Let’s face it, most people treat their pets as good as family members, some even go beyond this. I know a few people who will not be having kids and their pets are their children, and treated as such. Today there are many options with regards to pet care and boarding your dogs and cats and even other pets. But just like choosing the quality care you would for your child, you need to be choosy about the care you have for your pets.
I recently went on vacation to the other side of the state where I reside and went with my mother in law, no it wasn’t that bad, we get along real well. We did not want to take along our two dogs, especially when the van was already full of people. It would not be as fun either, we were going to be staying in hotels and going on lots of tourist attractions around the Badlands and Black Hills of North and South Dakota and those are no places for pets. We wanted a place that we could trust and that would really watch our pets instead of just sticking them into a cage and tossing in food once in awhile.
We went to a few places locally and that is probably the most important thing, aside from reservations well in advance, visiting the kennel and seeing for yourself where the animals are kept. One place we went was terrible, and no pet of mine was even going to be visiting much less staying. The place was on a farm, like many in our area, Fargo, North Dakota, and there were flies everywhere. Not just some flies but way too many, I have been around a farm and know about them, and my wife grew up on one so we know what flies are and what is too many. There were a couple of dogs loose, probably the owners but we could not tell, and several were in fenced in pens, and one of these had open wounds and flies all over, we felt sorry and left.
I will not go into the fact that we should maybe have reported them, it is not going to help as many reports are not taken seriously and the police and animal control have their hands full. Many incidents in the past couple of years have been reported on several places in our area and the best thing that anyone can do is not take their pets there. I feel if people see conditions and want to do something about the place, don’t patronize them.
We went elsewhere and found a real good kennel that is in town, and one that is recommended by local vets, that’s my next point. Ask vets who they recommend and who they deal with. Most kennels and boarding places will have a vet on call for emergencies and that is something you should ask about. What vet or animal hospital does the kennel go in an emergency. If they don’t have a local vet or hosp[ital they are affiliated with, then what would happen if your dog or cat got hurt and they needed attention. Would the place wait or call you and eave it up to you to come back or find someone to take care of your pet.
When we decided to go with this local pet kennel, Fargo Boarding and Grooming, we asked questions and were happy with the answers we received. I went in and there was a bell to ring to get someone from the back to know i was there. I rang it and waited a few minutes, but I looked around, and could see the dogs in the cages in the back, there was a door with a window so I could see into the back and see how clean it was. I was impressed with how well the place looked and how clean it smelled and the size of each pen for the dogs. There is a few cat kennels up front and of course they were all purring for attention, but I could see they had clean litter and their water was clean, it looked good to me. One of the employees came out and I asked her about prices and such and she handed me a price sheet and information about the place.
I asked about care and if both of my dogs could share a pen and they said yes, for a reduced rate both dogs could be in the same pen if they got along. This is another thing you should ask about, if you have more than one pet can they share and for a reduced price. They had a local vet who they used in emergencies and would also need a local phone number for someone to contact if they could not get a hold of us. We made our reservations and went off to pack. Get reservations as soon as you can, when you are sure of the dates and such of when your going so you can make sure they have openings for your pets.
Some places will take care of odd pets such as birds and rodents, but you have to call around and check. Another important point that I would like to make is that you should have your information about where you are going and cell phone numbers to call if anything happens, and leave a local person to contact too, a friend or relative who knows about your trip. You should have your vets information as well as giving a current record of shots and vet information for your pets to the kennel, they will probably require it anyway. If they don’t I would suspect them as being not too caring about getting into trouble with the law, many states require current shots and vaccinations for pets in boarding situations.
So, some places you can check for information on boarding, Yahoo, has a directory like a yellow pages of all kinds of places and directions on how to get there, but they do not have any recommendations for any of them. First place to find a recommendation for a good boarding for your pet is your local veterinarian. Ask them who they recommend and if they are caregivers for any local kennels. Your local Humane Society will know of good boarding places and will know if any have been in trouble with the police in your area, and that’s another place to contact after you have some places picked out. Call your local police or animal control to see if any places you are considering have any complaints against them.
On the Internet you can find some suggestions here, http://www.abka.com/abka/welcomeToABKA/learnMore.aspx at the American Boarding Kennels Association. They have some more good suggestions and some ideas of what to look for in a good boarding for your pet. The best and by far most reliable source for a good recommendation is friends and neighbors, coworkers and relatives. Ask around and see where others have taken their pets and what they thought. This will give you a better idea of how a place runs and takes care of pets than any other way, aside of course from taking yours there.
Some of the things that impressed me about the place I went and you can look for in a place near you, they inventoried the items we brought such as leash, dog carriers, toys and such so they were sure we got them when we left with the pets. They stated up front the cost and hours of when we could pick up our dogs, and they needed shot records that were up to date on our pets or they could not stay.
I was confident when we went on our trip that our four legged friends would be in good hands and they would be well taken care of. That is probably the most important thing when you walk away from a kennel and you are wondering about whether to leave your pets in their care, do you trust them.