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Finding the perfect dog








A boarding kennel can be just the right home away from home for your dog (or cat), providing him with quality care as well as peace of mind for you. Since it's so important to find the right kennel, we've provided some tips on choosing the boarding facility that's right for you and your pet. Best Friends provides the highest level of standards when it comes to your pet -- and if we're in your area, it's the perfect choice!

First, contact the facility that you are interested in. There are certain times of the year, particular during holidays and popular vacation times, when they simply won't have any availability... Best Friends boarding facilities, for instance, are very popular and can book up fast. Also, if your pet has any special needs or requires any special care, be sure to tell the facility so they can properly accommodate you.

With that finished, you can continue by evaluating the facility itself. This means a visit to, and tour of the facility. At Best Friends, we welcome such a visit and would love to show you around! Some people recommend that you visit unannounced, to see the conditions of their dog kennels, while others say that you should make an appointment. Obviously an unannounced visit will give you a more realistic view, but really the choice is up to you. If you do go unannounced and they don't want to give you a tour, that's a sign to scratch this one off your list -- with Best Friends, you will always be welcome.

Take your time when you're there and really check things out. Is there a current ABKA (American Boarding Kennel Association) membership plaque displayed somewhere? Does the facility appear pleasant and tidy? Keep in mind, though, that if you show up unannounced during cleaning time in the morning, things may be in a bit of disarray. If, however, you arrive in the afternoon and the cages and runs have yet to be cleaned, that's a bad sign. The facility should be properly ventilated and, if well sanitized, free of offensive odors. There should be no sign of animal feces or parasite infestation (fleas, ticks, flies). Be sure, too, to ask how frequently they clean.

Ask to see where your pet will sleep, play and be walked. The cages should appear to be of adequate size for the dogs and cats in them. They should also be free of sharp edges or exposed wire that could potentially catch a paw or collar, and the latches should seem sturdy. There should be solid dividers between each boarder, along with barriers between runs that are high enough to keep male dogs from urinating into adjacent runs, and surfaces should be able to provide good traction even when wet. Cats and dogs should be kept separately, with the cats as far away from the dogs as possible to minimize the stress of barking.

Find out how often pets are fed. They should be fed a high quality, name brand diet twice a day. You may, however, prefer to bring in your own food, so find out if this is possible. Also, each pet should have their own water bowl, and be sure to ask how often they are given water. Find out, too, how often and how long pets are exercised, particularly if cats are allowed any time out of their cage for exercise.

Be sure to observe the employees as well. Are they friendly and cooperative? Are they willing to take the time to answer your questions? Are they trained, caring and observant? Also notice how they interact with the other boarding pets. Do they take their time when handling them and treat them gently? Or do they appear hurried, impatient and in a rush? Be sure to ask if there is staff on premises 24 hours a day. Also be sure to observe the behavior of the other pets.

There are some additional health and safety issues that you should also inquire about. First, make sure that the facility requires that all entering pets have proof of immunizations, and you may want to find out what immunizations in particular they require. You'll also want to ask about their policies regarding flea and tick control and if they automatically give all leaving pets a flea bath or shower. Make sure, too, that there is adequate and appropriate supervision of your pet.

Employees should be trained to determine signs of distress and/or illness, and they should be regularly checking on your pet. Find out if there is a veterinarian on site or available and if they are certified, along with what procedures are taken if a pet appears ill or refuses to eat. Be certain that they maintain appropriate temperatures in their facilities, and if they're heated or air-conditioned if needed. If you don't see any sort of fire system, ask about it. Is the building fire alarmed directly to a local fire station? Are there established escape routes in case of fire or other emergency? Also see whether there are adequate locks and secure fencing for keeping your pet safe, and if all areas in general are free of sharp objects, small objects that can be swallowed, and harmful chemicals.

Once you've selected the best dog kennel (boarding facility) for you and your pet, there are a few things that you can do to make his stay a little better. Bring a familiar blanket or favorite toy. These items will have your smell on it and remind your pet of home. Be sure, however, to first run this by the facility. Also be sure to label any items that go with your pet, though be prepared for the possibility that they might not necessarily come home with him. Provide the staff with all necessary medications and instructions, along with contact numbers and your veterinarian's name and number. When you do drop your pet off, hold your emotions in check. Make the farewell short and sweet so that he doesn't pick up on or get upset about your own feelings of sadness or nervousness.











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