dog boarding facilities

Dog Boarding Facilities – The Typical Options

When it comes to needing a dog boarding facility you typically have a few different options. Understanding what each option can offer, how they operate and what rules they may have is likely to help dog owners decide on which option is right for them and their dog.

Dog Kennels

One option some dog owners look at is a local dog kennels. Whether this is a good option for your dog is likely to depend on their personality and what they are used to in the normal ‘home’ life. Each dog is different and some adapt to changes in their environment and routine better than others.

Pros of Dog Kennels

  • A dog kennels is often the cheapest option for owners with just one dog.
  • A local dog kennels will be licenced by the local council. The council should have inspected the kennels to determine that they are a safe and secure place to look after your pets. The kennels should display this licence at the premises. You should also be able to search your local council website for a list of current licenced dog boarders and kennels.
  • Dog kennels will often be licenced for a large number of dogs. This means they are more likely to have availability at short notice. However in many locations the demand for overnight dog care exceeds the supply. Customers are therefore advised to book as far in advance as possible, particularly at peak times.

Cons of Dog Kennels

  • Due to the large numbers of dogs within a kennel environment, viruses and conditions like kennel cough are more likely.
  • A dog kennels will insist that your dog is up to date with annual boosters. Ensure you know where your vaccination record is or get a replacement from your vet well before the booking is due to start.
  • Least like the ‘home from home’ feeling that most dogs are used to. Some dogs don’t cope well and get stressed when faced with such a big change to their routine.

Licenced Home Boarder

Another popular option for overnight dog care is to find a local licenced home boarder. These home boarders will often provide an environment that is more like the home life your dog is used to.

Pros of Home Boarder

  • Licenced by local council who should have carried out inspection and awarded a rating for the premises. This licence should be displayed in the premises.
  • The best home boarders do not leave pets at home for long periods so your dog will have lots of human company.
  • Typical home boarders will be licenced for a relatively low number of dogs, typically 1-6 dogs which is a good number and can be enjoyable for your dog if they are sociable and enjoy other dog’s company.

Cons of Home Boarder

  • Most home boarders will have even more rules regarding what dogs they accept than the local kennels. Like a kennels they will want to see proof of vaccination but also they will often refuse to take intact males or females who may come into season.
  • Though more like a home environment compared to a kennels, some dogs can still get stressed by such a change to their routine and change of surroundings.

It should be pointed out at this stage that there are a number of home boarders who are offering services without having a licence or insurance to do so. Many do so via agencies or apps like Rover. These companies claim they are merely a ‘platform’ and that the pet sitters are self employed, much like Uber try to do in the taxi business. They do this in order to avoid any obligations whilst creaming off a sizeable part of the booking fee. In America where Rover started there are lots of stories of pets who went missing, were abused or died in the care of Rover pet sitters. Professional pet sitters have insurance for a reason, pet owners need to ask if it’s worth the risk of handing over care of your pet to a stranger who is unable to provide a licence or insurance.

In some local authorities there is an exclusion for licencing where the person offering the service earns less than £1000.00 a year. In such cases it’s not considered to be carrying out a business. Again it’s for the owners to ask themselves if they are happy to leave their pets with a stranger who falls outside the normal regulations. Admittedly family members who look after our pets are also not insured or licenced but they are not strangers to us.

Live-In Dog Boarder

The final type of dog boarding facility is the one we offer at Premium Dog Walkers, namely live-in dog boarding. Because the activity takes place in your own home, live-in boarders would not have a council boarding licence. You should however expect them to have insurance to carry out the services they provide. It’s also wise to ask to see a DBS / CRB record since you are handing over a key to your property.

Pros of Live-in Boarders

  • Your dog feels most comfortable in their own home. Having a live-in boarder is the least stressful option. Not only is the environment very familiar to them but they also do not have to deal with meeting other dogs which is ideal if your dog can be reactive.
  • If you have an intact dog or a female in season, a live-in dog boarder might be your only option if you can’t rely on a family member.
  • Using a live-in dog boarder usually means your pets will get more undivided attention. Naturally this partially depends on how many dogs a home boarder is licenced for.
  • For customers with more than one dog or both dogs and cats, a live-in pet boarder will often work out cheaper than paying for that number of spaces at kennels and cattery or a licenced home boarder.

Cons of Live-in Boarders

  • Some owners would prefer not to have someone staying at their home.
  • Live-in boarders typically charge much more than licenced home boarders in our experience. Our rates seem to be much cheaper than others offering live-in dog boarding. Much will depend on how many pets you have.

With all overnight dog boarding services it’s our experience that demand for the service typically exceeds the supply, particularly at peak times. Since Covid some kennels went out of business. A number of licenced home boarders have decided to give up offering services due to the impact on their home life and the costs of licencing. Those that continue are often booked months in advance, even though they have often increased prices greatly to meet increases in costs.

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