Please share your dog kennel experiences. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 10-07-2009, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all. We have a new puppy and I am investigating kenels. There is one that my vet has recommended and that one of the vet techs uses. We have a couple trips over the next few months & I have no other options right now. I did look into having a house/petsitter, but she is booked when we are away. I feel like the puppy needs more than just a few visits a day from a pet sitter. He is crate trained & I wouldn't want him in his crate that long, for a week.

We had a dog for 12 years prior to this & never needed a kennel, as we had family & neighbors who helped out. So this is all new to us. I have to admit I hate the idea of a kennel. It seems like we will be abandoning the poor little guy! (I know these are human emotions, not dog ones, but can't help it.)

I'd love to hear others' experiences w/using a kennel. Does your dog seem to like it? How was he/she when you returned? Did he/she ever get sick from the kennel? Hurt? Fleas? Anything else you'd like to share would be greatly aprreciated. TIA!

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#2 of 14 Old 10-07-2009, 05:32 PM
 
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I would ask around at pet stores, groomers, dog parks etc and get some recommendations. I would also make a list of ones in the phone book. Many kennels have websites now. You can google them and see what comes up. Also, make a list of questions, and call and ask the individual kennels. Once you've narrowed it down, visit your favorites. They should let you see the kennel area- make sure it is clean, the dogs are fed, etc.

Growing up my family used a very typical kennel- its basically a row of cages with indoor/outdoor runs and the dogs stay in the run until you come to pick them up, being fed and having the run cleaned, but not much else. There was a grooming shop attached and they would bath your dog for extra if you wished. Toys and bedding from home was discouraged. Some kennels even don't want you to bring your own food!

However, in many places you know have choices in boarding kennels. They make nice, high end boarding facilities with state of the art "suites" that are just like their own little bedroom, daily playgroups, and extras like massage or personal walks, or streaming video so you can check in on vacation. In my area, which is not particularly large, we have 3 or 4 such facilities.

My dog stayed at one the last time I went away. She had a "suite" which is like a room with a door she can see out of. I brought her own bed, her favorite toy, treats and food prebagged with her supplements. I toured the place before I made an appointment- they showed me all the kennels as well as the play yards, and told me about the daily schedule. The kennels were clean, the dogs looked happy, and the staff was knowledgeable. While I was away, my dog had daily supervised play time with the other dogs of her size and temperament. I chose not to have her bathed before pick up (although it was an option) so she came home a bit dirty (it was out in the country, they had big outdoor play yards) but exhausted and VERY happy. The staff was able to tell me everything she had been up too. I was very pleased, and will use them again.

So your questions- she loves it, she's still thrilled to see me when i returned, but tuckered out for a few days, and no, my family has been boarding dogs for years and have never had an issue with illness, injury, or fleas. I do notify my vet that I am boarding and they are authorized to treat her, the kennel has my vets info and also an emergency number where I can be reached if she needed treatment.

I don't think I'd ever go back to the cage-style kenneling. I think in some places- like some vets offices its worse- the dogs are basically crated all day with a walk or two. then you have kennel runs, and then you have boarding facilities that actively spend time with your dog for a significant portion of the day. The cost was not that much more expensive compred to traditional kennel boarding.
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#3 of 14 Old 10-07-2009, 05:51 PM
 
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We use two diferrent ones depending on who is busy and for how long.

One is in the mountains and while the pup are in a run for most of the day they get out a minumum of three times a day for an hour with dogs with similar personalities and I pay $3 extra per day for them to go on a three mile trail walk every day. They are happy to go and happy to come home. One of my pups is a couch potato and loves it there but needs a week to recover. You can bring your own food or eat theirs (which we do, they have a good quality kibble). They have my vet's number and a medical release form for treatment. They have never been hurt or gotten sick. The only issue we've ever had (and it really had nothing to do with kennaling) was my bl lab/golden retriever went through a time period when he was chewing his collar off. To the point I was getting them a couple at a time. Luckily he grew out of it.

The other one we've used is at a vet's office. It is not accredited but it has even more mental/physical stim that the first one. They go to doggie daycare all day in a huge area and are only ever in their runs in the evening/night. They are neat, clean, no doggie smell, etc. My water dog can swim and his sister can yell at him while he's doing it. They love to go and are actually not very happy to come home.
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#4 of 14 Old 10-07-2009, 06:02 PM
 
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The one thing you have on your side is some time. Definately ask around for recommendations from people. I would definatly go and visit each one, perferably just drop in if possible. I would also suggest a kennel that is out a bit from a city as they sometimes have more room/activities for the animals than say to have them just in a kennel all day.

One of the most important things to me is their health requirements. I would he hesitant if a kennel dosent ask for proof of vaccinations. I am very careful becasue I do not want my animal to pick up something from another animal especially if they are allowed to *play* with other animals. I also ask about their sanitation methods. the animal kennels should look and smell clean and not stuffy or humid/smelly.
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#5 of 14 Old 10-08-2009, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies. I would feel so much better if there were some kennels around here that were suites, or more play based as mentioned above. The few in this area are your basic indoor/outdoor runs, kenneled all day unless you pay for play sessions (which I would definitely do), and all require proof of vax. There are two in particular that have very good reputations. I have visited one so far. I got a good vibe, liked the owner (she lives on premises), and she was very knowledgable & comfortable w/my breed of dog. I just am not in love w/the kennel environment. I would feel so much better w/a more homey or fun environment. I will keep asking around for recommendations and making visits.

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#6 of 14 Old 10-08-2009, 02:07 PM
 
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You mentioned that you had spoken with one of the vet tech's at your animal hospital. I know that in mine, several of the techs will take a dog in for a week or two while the owner is away, for some extra cash. Might be worth calling or stopping in to ask.
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#7 of 14 Old 10-08-2009, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicole915 View Post
You mentioned that you had spoken with one of the vet tech's at your animal hospital. I know that in mine, several of the techs will take a dog in for a week or two while the owner is away, for some extra cash. Might be worth calling or stopping in to ask.
Yes, this was the original plan, but the tech who does house/pet sitting is already booked the dates I need her. She said she would ask the others if they are interested, but I haven't heard back yet.

I went to visit two more kennels today. At the first one, which is owned by a veterinary practice, the people were miserable and the runs were a mess. No thank you. At the second one they wouldn't even give me a tour bc the manager wasn't there. She said they would be really busy for the next couple of days so I should call to make an appointment w/the manager. FWIW, I was the only person there today when she refused me the tour. Another no thank you. Makes me wonder what they are hiding or are they just ultra rigid. There were signs all over the place, don't do this, don't do that. Total bad vibe. There is one more kennel nearby that has a good rep that I will visit next. My first kennel is looking better & better!

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#8 of 14 Old 10-09-2009, 03:54 AM
 
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I use the breeder from whom I got the dog. We live like 2 hours away from him right now. But, if we're going away for 2 weeks and I absolutely can't take my dog, I drop him off at the breeder's. For a fee. This isn't a normal service he provides ... I just happen to be very convincing.

My dog loves it there. It's a farm, and he's got lots of GSD friends there. Sometimes my breeder likes to joke that my dog doesn't want to come home with me, lol.

I have used a kennel in the past, in emergency situations where I didn't have time to drive to the breeder. I'm very thorough (some might say obsessive) in picking kennels.

I visit the kennel on several occasions - at various times. I walk through ALL the facilities. I want a kennel that has dog walking/dog play time. I want it clean. I want a person to be there 24/7 if it's a facility that is not on the grounds of someone's home/yard. If the kennel is next to the owner's home, obviously the 24/7 person is not necessary. I also want to know the backgrounds of the people who work there, i.e. I'm not sure I want a high school freshman who has never been around dogs in his whole life attempt to take my dog for a walk.

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#9 of 14 Old 10-09-2009, 09:42 AM
 
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We board our dog at the vet's - it's not ideal, but they just love him and allow him to run around the clinic anytime they are there. He spends most of his days napping in the receptionist's lap. I'm like you - I hate the idea of kennels, in our family we call them "puppy prison" - but I think we have found a pretty good situation with our vet.

Before I discovered our vet, I posted on craigslist asking if anyone would be willing to pet sit him in their own home - I got a TON of replies and even reconnected with a lady I used to do dog rescue with. There were lots of good options there, you wouldn't believe how many people wanted to dogsit him in their home!

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#10 of 14 Old 10-09-2009, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mistymama, that is a good idea. That would be the ideal situation if I could find an experienced dog person to care for him in their home.

Happy mama of four Wild Things
"And now," cried Max "let the wild rumpus begin!"
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#11 of 14 Old 10-09-2009, 07:55 PM
 
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I understand how you're feeling-I also prefer to not put them in kennels, and with our 11 year old dog we've done it 3 times, I think? We've never had a problem, ever. Just find a place that's clean, and you can tell when people love animals. The one near us now is wonderful-we left our JRT for a week six years ago and they fussed over him like he was their own. And they accepted titers.
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#12 of 14 Old 10-09-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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Thought I'd add, our kennel accepts the AAHA vaccination schedule (every 3 years for everything but bordatella) They might take titers, we dont do them, so I didn't ask. Their website merely has the usual dogs must be vaccinated disclaimer, so I had to ask specifically about alternate schedules. Turns out they do and I was very pleased, as I didn't want to vaccinate just to be able to board. My groomer requires no vaccinations, which is fine by me. It can be hard to find a place when you vaccinate selectively or on a different schedule!
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#13 of 14 Old 10-11-2009, 07:19 PM
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If you can't find in-home car (either your home or a sitter's home), make sure the kennel you choose has no problem with you dopping in at an unscheduled time. I had a husky I had to kennel a few times, and they only allowed owners to come by at pre-set times for drop-off and pick-up. I didn't think much of it...until they were shut down and I found out they were doing horrible things with the dogs and the reason for the pre-set times was to lessen their chances of an owner walking in on them.

So a good kennel should be fine with you making random checks. If they don't allow it, there's a good chance they're hiding something!!

Also make sure they don't charge you extra for bringing your own food. That kennel chanrged I think it was $4 a day to feed my dog the food she always ate, which they said was because it was more work to keep straight which food went to which dog, even though it would have been as simple as keeping it ouside her kennel door AND it wasn't costing them any of their food.
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#14 of 14 Old 10-11-2009, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Noelle. I did run into that w/one kennel - they wouldn't give me a tour without the manager present. I said, "thanks but no thanks" for the exact reason you mentioned. Why wouldn't they give me a tour if they had nothing to hide?

The one kennel I am leaning towards has a really good rep. I got a positive vibe from the owner (dropped in unscheduled). They do puppy play & socialization time. But what I am wondering about is, my pup will only be 4 months old the first time I go away, & I think all the barking from the dogs will really frighten him. What do others think? Anyone ever kenneled a puppy? I am thinking of leaving him for a few hours one day before the trip, as a doggie day care client, just to see how he does. This whole thing is causing me such stress! I wish I could find something I am fully comfortable with.

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