No matter what, any environment is remarkably different from being at home. Your dog undergoes an experience similar to when you go to new surroundings by yourself; sometimes you’re going to be worried, even if a place seems perfectly fine. Even the best Kennels in North Wales or even the world can be intimidating at first.
It’s no huge secret that the way that humans and dogs think really aren’t that different, therefore it’s simply natural for your dog to worry and to be concerned. This can often affect the owner’s conscience to the extent where the owner will pay an extortionate amount of money for a “luxury dog hotel” or similar, in the belief that the experience will be better for their dog the more they spend. Sadly, in most cases, that’s completely false. It doesn’t matter whether or not your dog stays in a “hotel” or a kennel — stress is stress and in the worst scenario, an owner’s guilt and worry can mean that an owner can spend a fortune on an experience that’s just as terrible for their dog as their worst nightmare.
Never fear though. There are things that can be done and steps that can be taken to minimise the stress that your dog will experience as part of staying in a kennel.
Make sure your kennel of choice asks for proof about vaccination histories.
The most important tip we can provide is to make sure that the kennel you’ve selected asks for proof of your dog’s vaccination history. If the kennel doesn’t ask — or if they say that vaccination history is unimportant, they’re breaking the law under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and are risking the lives of whoever stays with them.
Reputable Kennels ascertain proof of vaccination from every dog that stays with them, and in return are more than happy to show their licence credentials. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Visit the kennels beforehand.
While it can be disconcerting for an owner to see a kennel with their own eyes (especially if the owner feels guilty over leaving a dog in an unfamiliar environment while they go on holiday) we suggest that a kennel needs to be seen before an animal is dropped there. If an environment is unsatisfactory, it’s not like your dog can do anything to change it- so seeing an environment with your own eyes is very important.
If your kennel of choice doesn’t allow you to survey the environment in which they’ll keep your dog, or seem disconcerted at the thought of doing so, we suggest finding another kennel.
That also applies to kennels which may allow you to see the yard, the grounds, but not the area in which the dog will sleep. A good kennel should show you absolutely everything. Look out for the obvious. Chewed, tattered beds and toys indicate bored animals. Confined, enclosed and dark spaces aren’t ethical. Bad smells indicate that the staffing is either poor or insufficient. Negligence is negligence, deliberate or not.
While you’re there, take a written or typed list of your dog’s ailments, medications, food-intake, and other requirements to the kennels ahead of time for the staff to familiarise themselves with your dog’s needs.
Take a few day’s supply of food with you when you drop your dog off.
Stress usually goes straight to a dog’s bowels, and accidents are certainly common when a dog feels sufficiently worried. As we’ve already established, your dog will feel stressed and will feel worried for at least the first few days of his or her stay, and in regard to accidents… whatever will be will be. And then it’ll be cleaned up.
What doesn’t help is aggravating the situation by introducing a change to your dog’s diet. We highly recommend giving us a few days worth of your dog’s usual food, so we can introduce our own slowly, to prevent any avoidable discomfort.
Take items made of natural fabric that smell of you to the kennel with your dog.
If you can remember first meeting your dog as a puppy, you might recall possibly being given a blanket that smelled of the dog’s mother and siblings by the breeder, intended to help the transition of your dog’s first few days with you in his or her new home. The idea was that when your dog felt worried, they would be comforted by familiar smells on the blanket. The same concept applies here — sometimes reminders of what your dog knows can be comforting, at least until your dog establishes that everything’s okay.
Allow plenty of time to deliver your dog to the kennels when the day comes.
No doubt you can remember at least one time where you’ve been behind on something and been a little frazzled, and your dog’s made it worse by choosing that particular time to follow you around and start demanding your attention.
Your dog isn’t trying to make your day worse… Your dog notices that you’re stressed. Therefore, they will follow you around, to see what you’re stressed about – to see if there’s any danger or concern that they can help with. Perhaps that one cat that keeps getting into the garden is giving you grief and deserves barking at. Perhaps it’s the postman. Your dog’s never trusted the postman. (Of course it isn’t, but dogs are, by their nature, pack animals. If a dog notices that you’re stressed, he or she will take on your stress as part of his or her own.) Don’t give your dog additional stress by not planning ahead and accordingly – stay calm, stay collected, and allow yourself plenty of time to get things done. And turn the experience positive! Your dog is going on holiday too!
We hope that the following list has helped identify a few things that will help your dog feel more at home while you go on holiday. We understand that the separation can be trying for both dog and owner, with lots of dog owners confessing that they haven’t had a foreign holiday in years because they’ve worried about leaving the dog with anyone the dog themselves doesn’t know. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. Most kennels care very much about every animal that comes through their doors, and strive to provide a good, safe place for every pet that is placed in their care. It’s just all about finding the right one.