As much-loved members of the family, pets would ideally accompany us on our holidays. Of course, this is not always possible and most of us will therefore require the services of a boarding service for our pets at some point. This week we take a look at some of the practical considerations involved in choosing a cattery, kennel or pet hotel.
In the UK, the local Council must license all boarding establishments for pets and a valid licence must be on display. An annual inspection ensures that kennels comply with current regulations relating to pen size, hygiene, feeding and general standards of care – however, it’s worth bearing in mind that the requirement is only for a kennel or cattery to meet minimum standards of care. You will therefore want to visit and compare several different options in order to reassure yourself that your pet will be well cared for in your chosen kennel or cattery – it’s a good idea to visit unannounced during normal working hours so you can get a feel for how the place is run.
On your visit, ask lots of questions and look closely at the pens – it’s important that you feel comfortable leaving your pet in the care of the people that you meet. Subjects you may wish to cover might include:
- Does the building look well maintained and secure?
- How many staff are on site, and how much time do they spend daily with each guest?
- How often will you be updated about your pet whilst you are away?
- Are the pens clean and draught-free?
- Is the sleeping area heated in winter / air-conditioned in summer?
- What arrangements are in place for pets to exercise?
- Do the pets staying at the time of your visit look content and well fed?
- If your pet requires medication or a special diet, how is this managed?
- What is the procedure for providing veterinary care, if required?
Reputable establishments will insist on all residents being up to date with their vaccinations, so expect to be asked for your pet’s current vaccination record. If you are not asked about this, the chances are that other guests have not been vaccinated either, and there is a risk that disease and infection may be transmitted between residents. We believe that using a cattery or kennel where these standards are not enforced is simply not worth the potential risk to your pet’s health.
Those of you with small furries may find a good pet hotel in your area that can take good care of your rabbit, guinea pig, hamster or gerbil whilst you’re away. The same recommendations apply, in terms of visiting to see for yourself that conditions are clean and the place is well run. If you are planning to board rabbits, you should ensure that your pets’ VHD and myxomatosis vaccinations are up to date, and the boarding hotel should always ask to see the certificate. Most smaller pet boarding establishments house rabbits and guinea pigs in the hutches provided on site, whilst smaller rodents would be housed in their own cage, minimising their disruption and stress.
Ultimately, as with most things, the best way to find trusted pet care services is through recommendation – ask your family, friends, social media contacts and fellow dog-walkers which local places they use. Search online for kennels and catteries in your area and check their reviews. If they have a Facebook page you will be able to get a good feel for their approach, as well as reading feedback from clients.
You might find Find Pet Boarding a helpful place to start.
Until next time, best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support
Please note: The Ralph Site is not affiliated with the third-party organisations in any of the links shared here, and the views, ideas and suggestions expressed in this and other blogs are simply shared with the intention of helping you, our friends, take care of the special animals in your lives.