To find out if a local kennel is fully licensed you can conduct a search by visiting the Animal Care Public Search Tool which is managed under the Animal Welfare Act.
To operate legally, a kennel must register with the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. To successfully register they must demonstrate that they have met the minimum legal standard for proper aminal welfare.
If you cannot find your local kennel on this list, think twice. Either they have failed to meet the minimum standards, have not applied for a license, or their license is pending.
In either scenario, it is best to wait for their license to be approved or to send your dog to another, approved kennel.
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How Many Dogs Does A Kennel Accommodate?
It is impossible to put an exact number on the number of dogs a particular Kennel can house as kennels vary in size.
However, an establishment must be able to comfortably house a minimum number of 5 dogs simultaneously before they can apply for a kennel license.
There is no legal maximum, just so long as the facility has enough physical space, staff, food, and other necessary resources to ensure that the dogs are well cared for and happy.
Are Kennels Cruel to Dogs?
No, legal and fully registered kennels are not cruel to dogs. In fact, well-managed kennels aim to give your dog their own mini-break by making their stay as comfortable and fun as possible.
Good kennels let the dogs out regularly for free play but also take them out on regular walks. They are well-staffed, with plenty of people to respond to your dog if anything happens. They also serve them good quality food and keep their spaces clean.
There is no guarantee of such a service at a non-registered kennel.
How Do I Know If A Kennel Is Trustworthy?
Firstly – check the register. The register will tell you if the kennel is legit and will give you a route for emergency complaints in the rare occurrence you may need to make one.
Otherwise, try to get recommendations from friends or other dog owners that they have used. Reputation is a great indicator of trustworthiness and if your friends’ dog came back from their kennel happy and healthy, there is a good chance yours will too.
If you do not have any friends with dogs then ask at the local dog park. Dog owners are animal lovers and will never want anyone’s dog to suffer. Even if you are strangers, they will be very unlikely to recommend a bad kennel.
And most importantly – go see for yourself! If you wish to be extra cautious, turn up unannounced and politely ask for a tour of the kennel.
Good, reputable kennels will have no problem with this, but they will ask to see your dogs vaccination record before they can allow your dog to enter, so make sure to take it with you if you’re taking your dog along – this request is also a sign that it is a good, honest kennel.
What Makes a Good Boarding Kennel?
Good kennels should have plenty of clean, safe space for your dog to sit and sleep comfortably and to pace back and forth a little too. They should have their own private kennel, supplied with bedding and bowls.
Good kennels let the dogs out for exercise every few hours, and have plenty of toys and agility gyms for them to explore.
They also supply good quality dog food and strictly follow the feeding schedule you have set out. If your dog requires special food you may have to bring this with you.
Good kennels have 24-hour access to vets should an accident happen, and inform you immediately if there is a problem.
Will the Kennel Ask Questions About My Dog?
A good kennel will ask you a lot of questions before you board your dog and note it down. Expect quotations such as:
- What kind of food does your dog prefer?
- What time are they used to walking?
- Are they social?
- Do they have any fears or anxieties?
- Do they have a history of aggression towards people or other dogs?
- Do they toilet inside or outside and at what time?
- Are all their vaccinations and health checks up to date?
Make sure to answer all of these questions honestly. Your kennel is not asking them to judge your ability to care for your dog but to ensure top-quality care and the protection of other dogs already boarded.
Kennels know that dogs are happiest when their usual routine is interrupted as little as possible, so they will want to know everything about your dog to make sure they give them a comfortable stay and minimize any anxiety.
What Questions Should I Ask The Boarding Kennel Before Boarding My Dog?
Of course, you must have many questions for the dog kennel before boarding and don’t be afraid to ask! Common questions you should know the answer to are:
- Do I need to book in advance and how far?
- How often are the dogs taken out?
- Do you cater to dogs with special needs?
- What kind of food do you supply?
- Do you have an emergency vet? Or access to one?
- Can I take a tour?
- Do you have any additional services such as grooming or special training?
- What vaccinations are required for a dog to stay here?
These are all perfectly reasonable questions to ask, and if your kennel is reluctant to answer any of them, it is a sign that they are a poor-quality kennel.
What Are The Signs Of a Bad Boarding Kennel?
Even if a boarding kennel is registered there is a chance that it is poorly run. It is always best to do your own research and inspection before boarding your dog at any kennel. A good kennel will expect dog owners to do this.
Signs a kennel is bad quality
- Your dog comes home anxious
- Your dog comes home smelling bad
- The kennel itself smells bad
- Employees are reluctant to answer questions
- Employees have no updates on your dog when you collect them
- Dog pen has no shelter from the elements
- No bedding or water bowls
- The pens are very small and have small openings
- No ventilation
If you see any of these signs you are in your right to complain and avoid sending your dog there in the future.