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Finding Reputable Dog Boarding Kennels

Cody the Cavalier looks
                                          online for boarding kennels

Finding Boarding Kennels

Beyond the fact that we all love our Cavaliers, these dogs are also a fairly expensive investment. All the more reason to be careful with whom you leave your dog when you're away from home.  Finding safe and reliable dog boarding kennels for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is an essential part of pet ownership.

Start by making a list of Boarding Kennels

Begin by asking friends and family members who own dogs for referrals.  Veterinarians sometimes board dogs for their clients, or can give you a referral to a local dog kennel, if they don't.

Of course, check your yellow pages and search the internet.

You might also have a local service like Angie's List that reports customer service ratings of local vendors.

You may also wish to contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been lodged against each of the boarding kennels you are considering.

Narrow down your list

Your initial job is to narrow down your list to the top 2 or 3 boarding facilities which you should then visit in person. Much of the preliminary decision making can be done by looking over the boarding kennels website and speaking to them by phone.

Checklist of questions to ask

You probably already know what criteria are most important to you in a dog kennel. It may be that finding a convenient kennel near your home (or near the airport) is more important to you than finding the lowest cost facility.

But even if you think you already know what you are looking for, I recommend gathering as much information about each boarding kennel as you can. Then you can choose your top candidates with all the relevant facts. 

Boading Kennels - Basic Information

  • Location of the boarding kennel
  • Business hours (and pet pick up / drop off hours)
  • Range of services available (just boarding? or do they offer doggie day care, walks, play times, bathing, grooming, etc?)
  • Type of kennel area that will be provided for your dog.
    • Does each kennel have an inside as well as outdoor area? (Can your dog relieve himself a good distance away from where he will sleep?)
    • Are the kennels protected from the weather and/or temperature controlled?
    • Is bedding provided, or just a cement floor?
    • Is fresh water available to your pet at all times?
  • What brand of pet food does the kennel offer? Many kennels control costs by using commercial pet foods that are not the best natural pet foods. If you would prefer to bring your pet's own food from home, will there be a surcharge?
  • Will they accept a pet that required medication? (Some kennels may refuse depending on your pet's illness in order to avoid infecting other animals on premises. Other kennels may take your pet, but keep him in a separate "quarantined" area of their facility.)
  • Rates for boarding (and charges for "extras" like walks and giving medications)
  • Do they have staff on hand around the clock, or only during office hours?
  • Does a staff member supervise the dogs during group exercise at all times?
  • Do they have a Veterinarian available in case of emergency?
  • What documents do they require from their boarding clients (generally, proof of vaccination)?
  • If I have more than one dog, can they boarding together in the same kennel. If I also own a cat, can both my dog and my cat be boarded at this facility?

Schedule a personal visit

Now, armed with the essential details, you should take time to visit your top 2 or 3 boarding kennel choices. There's no substitute for having your own look around. What sounded good on their website or over the phone might not ring true once you see the facility itself.

When visiting, ask to see the kennel area where your dog will actually stay. Beware of kennel operators that refuse to let you visit the kennel area. You may be told that visitors upset the dogs, etc., but then you would expect the kennel to at least have a window where you can see the kennels.

What to look for:

  • Observe how the staff members handle the animals being boarded. Make further inquiries about how staff members are trained and supervised.
  • Is the boarding kennel clean and sanitary? Ask how often the kennels are cleaned and what type of cleaning products are used.
  • Notice how the facility protects against animals getting loose. Are there double gates / doors to prevent a dog from being lost?

Test Drive your Chosen Boarding Kennel

Once you've made your selection, it's wise to schedule a short visit (over one night or a weekend) for your pet to be sure your Cavalier adjusts to this kennel and comes home having been well cared for.  If all goes well during this intial short stay, then you will be more comfortable leaving your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with the boarding kennel when you go on vacation for a longer period.

Regardless of what brand of pet food the kennel uses, consider insisting on bringing your own pet's dog food with them to the kennel.  Your dog may already be feeling a little stressed by the change of scene. So why also subject him to possible stomach upset with a change of food?

Ask in advance whether you are allowed to bring your pet's bed , pet food and treats. The more you can keep your pet's environment familiar to him, the more easily he will adapt to the boarding kennel.

If all goes well during this initial short stay, then you will be more comfortable leaving your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with the boarding kennel when you go on vacation for a longer period.

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