainly do not want an overstimulated sheepdog in my house. I got him back, five days later, very dirty, stinking very badly and was told that he'd been wonderful and had played with every single dog in the kennels. He was exchausted, but worst of all his eyes were bright red and our puppy had caught serious conjunctivitis which had to be treated by our vet. I understand that a new environment is very stressful for the dog and that they're likely to develop an infection in such situations. I would not have blamed the kennels for the infection itself, this happens, but I do blame them for not listening to my instructions and for not telling me immediately about such an obvious (and highly contagious!) health problem.

    For the longer period over Christmas I decided to take him to different kennels, and the new ones kindly agreed to look after him despite the medication he still had to be given due to his conjunctivitis and even though he was not allowed to have any direct contact with other dogs for the first couple of days. I left him there with a much better feeling, their questionnaire was very detailed and they uploaded some pictures of him on Facebook while we were away. Although he looked well, I noticed on those pictures that they walked him on a retriever choke lead, even though I had given them my own harness and lead. When we got back two and a half weeks later, the most obvious change was that he had gained a whopping four pounds which makes quite a difference in a dog that weighed 26 pounds when he brought him in. Again, he was incredibly smelly with an awful scent of excrement and urine. We were surprised to see that he would refuse to sit, even though this was a command he liked a lot. As soon as we saw his rear the case became clear: it was soiled all over with poo and matted fur that it had become very painful for him to sit (not to think of to defecate...). It was a long, tedious task to cut the stinking, filthy mess out, pretty painful for him and very unpleasant to all of us. Underneath the matted coat we discovered that his bottom was sore and on the verge of eczema. Again, I at a loss why these issues were not addressed.

    We really tried so hard to find good kennels and certainly did not go for the cheapest ones. I would not say that I am a fussy pet owner and do not expect my dog to come back smelling of flowers and shampoo, but I am rather disappointed and cannot believe that this is what you can expect from kennels? I'd really appreciate some feedback and suggestions as to what I could have done better.
  2. The Dog House - Watford

    The Dog House - Watford New Member Registered

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    Hi Annette,

    It is important you visit any boarding establishment before you go on holiday. You do not want to turn up the day before you are due to leave, find the facilities are not what you were expecting and have no where to board your dog while you are away. Any establishment that provides an animal boarding service should be licenced by the local authority. A starting point would be to check with the local council to make sure that they are registered and to ask if there have been any complaints. An outline of this can be found at:

    They may also be a member of a professional body that sets further standards such as the Pet Care Trust (PCT) or have vet references.

    Some boarding kennels welcome visits without a prior appointment which is an excellent way to see what the kennel is like day-to-day. When you visit, have a good look around at the places your dog will be sleeping, playing and exercising in. Some facilities have a range of kennel sizes, so check which your dog would stay in.

    Kennels should provide your pet with a sleeping area and an exercise run. Dogs should also have regular walks or access to a large secure exercise pen for play times. Check with the kennel the frequency and duration of the walks provided. A dog that does not get enough exercise will become more stressed in the kennel environment.

    To minimise the danger of spreading infections, the boarding facilities should be designed so that dogs from different households cannot come into contact with each other. The kennels should be clean, tidy, light and well ventilated. A properly ventilated and cleaned boarding facility should not have any bad smells. The pens should be secure, well built and well maintained. The animals currently being boarded should look relaxed and, although dogs may initially bark and be excited, when you visit they should settle down again quickly

    They should also have insurance cover - ask to see their documentation and .

    A good boarding facility will answer yes to the following questions:

    • Are the staff friendly, caring and experienced?
    • Is the accommodation safe, secure and in good repair?
    • Is there adequate ventilation, light and heating?
    • Do they insist dogs are vaccinated?
    • Are you asked for written information about your dog?
    • Do they have a vet on call 24/7?
    • Can they accommodate the dates you require?
    • Can they cope with any special requirements such as grooming?
    • If you have more than one dog, can they stay together?
    • If relevant, are other types of pets kept out of sight/hearing (to minimise stress)?
    • Do they have a licence?
    If you are not satisfied with the boarding kennel you visit then go back to your list and visit another one. You should only leave your dog at a boarding facility you are entirely comfortable with.

    I hope this helps.
  3. poppy2714

    poppy2714 New Member Registered

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    This is quite hard to read about a dog suffering so much and no-one noticing - especially as they are a family member! It is difficult to know a good kennels but I personally have gone on recommendation from others locally!

    I hope you have more luck in the future if you leave him!
  4. Hagrid

    Hagrid New Member Registered

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    I am in a lucky situation where I leave my Boy at home and have a dog sitter than comes in to walk him and spend time with him - I find it a better option than kennels. As you say you never know what things are like when you have left your dog in someone else's care. I hope you find a kennel that suits you all better next time.

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