05 December 2014 | Life with your best friend

To kennel or not?

To kennel or not to kennel?

So you’re exciting about your impending holiday, but you’re not sure what to do with your furry family member. Why not send him on his own holiday, and consider kennelling him? As with any break from routine, it’s important to do your research and be prepared so here are some tips to make putting your dog in kennels a breeze.

A few months prior to your holiday

  • Start researching kennels in your area months in advance. Kennels get booked up really quickly and you want to make sure you are 100% happy with your choice.
  • Scout out a few options before you book; ask questions with regards to routine, exercise hygiene, meal times and what they do in case of fights, problem dogs or highly stressed dogs. Make sure there is an open area for play, plenty of shade, and access to fresh water at all times.
  • If you are concerned, do a practice run and book your dog in for a few nights so that he (and more importantly, you) can get used to being away from home.
  • Make sure all vaccinations are up to date, he is dewormed, and is flea and tick-free. The kennels will ask for a copy of the vaccination card.


Drop Off

  • Don’t wait until late in the day to drop your dog off. Rather do it earlier in the day so he can get used to the new environment before night time.
  • You might wish to take your dog’s own bedding, and a few toys. This leaves your scent behind which can be reassuring for the dog.
  • Take enough food (depending on the kennel’s policy) in clearly marked containers, and any medication your dog might be taking (again, clearly marked).
  • Arrive with your dog on a lead, in case you are met by an aggressive dog, or your dog acts out.
  • The other dogs will bark and surround yours in a pack mentality. Don’t stress. They are just introducing themselves to the newcomer. Once he has been accepted by the pack, things will settle down pretty quickly.
  • Remain calm at all times. Your dog will pick up on any stress and will start to feel anxious himself.
  • Don’t prolong the farewell – it will just stress you and your dog out. Be cheerful but firm. Say goodbye, give him a pat and leave. Chances are the farewell will be much harder on you than it is on your pooch.


  • You might be overjoyed at the thought of seeing your dog again after being apart for a few days/weeks. But try not to make too much of a fuss. Firstly, you don’t want to disrupt the kennel’s routine too much, and secondly, your dog will be overjoyed to see you and you won’t want an over-excited dog coming home with you.
  • Don’t be surprised if it takes a few days for your dog to adjust being back at home. Any change in routine can be unsettling for him. Just remain calm, go about your routine, and things will be back to normal pretty quickly.

Most pet owners are concerned their dogs will be extremely stressed when put in kennels. Just make sure you pick one you are happy with, and rest assured, your dog will be perfectly fine. Dogs are highly sociable animals and will enjoy the company and stimulation of the other dogs. The experience will most likely be more difficult for you than it will be for your pet.  So, do your research early, plan ahead, drop your dog off, and enjoy your holiday!

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