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article I wrote to assist kennel clients in the early part of 2000, all items are still applicable

I was a boarding kennel manager for 13 years and worked in kennels previously for 4 years. I raise dogs and have also managed a Morgan breeding barn and been head assistant at a large pet store (the job from hell) in the bird/small mammal room and fish room.

1. Find out the kennel's normal business hours and drop by un-announced for a tour (Be polite and do not do this in the first hour or last hour they are open). If they will not let you examine the entire facility without an appointment, do not leave your dog.

2. On your tour notice the following things:
Each dog or family group has it's own indoor/"outdoor" run (outdoor runs may actually not be outdoors but should be attached but seperate from the sleeping/feeding area and should be at least 12' long) - some kennels do not have attached "outdoor" runs-unacceptable.
There should be a solid divider at least 3'high between runs.And if your dog is a climber they should have several totally covered "escape proof" runs.
The outside runs should be concrete that slopes so urine drains off. Some feces may be present, but not tons in every run.
Ask how often they scoop and are runs hosed & disinfected every day?
How are feces disposed of? A dumpster is ideal and a pile next to the building is bad Some odor may be present, but should not be strong & overpowering
Outside runs should be surrounded by a security fence of some type at least 6'high, in case a dog escapes from it's run
Windows, exhaust fans, heat & air conditioning are musts
Outside runs should have a roof covering them
Each dog must have water available during the daytime
All the dogs should not act afraid. Some may be shy and some aggressive, but most should seem happy or excited.

3. Will they feed the food you supply (if you want to), give pills or feed twice a day without extra charge?

4. If a dog soils itself will they wash it for free?

5. In the event of an emergency, do they have a 24 hr or on call  vet available close by?

6. Do they feed a good quality food?

7. Are the food bowls washed each day?

8. What do local vets have to say about the kennel?

9. How experienced with dogs/cats is the help and do they seem good with the animals? Are any of the employees certified by the American Boarding Kennel Association as pet care technicians or by the Red Cross in Pet First Aid or (this is rare) are any actual Veterinary Technicians?

10. Special notes for cat owners: Are litter boxes dumped and disinfected daily are the cats in a room separate from the dogs are the cats allowed some time out of their cage each day (not with other cats) Windows are great, but any that open must have wire mesh over them to prevent escape. Is ventilation adequate-most cat illnesses are airborne.

11. All good kennels should require proof from your vet of vaccination against Distemper, Parvo, Rabies and Bordetella for dogs and feline distemper combination, Upper respiratory complex and rabies for cats. Alternatively, they SHOULD also accept Distemper/parvo titers tests in lieu of vaccination. If ferrets or rabbits are accepted they must be required to be vaccinated against rabies.

12. The kennel help should also check incoming animals for fleas. If an animal is found to have fleas/ticks it will/should be given a flea/tick bath which the owner will be expected to pay for.

How To Not Add Stress to Your Pet When You Leave It At A Kennel

1. Fill out/sign any paperwork before you bring your pet inside.

2. Type or write any special instructions ahead of time and attach it to any special food/medication you will be bringing and bring all that stuff inside before your pet.

3. Do not bring blankets, beds or any toys that you will want returned to you.

4. When you bring your pet inside, simply give it a quick pat and leave. DO NOT make a production about it or your pet will stress out.

5. When picking up your pet, pay your bill and take all belongings/food out to the car first. Then have the help put your leash on your dog or cat into carrier prior to bringing the pet out to you. Do not make a production over your reunion, simply take your pet out get in the car and go. This will also avoid puddles on the floor!

6. Any problems should be reported within 24 hours to the owner or manager.



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