Kenneling Your Pet


There are many varieties of kennels available to board your pet, from barebones to five-star fancy. Remember that the trimmings are mainly meant for owners since pets don’t really care about the look of their sleeping quarters. The most important thing about picking a good kennel is the safety and cleanliness of the facility, and the competence and friendliness of the staff.


  • Your first step is to visit the kennel you plan to board your pet in. This will give you a chance to ask questions and check out the facilities. You’ll feel more comfortable leaving your pet there while you’re gone if you are satisfied with the answers to your questions and the set-up of the kennel.
  • Not just the cages and runs, but the entire kennel should look and smell clean inside and out. Sanitary conditions are very important to prevent the spread of contagious disease. The animals already boarding there should also appear clean and taken care of. The area where pets are walked should be routinely cleaned, leaving it moderately free of feces.
  • A dog’s need for exercise is important, but varies on the dog. Kennels should have a set schedule for walking the animals. Find out how often and how long the kennel exercises the boarders and if they’re permitted to wander and play free in an enclosed area. If you would like, many kennels offer extra exercise time daily at an additional charge. This is an excellent option if your dog is very active.
  • Inside the facility, there should be a variety of sizes of runs and cages adequate for all types of dogs and cats. Every cat should be boarded in his or her own cage and not have contact with other cats. They should have a room separate from boarding dogs so they don’t get stressed by the sight, smell, or sound of them. Indoor lighting should be adequate, especially if no natural light is available. The air should smell clean, not stagnant, and there should be proper ventilation. Stagnant air can significantly increase the chance of disease transmission.
  • ***Cats are a little more difficult to provide stimuli to since they can’t be walked. Many kennels have cages especially for cats that provide levels to climb and perch on. Sometimes kennels even provide scratching posts or carpeted areas. These will make her stay a bit more comfortable.
  • It’s good to know about how many animals are usually boarding at the facility at once, and how many staff members are usually there to take care of them. With many staff member and fewer animals, the pets are more likely to get extra attention.
  • Ask the staff about how a sudden illness or injury is handled and treated. Sometimes boarding facilities have association with certain veterinarians, and sometimes a veterinarian’s office has a boarding facility attached. If you prefer a specific veterinarian, communicate that with the kennel owner/manager.
  • If your pet is taking medication, make sure the kennel staff is able to administer it as often as needed. Sometimes kennels don’t have the hours or staff needed to medicate your pet properly.
  • Many kennels offer grooming as well. Consider getting your pet groomed the day before, or the day of, their scheduled departure. It’s always nice to pick up your pet when they are feeling and smelling fresh and clean.


  • Let the kennel know if your pet has a medical problem they are currently being treated for. This way you’ll know if they are comfortable boarding your pet, and they can keep an eye on them. All pets that are to be boarded should be healthy and free of contagious diseases. This keeps the other pets and the staff safe.
  • A kennel may need you to get your pet a health certificate from your veterinarian. They should always require proof of your pet’s most recent vaccinations, either through a phone call or a print out.
  • If your pet is a carrier of parasites like fleas or worms, they should be treated for it before coming to the kennel or at the time they board the kennel.
  • ALWAYS make sure you are aware of the required vaccinations the facility you plan to board. Some kennels require different vaccines, so don’t assume that your pet’s current vaccines meet every facility’s requirements.
  • Most kennels require canine DHLPP yearly and kennel cough (bordetella) vaccinations every six months. The requirement for the rabies vaccine is according to the law in your state.
  • Most kennels require feline FVRCP vaccinations to be given either every year or every three years. The requirement for the rabies vaccine is according to the law in your state.


  • If your pet needs a special diet, communicate this with the kennel staff and even write down feeding instructions for them. Either way it’s best to bring in your pet’s own food. An abruptly changed diet can cause stomach upset and diarrhea, especially combined with the stress of a new environment.
  • Some cats can be disinclined to use a new kind of litter, so it may be a good idea to bring in their usual type if they are especially nervous in strange environments.
  • Ask the kennel if it’s alright to bring in a special bed or favorite toy for your pet. Sometimes, familiar items can make your pet a bit more comfortable.
  • Make sure you give the kennel several contact numbers in case of an emergency. After you provide the main number you can be reached at while you’re away, give them a friend or relatives number. Make sure they are someone you’re comfortable with making emergency decisions if needed. Talk to your other contacts about your preferences in possible emergency situations before you leave. Whether the kennel has their own veterinarian or not, provide them with your preferred veterinarians number. This is especially handy if your pet has any previous or ongoing medical issues.
  • While boarding, your pet should keep getting any medication they get regularly at home. Don’t forget to bring the medication with your pet to the kennel. Let the kennel know what the issue is and write down any specific instructions if needed.

Kenneling Your Pet