Planning Your Vacation Series: Finding a Boarding Kennel

Your pet deserves the very best care, even when you cannot physically be there to look after him or her. If you are going out of town for an extended period of time, a boarding kennel may be a good option for your furry friend. There are many facilities out there that will care for your pets while you are gone, but how do you choose one that has your animal’s best interests at heart? A little bit of research can go a long way towards finding a kennel that is right for you and your pet.

Look for Certified Kennels

When searching for a good kennel, you want to make sure that it maintains professional standards. A good kennel should be certified by an official organization that inspects for safety and sanitation. The Pet Care Services Association and the American Boarding Kennels Association are two bodies that inspect and approve kennels for quality of care.

Drop By

Make a list of kennels in your area and pay them a visit unannounced. This way you can see what the facility is like when they are not expecting anybody. Ask to have a look around to see what where the animals sleep, eat, and play. Be very wary of any kennel that does not allow you to see the space or that cannot answer any questions you may have.

What to Look For

A good kennel should have a few key characteristics. There should be ample space for the animals to move around and an area where they can get exercise. The kennel should look and smell clean and there should be plenty of light and fresh air. The staff should interact well with the animals and be knowledgeable about pet care, health, and nutrition. In addition, the animals staying at the kennel should look happy and calm, not stressed and depressed.

Do a Trial Run

Once you find a kennel that you trust, you need to prepare your pet for the stay. It helps to do a trial run before you go away. Try dropping your pet off for just a day or two to get them used to the environment. This way they will become familiar with the kennel and they will understand that you are coming back to get them at some point. This is also a great way to test out the kennel before committing to a long stay.

Be Prepared

When you do decide on a kennel, be sure to give the staff all the information they need to care for your pet. Let them know if your pet has any special needs or behavioral problems. If your pet needs special food, medication, or toys, be sure to bring those along. You should also give the kennel your veterinarian’s contact information and a number you can be reached at while you are away.

Finding a good boarding kennel for your pet is easy if you know what to look for. Do some research and shop around before you decide on a facility. Once you find a kennel you trust, you can relax and enjoy your vacation, knowing that your pet is well cared for.


Helen Billet is a freelance writer based in MA. She shares her home with 2 dogs, 4 cats and a handful of fish. And oh yes, her husband and 3 kids too.

One Response to “Planning Your Vacation Series: Finding a Boarding Kennel”

  1. Elsa Sing
    April 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    I was always really nervous to put my dog in a kennel, so we always hired someone to come stay at the house while we were away to take care of the dog. That worked out fine, but one time we could not find anyone so we needed to put Buster in the kennel. He loved it. We made sure that he went to doggy day camp every day at the kennel. Now Buster loves it when we go away so that he can hang out with all of his doggy friends all day.

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