My partner and I have two golden-doodle dogs (a golden retriever mixed with a poodle) and every time we go on holiday we leave the two dog in a boarding kennel. Unfortunately we have no local family that are able or willing to pet sit for us, therefore the logical solution would be to put them into our local kennel.
I thought I’d tell you about the whole ‘boarding kennel’ experience:
Now depending on what view you have of dog kennels, you will either see them as a summer holiday for your dog, a chance where they can run wild in new surroundings and meet new friends. Or you (like me, I have to admit) see them as the dreaded time of year when I have to find a kennel that I feel comfortable leaving my beloved dogs at, and trust me when I say this is no mean feat.
What are the Other Options?
Well apart from the obvious of friends and family sitting the dogs for you whilst you are away, if that isn’t possible then you may need to think of a plan B. I have done lots of research on the other options available and I thought I would share my findings…
Pet-sitters: They come in two varieties, ones who stay in your home whilst you are away, and others who just drop by throughout the day to check on them. Whilst some dogs can cope with one or two visits per day, others needs a minimum of 6, my dogs for example need feeding both in the morning and the evening, walking twice a day and then any general visits before bed and in the evening – making it almost a full time job! This put me off straight away – I instantly don’t like the idea of giving the key to my home to some complete stranger! NO GO.
Now this is something I hadn’t heard of before; home boarding. Some individuals offer boarding from their homes for a small number of dogs/animals. Although this may be nice from a social point of view because the dogs may get lots of play mate time, however, this could quite easily turn nasty if a dog takes a disliking to yours. Don’t forget that all home boarders have to be licenced by the local authority so check yours is. If you want to try this option then make sure you seek lots of recommendations, reviews online and perhaps even ask your local vet to recommend someone before you go and check out their facilities. However for me, this too was a NO GO.
When this is possible, then of course this may be the best option! Who wants to leave their pets at home? Depending on the dog’s temperament, social happiness and stress level, travelling can cause so much distress to an animal if they aren’t used to it. If you are planning on taking your dog on holiday for the first time, then make sure you take out and about in the car before hand to make sure they are used to travelling before the big day.
Find a ‘Nice’ Kennel:
Well it looked like I had run out of options, so I started Googling, asking friends and family for any recommendations that they may have of what kennels I could leave my dogs with. After looking around in my local area, I found one: Country Boarding for Cats and Dogs, located near me in Hertfordshire. I first got in contact with Jeremy and said that I had some reservations, he suggested I bring my dogs and come down to the kennels to see where they would be staying and what their facilities were like. I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised! Not only could I pick a ‘home style’ suite with a soft bed, heating and their own garden with astro turf! Then I was shown around a large paddock in which the dogs played in, my two ran loose with the other dogs (the friendly ones only are allowed to play together, the others have to have individual play time) running around after each other. They seemed to be having a great time – I still had some reservations. However, after looking round all of the inside (hydrotherapy pool, grooming area etc.) I felt happy knowing that they genuinely cared for dogs and that mine would be treated with the same love and care that I would give them at home. 6 weeks later, when it came to saying to goodbye (It didn’t make it any easier- I still sobbed!) However, it did put my mind at ease that I had met the staff and that the dogs knew that I would be coming back for them.
My advice: ALWAYS go with your pet beforehand to view the kennel, to ensure that they not only get a feel for the place but you too get to meet the other types of pets boarded there, see the kennels, and meet all the staff. IF POSSIBLE book your pets in for one over-night stay a few weeks beforehand so they can get used to their surroundings and that they know you will be coming back to get them!
Just before going on holiday my partner and I were introduced to iSeeMy:Pets which is a microchip that you attach to their collar and then download the app on your phone. We could sit back and relax, knowing that they were not only safe with the kennel team, but I could also see their whereabouts at any time of day, and if for any reason they breached their safety zone then my phone alerted me. (However this didn’t happen – phew!) Meaning that we could thoroughly relax and enjoy our tennis holiday in Portugal (although it was rather energetic!) we still came back feeling refreshed and ready to start work again – well I’m not sure how ready you can really be! But I felt as though I had had a break, and everyone (include the pets) are safe and happy, both are by far the most important factors. I will be using Country Boarding for Cats and Dogs again and would thoroughly recommend them to friends and family.