Dog-kennels are everywhere in the country. That’s no surprise: according to PDSA, 26% of the UK population have a dog - that’s a whopping 9.9 million dogs! Those facilities are a perfect way to get your furry friend cared for when you’re away for a couple of days or several weeks at a time. But are they all the same? What should you look for to make sure you choose the best one? Keep reading to find out!
What are dog kennels?
They are facilities that house and take care of dogs during their owners’ absence. They are sometimes called boarding kennels to set them apart from breeding kennels. They are made up of one or several buildings and have an outdoor area that is sometimes equipped with a playground.
Dogs are housed in large cages and are let out a couple of times a day. More upscale facilities feature indoor and outdoor playgrounds, sleeping areas with dog beds and fenced-in areas in which dogs can roam freely. Just like in a dog daycare, those places also offer one-on-one play time and fun activities to help dogs set into their new routine. They might even have a so called "Dog kennel and run".
In the UK, dog kennels have to comply with the standards set out in the Animal Boarding Establishments Act. Licenses are issued by local councils after the owners have demonstrated that the animals they keep live in suitable conditions, are fed as required, and enjoy regular exercises and check-ups.
Dog-kennels must also have a public liability insurance and an employers liability insurance if there is staff.
Finding a great dog kennel
Choosing the right dog kennel near you should never be left to chance. You have to make sure that your dog will be safe and looked after in the best possible way. The place you choose should also match with your dog’s needs and habits. If he needs or is used to running a lot during the day, you need to find a kennel with an outdoor area and staff that will take your dog for walks several times a day.
It makes sense to ask to see how dogs are accommodated and to visit the shared and outdoors areas. The outdoors areas must be fenced-in to allow dogs to run and play without jeopardising their safety.
The space where your dog will sleep must comply with the legal standards: the floor space has to be 2.5m² for dogs under 40-55 cm at the shoulder and 5m² for dogs over 55 cm at the shoulder. Please bear in mind that those are the minimum sizes.
The law also requires dog-kennels to protect dogs against extreme weather conditions. The temperature should never be below 10° and never more than 26°. Hygiene must also be impeccable. You should also be able to see the emergency evacuation plan.
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Dog kennel vaccination rules
Any trustworthy dog-kennels will require dogs to be vaccinated and dewormed before boarding. If this is not a requirement in the facility you have been considering, walk away. The more dogs there are in a single place, the greater the risk to propagate diseases: vaccinations are not a subject to be taken lightly.
Some dog-kennels also demand dogs to be vaccinated against kennel cough and to be up to date in the treatment against parasites such as fleas. Again, this is common sense as there is nothing fleas like best than a large group of dogs.
How much do dog kennels cost?
The cost depends on the location, the level of comfort, your dog’s size and the length of your dog’s stay. For the average kennel, you can expect to pay £18 per day. The price per day doesn’t include food: you either have to provide it or it will be supplied at an extra charge. You may also have fees for giving medicines or taking your dog on extra walks.
Most facilities offer discounted prices if you board several dogs at the same time. You can be asked to pay a non-refundable deposit at certain times of year when the demand for dog boarding is high.