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Dog boarding: How to find the right one for you

An important operation or a business trip can't be put off? Perhaps a diving holiday has always been your dream? As much as you as a dog owner would like to adapt your life to your four-legged friend, it doesn't always work out without help. We explain what you should look for when choosing a dog boarding if no one in your family or circle of friends can take your dog in.

Find a dog boarding: Here's what you should look out for

Dog boarding kennels are not the first address for most people who want to accommodate their pet lovingly: Unknown carers, a lot of hustle and bustle with numerous other dogs - it seems pre-programmed that your own furry nose will get the short end of the stick. Most dog owners therefore prefer friends and relatives or an already known dog sitter for dog care.

Unfortunately, there are black sheep everywhere, even among boarding kennel operators. To find a trustworthy dog boarding kennel, it's best to look at other people's experiences, reviews and a visit on site:

  • Experience and reviews:
At best, you have acquaintances who can recommend a good dog boarding facility nearby. If you do your own research, the reviews and experiences of others are often a good help in making a judgement.
  • A visit to the dog hotel:
Who would leave their loyal companion to complete strangers? Therefore, make an appointment with the care provider of your choice and take a close look at everything on site. Often you can or even should bring your dog with you to get to know each other. Ask all the questions that are important to you - this is the best way to get a good overall impression.

This is what you should look out for:

To help you find a boarding kennel that really cares for your dog with love and heart, we have summarised the most important 15 points of a good dog boarding kennel:

Dog boarding: This is what you should look out for

  • Size of the dog boarding:

The size of the dog hotel initially says nothing about the quality of care. While a small boarding house can accommodate fewer animals, but your pet has family contact and can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere, a larger facility often offers more space, area and activity opportunities for dogs. For example, some operators run a dog school or a dog day care centre on the side - at best, the infrastructure is correspondingly good. Ultimately, however, the size of the dog boarding should suit the character of your four-legged friend.

  • Carer:

For the most individual care possible for your pet, a low care ratio is optimal: one carer for every five dogs is a very good ratio. It is also ideal if you can get to know the carers a little during your visit.

  • Group size:

Larger dog boardings often consist of several groups. The smaller the groups, the more intensive the care. Ask quietly what criteria are used to put the groups together. Individual care may also be offered, e.g. for females in heat.

  • Handling with frail animals:

How good are the care capacities when older or chronically ill animals need to be cared for? Is individual care possible? If so, under what conditions?

  • Cleanliness and smell:

Is the accommodation clean or does it smell unpleasant? When so many dogs come together, hygiene is the key.

  • Accommodation:

What are the premises like? Where do the dogs sleep? Accommodation in a kennel is an absolute exclusion criterion for most. Ideally, guests should have at least one room inside (depending on the size of the dog hotel) and enough room to run around outside.

  • Dog run:

How much space is available for the dogs outside? Is the area securely fenced? Does the boarding house possibly even have a course or other highlights? Also ask how many hours a day the animals are allowed outside.

  • Employment and daily routine:

What does a typical daily routine in the dog hotel look like? Is there a big walk several times a day? Are there activities and dog toys? Is there possibly even time for a little dog training? Here you can already check whether the dog boarding suits your pet.

  • Handling the animals:
During your visit, you can experience caretakers and animals together and get an impression of how they interact with each other. Are the animals cared for lovingly or is the interaction rather impersonal and distant? Observational skills and your gut feeling play an important role here.
  • Food:

What food do the animals get or can you bring your own? It should go without saying that you should be able to cater to your wishes when feeding your dog - especially if your dog needs special food.

  • Medical care:

Check in detail how medical care is provided in an emergency. What agreements are made in this regard? The key data on this should be recorded in the care contract.

  • Costs:

What are the costs for accommodation, for a few days or a week? Are the prices possibly staggered? Which price model would be suitable for you?

  • Prerequisite for admission:

A reputable dog boarding will only take your dog if it meets certain requirements, for example that it is socially acceptable, chipped and vaccinated.

  • Care contract:

Ask for a blank contract from the dog hotel and read through everything at home. Questions will probably come to mind that you can clarify once more.

  • Settling in:

During your on-site visit, you can also ask how the acclimatisation process works. As a rule, several appointments or at least one trial weekend are arranged to see whether your four-legged friend feels comfortable and whether outside care is possible at all. For some four-legged friends, for example, the pain of separation is simply too great or the hustle and bustle among other dogs is too much.

After your first visit, you can listen to yourself again: Did everything work out for you? Were all the questions answered to your satisfaction? Or were there points that made you feel uncomfortable? In such a case, you can ask again - maybe your uneasiness can be clarified. Does scepticism or anticipation prevail on your four-legged friend during the second visit? This reaction is also a valuable aid to decision-making.

Our tip: For a deeper insight into the daily life of a dog boarding, you can also drop by unannounced. Admittedly, many owners are not thrilled about this, as such a visit both causes disturbance and disrupts their private life at home - but they are understanding. A second option is social media: have a look at the pictures, posts and comments - you will also get an impression of the dog boarding and the work done there.

What distinguishes a dog boarding?

A dog boarding takes pets into temporary care when a pet owner cannot look after their pet for a short time. A dog hotel or boarding kennel specifically looks after dogs only, a cat boarding accordingly only cats. The operators of such a facility must at least provide proof of competence according to §11 of the Animal Welfare Act and thus prove that they are able to care for the animals in a manner appropriate to their species. They must also have themselves and their premises inspected by the veterinary office. Some operators are not only passionate dog lovers, but also have appropriate training, (e.g. animal caretakers). In small dog boarding facilities, the dogs often have family contact and live together with their own and guest dogs under one roof in a family atmosphere.

Conclusion: A dog boarding should suit the four-legged friend and the dog owner - after all, it's not every day that you put your pet in someone else's hands. Trust plays a big role here. It is therefore perfectly legitimate to put the dog boarding through its paces. Once you have found the right dog hotel, you can consider yourself lucky. What are your experiences with dog boarding - do you have any other tips? Or do you prefer to go on holiday with your dog? We are curious!

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