AUSTIN, Texas — After 75 dogs died in a fire at Ponderosa Pet Resort in Georgetown late Saturday night, you might be wondering what ways you can make sure your dog is as safe as possible the next time you board it.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) says it takes “careful research” to find the best boarding option for your dog or pet.
When searching for the best “home-away-from-home” experience for your furry friend, AKC has a list of steps to start the process of finding a good kennel and what features to look out for once you get there.
Here’s a rundown of what you should take into account before boarding your pet at an overnight facility:
Schedule a visit
According to AKC, you should always schedule a visit for you and your dog at the kennel “well in advance.” AKC also recommends owners ask veterinarians, groomers, dog-owning friends or neighbors for recommendations.
Secure and sanitary conditions
When visiting a boarding facility, AKC says to make sure there are “adequate, securely-fenced exercises areas” and sleeping areas that are on non-slip surfaces.
AKC also recommends making sure harmful chemicals are secure in the facility. It suggests making sure you are able to visit all the areas your dog will have access to.
Observe and meet the caretakers
AKC says it is important to watch how the people who work at the facilities treat the pets staying there. Specifically, how many dogs does each caretaker watch at one time, how long does your dog get to exercise, are dogs allowed to interact with each other and how often are they taken out to go the bathroom?
In case of an emergency, AKC says it is important to know whether or not the kennel has an evacuation plan. It recommends finding out if there is staff at the facility 24 hours a day.
Also, find out the protocol for if your pet specifically has a healthcare emergency that requires medication or veterinary services. AKC says the pet care provider should be certified in pet first-aid.
Find out if the facility is certified
Commercial dog boarding kennels can be certified or members of professional organizations. Two examples of professional organizations are the International Boarding & Pet Services Association (IBPSA) and National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.
To find if the kennel is certified, you can ask to see a Voluntary Facilities Accreditation certificate. Also, the Professional Animal Care Certification Council offers “high-quality independent certification.” Its website has a list of certified groups and individuals.
Questions to ask while visiting a kennel
- Is the drinking water fresh?
- Is the facility temperature controlled?
- What is the ventilation system?
- How much does the boarder cost? Are there any cancelation policies or fees if you’re late to pick up your dog?
- What immunizations are required?
- Does the kennel screen for fleas and ticks?
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