Do you take your dog on holiday? Do you use dog boarding kennels? How do you know they are going to care properly for your dog whilst you are off sunning yourself?
A news story last week shocked and horrified my local community. A breeder and boarding kennels owner in my village admitted to 14 charges of cruelty for the dogs in his care. It certainly made me very concerned as the kennels are on the edge of my village! So, are kennels the only option if we want to go away?
Take the dog with you
There are plenty of places that will accommodate pets nowadays. It’s easy to find places that don’t mind well-behaved pets, but just check that they don’t mind you leaving the dog there from time to time. Another great reason to teach your dog to enjoy their crate/den!
For UK dog owners, if you’d like to get started, why not help the Dogs Trust at the same time by checking out the Dogs Trust Holidays.
Or if you are Twitter-mad like me (I am @WildPaw) you could look up www.twitter.com/weacceptpets for a handy resource.
Leave the dog at home – employ a pet sitter
If you have a lot of pets, you could employ a pet sitter to come and stay in your home. There are many pet sitter registers and I would rather you do your investigating or recommend some if you know of a good one in the comments section below.
This is a great idea because it means your pets are not disrupted very much at all! Yes, they will miss you but the rest of their environment stays pretty much the same. Cost effective, too, if you have an number of pets and especially if they are all different species.
If you have a dog, I don’t think that employing a pet sitter to simply call in a couple of times a day is a good idea. Your dog needs company so perhaps you should consider other methods of care.
Take the dog to a home-from-home – doggy home boarding
I myself am a council-licensed home boarder. This is where the dogs come to stay at our home. Obviously there are stipulations – we have dogs of our own, plus kids, plus our cat-dog-hybrid… I only board smaller dogs here, as that is suited to our home and family life. We love it! Look carefully and you can really find your dog a home from home. We have many regular doggy pals that come to stay, sometimes up to months at a time. They are like our family, too.
You should make certain your dog home boarder is licensed and fully insured. Don’t neglect this, as many home boarders do this as a sideline which is handy money, without the checks and fire precautions they really need. If it is a franchise that won;t let you see the home boarder’s house – why not? Your dog needs to live there, so check it out and refuse to book unless you can see where your dog is going!
If you have a destructive dog, one that suffers separation anxiety or doesn’t like being shut in, you should consider that home boarding is probably not going to be right. It is someone else’s home. Are you willing to be presented with a big repair bill for damage your dog has caused? If your dog is nervous or can be aggressive or possessive, then perhaps home boarding is not for you. Even though I am a professional trainer and behaviourist, I cannot sort a dog’s problems during their 1 week holiday, and if I did, it would cost a lot more than simple boarding fees.
Put the dog in boarding kennels?
I am often asked to recommend kennels in my area. As you can tell from the piece above, how can we be sure that boarding kennels are going to treat our dogs nicely? What if I had sent some hapless owners and their dogs there?
The usual advice applies of course – drop in to a dog kennels unannounced, or if you have to make an appointment, make sure you have a very good look around. Ask other dog owners where their dogs go. Check council inspections are up to date. If it feels wrong, it probably is wrong, so trust your instincts.
How might your dog feel? Some dogs really don’t mind kennels at all, and adjust well. Others stop eating, or bark continuously. This isn’t really the kennel owner’s fault – after all, your dog cannot know you have just gone on holiday! Take your time and make the kennel visits part of a routine leading up to your holiday. This will ease the situation when it is finally holiday time.
– Karen Wild