Many people choose the summer as prime time for going away, but sometimes it isn’t always possible to take your pet with you. In this situation it can be difficult to know which kennel or cattery to entrust with looking after your dog or cat. You want to be safe in the knowledge that they will be warm, comfortable and cared for in the best possible way until you return, so we have written a guide on how to choose accommodation for your pet.
Use the internet to extensively research where would be the most suitable place for your pet to stay. Look for kennels or catteries that are close to your home, so that your pet doesn’t have to endure a long car journey when you pick them up at the end of your trip. Note whether the website for a particular centre provides a lot of information and photos, as this shows they are being open and transparent about their facilities.
When you find a kennel or cattery you like, ring them up to find out more information. Ask yourself whether the staff seem friendly and knowledgeable, as these are positive indicators. Anyone who doesn’t seem to know very much or appears to be withholding information suggests the kennel or cattery in question isn’t the best place to take your pet. You want to leave them somewhere where the staff have the utmost patience and respect for the animals in their care.
It can help to seek advice from others about which kennel or cattery they have used. Ask friends or family about where they have left their pets whilst on holiday, and whether or not they were satisfied with the level of care their pet received.
After you have decided which kennel or cattery you want to take your pet to, it is important that you visit before booking and dropping them off. You need to be sure that you are leaving your pet in the best place for them, and only by looking around will you be able to find somewhere that is suitable.
Staff at the kennel or cattery should provide you with a tour of where your pet will sleep, as well as a breakdown of their planned daily routine. They should be informative and willing to answer any questions you may have, and they should request to see your pet’s vaccination certificates. Alarm bells should ring if they fail to do this, as it indicates the staff aren’t thorough enough with the pets they admit. They should ask about your dog’s breed, sex and age, and make other general enquiries to check their suitability.
During the tour, you need to take notice of the conditions that the kennel or cattery is kept in. The enclosures should be clean, warm, dry and free of draughts, and each one needs to be separate from the other, as animals from different households shouldn’t be sharing the same one. They should be secure enough that other animals are unable to access them, and spacious with enough room for your pet to comfortably move around in. Some kennels and catteries can have various extras that make them stand out, but they need to have all of the essentials to make them suitable.
The enclosures in some kennels and catteries will feature outdoor areas for your dog or cat to venture into, whilst others won’t. These can reduce the likelihood of infection and illness, so factor this into the decision you make. Dogs will need an outdoor area, but if your cat prefers to sleep a lot of the day and they don’t usually, if ever, go outside, they may be fine with just an indoor space. If you know your cat will need to be outdoors for some of the time, ensure the cattery you choose has this available.
Questions to ask
There are various things you need to ask staff before deciding to entrust them with the care of your pet. Find out how much they will be interacted with whilst there, and whether a dog will be walked and where this will take place. Make sure they have the appropriate insurance, as you don’t want to get back from your holiday to find something has happened with your pet and the kennel or cattery isn’t covered. Also, check what they will do if your pet should fall ill whilst you are away.
Staff should ask when your pet needs to be fed, what they eat and how much, so that they can replicate their routine from home as much as possible.
Trust your instincts
Upon visiting the kennel or cattery, you should get a positive feeling about the place. You should like the way staff are and how they respond to animals, should the chance to observe it arises. Ultimately, trust your instinct when making a decision. You want to be able to relax knowing your pet is receiving the best care you could have found for them.
Don’t leave organising your pet’s accommodation until the last minute, as you might end up leaving them somewhere you don’t completely trust just so they will have somewhere to stay. Plan well in advance and visit as many kennels or catteries as you need to.
Exchange details before you leave your pet, and make sure you keep the centre’s details safe with you when you go away. You need to be available for contact in the event of an emergency, so keep your phone to hand at all times. Leaving your pet in a kennel or cattery can be a stressful time for some pets, especially if they have never been left before. Be prepared for the chance that you may have to collect your pet early, if they are struggling to cope.
There are alternatives to leaving your pet in a kennel or cattery. Contact your vet because in certain circumstances, they will provide accommodation for pets. You could also hire a pet sitter to stay at your home whilst you are away. Leaving them with friends or family may be an option, as long as they have enough time and patience to devote to them. Whatever you decide, think about everything from your pet’s perspective. Will they like the place you have chosen for them to stay? Do they get on with the people you have chosen to leave them with? If you have any doubts, search for somewhere else so that you know your pet is being left in the best place possible.