Keeping Your Pets Happy and Safe when Boarding this Winter
As much as pet owners may want to take their furry or feathered friends with them wherever they go, sometimes you can’t take them with you and finding a kennel or pet care service you can trust is paramount. That’s why Better Business Bureau has created a checklist to help pet owners choose a safe and reliable home-away-from-home for their pets.
Every year, BBB receives hundreds of complaints from pet owners about kennels. To date, in 2011, BBB has received more than 400 complaints nationally over billing or treatment of the pet – which is up from the 273 complaints filed in 2010. These owners have claimed their pets came back from boarding kennels severely dehydrated and malnourished or rife with fleas, ticks, and even maggots. Worst-case scenarios include pets that became extremely ill while boarding at poor facilities, which resulted in lengthy stays at the animal hospital.
“It’s important to do your research and find a kennel you can trust,” said Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Metropolitan New York. “The last thing you want to do is to be stressed over their care while you’re away.”
If you are looking for a reliable kennel, BBB recommends the following checklist:
Check it out and get recommendations. Always check out the kennel with BBB at www.bbb.org first to make sure it has a good track record for keeping customers satisfied. Also ask your friends, neighbors, veterinarian or local animal shelters for recommendations.
Make a visit. Personally visit the facilities you are considering before scheduling the boarding. Check for cleanliness and offensive odors, and note the overall safety of the kennel and cages.
Ask lots of questions. If your pet is prone to running away, ask about steps the kennel has taken to make their facilities escape-proof. Ask about how your pet may come in contact with other animals. Some kennels let animals play together while others keep them separate at all times. Ask about the feeding schedule, water accessibility and frequency of – or any other fees, i.e. exercise. Ask about the hours for drop off and pick up and make sure you understand their billing policy terms and conditions. Finally, ask what happens in case of a medical emergency or other unexpected situation.
Go with your gut. Note the friendliness of staff members and how they interact with the boarded pets. Ask about their background and experience. If your state requires inspections, look for the certificate on the wall and make sure the kennel is properly licensed with the appropriate agency. Make sure the facility requires that all entering pets have proof of immunization, and ask about their policies regarding flea and tick control.