Dog Kennel or Pet Sitter?by Kathy Green • January 08, 2013
You may come across a scenario where you may not be able to arrange for a pet sitter, and thus must opt for a kennel. Keep in mind that dogs are often mistreated in kennels; you should always choose a pet sitter over a kennel when possible. Kennels add the risk of falling sick, getting injured, and often dogs staying at them get minimal individual attention. However, if the event arises where you must send your furry friend to a kennel, ensure that you do your research first.
What is a Kennel?
A boarding kennel is a term referencing a building used to leave your dog in the care of another individual while you are out of town. Most pet owners will experience, at some point in their lives, having to leave behind their pet while they are going on a trip. Before you decide to drop your beloved canine friend off, you should make sure you are aware of what goes on behind the kennels closed door.
What's the Difference?
Pet Sitter - At your home or the pet sitters work place
Dog Kennel - In a building with several other dogs
Pet Sitter - Can only socialize with pet sitter
Dog Kennel - Several staff members and other dogs to socialize with
Pet Sitter - Low risk of getting sick, many pet sitters have animal first aid training
Dog Kennel - High risk of getting sick, often have access to on-call registered veterinarians
Pet Sitter - High level of attention
Dog Kennel - Large kennels have low level of individual attention
Finding the Right Kennel
Go through a list of kennels in your area and determine which you would like to interview.
On the Phone
Start by giving the kennel a call to ask a few questions:
Do you overbook?
If so, the kennel is likely going to mistreat some dogs by placing them in excess units such as storage crates.
How many runs do you have?
If its over 20, it’s likely that your dog will not get the individualized attention it deserves
How are emergencies handled? Do you have an on call vet?
If they do not have access to a vet, your pet could be at serious risk.
Does my pet need to get any vaccinations before being admitted?
You want to ensure to provide whatever vaccines your dog may need in order to avoid them getting sick.
Will my dog have their own run?
This will give you an idea of how individualized their program is.
Can I bring in my dogs favorite food and toys?
Your dog might find comfort in having some of their favorite items while you’re away.
What services will I get charged for?
You likely will want to know what you are paying for
What time should I drop off and pick my pet up for?
Many kennels are closed on the weekends, not picking pets up may result in some excess charges
Can I come and visit the kennel?
If you are not able to visit the kennel during work hours, it is likely that the kennel has something to hide.
At the Kennel
While you are at the kennel, be sure to keep your eyes open and take in the surrounding to get a feel for the place. Make sure to keep out for a few key points:
How does the kennel smell?
If the kennel smells of urine and feces, it’s likely that the kennel is not cleaned on a regular basis. This poses as a health threat for your dog.
How clean is the kennel?
How clean are various facilities like the kitchen, the runs, and outdoors? Be sure to pay attention to stuff such as water and food bowls, dirt, feces, urine, and other health risks.
Do the staff seem genuinely interested in my pet?
Inform the staff of your dog’s medical needs and behavioral issues. If the staff appear to be attentive, it is likely that they genuinely care about your pets well being. If not, it is likely that the kennel sees your pet as a method of paying bills.
The Final Decision
Whether or not you decide to leave your pet at the kennel should be based off of the questions and feedback you received. Be sure to follow your instincts.
Keep in mind that if you can hire a pet sitter, they will likely provide a better job.