It’s holiday time! Tickets, passport, sun cream, plug adapters….. but what about your dog?

Most people do not or cannot take their dog away with them, and so where’s the best place for your fluffy loved ones? This came up in the Emerald office this week, as Steve the chairman has just changed his choice of kennels for the Emerald pooches Calvin and Jasper to the wonderful Pets World in Kent. Here they are at the dog kennels:

dog kennels

Of course we worry about our dogs when we go away, but travel is important for us all, and with the right arrangements, your dogs can have a lot of fun too. Remember that dogs need more than just a roof and food. Are they being kept happy? What about play and exercise? And what’s the right balance between rest and boredom? What to look for when searching for dog kennels near me?

So, you have a new dog or aren’t happy with your existing arrangements. Where do you start? Here are Emerald’s top five tips to maximise dog happiness and minimise human worry…

Get dog kennel recommendations

When it comes to the question of are dog kennels safe, there’s nothing better than hearing it from other people – either the good news or the bad news. It’s more than just looking at the accommodation. How did other people’s dogs seem when they got collected? How did the place look or feel? Did the staff seem pleased to be there?

Don’t leave dog boarding too late

 There are plenty of good kennels out there, but even more dogs. Places fill up fast for regular customers so leave yourself plenty of time to find the right kennels. Try to be nice to the staff and they’ll remember you. Some places – usually the better ones – want to meet your dog on a free trial to see if they are sociable. Make sure that your dog is already fed, exercised and happy before you go, so that they give the best impression. Places in any kennels are more scarce around school holidays and some kennels may have a minimum stay (which we personally think is awkward but business is business).

What do dog kennels need?

A good kennels will want to know quite a lot. Apart from checking that the dog looks healthy, they should ask to see your current pet insurance certificate, and they should also ask to see proper vaccination certificates. A good test of the kennels is whether they insist that if you don’t have the certificates your dog cannot stay. Remember, your dog may be fine but if the kennels show flexibility here it may mean that they may look after unvaccinated dogs. A proper kennels will go without the business rather than do that.

Is it a holiday for your dog?

You’d be surprised how many people don’t ask about the exercise regime – dogs are better walked little and often throughout the day, so that they can have a bit of a run then a bit of a rest. How are the dogs kept when they aren’t being exercised? Ask to have a look at the ‘rooms’. They should be properly private; sometimes a dog will get anxious if it can see another dog. And how does the dog kennel check up on the dogs when they aren’t being walked? Some have regular tours by the staff, some have CCTV. But the important thing is frequent checks.

How much are dog kennels?  And might it cost more?

A good dog kennels isn’t cheap, but then a cheap dog kennels may not be good.

Kennels will want payment up front, but food is usually included. Then there are optional extras such as grooming and sometimes training. The only other expense that might arise is if your return journey from holiday is delayed. A delayed return flight will mean extra cost. Make sure that your travel insurance covers any extra costs here (of course, Emerald’s travel policy does that, as we have an office of pet lovers!).

Lastly, don’t forget alternatives to kennels. If you have someone suitable, homesitters can work if you are okay with having someone in your house, or even giving them to a friend to look after (but you likely need very understanding friends). But with any option that you choose, it pays to do your homework.