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Council of Better Business Bureaus ®
Start With Trust®
Council of Better Business Bureaus
Keeping Your Pets Happy and Safe when Boarding this Holiday Season
December 08, 2011
When you can’t take your pet with you, finding a kennel or pet care service you can trust is paramount. The Better Business Bureau created a checklist to help owners choose a reliable home-away-from-home for their pets.

As much as pet owners may want to take their furry or feathered friends with them where ever they go, sometimes you can’t take them with you and finding a kennel or pet care service you can trust is paramount. That’s why the Better Business Bureau has created a checklist to help pet owners choose a safe and reliable home-away-from-home for their pets.

Every year, BBB receives hundreds of complaints from pet owners about kennels. To date, in 2011, BBB has received more than 400 complaints arguing disputes over billing, and over the treatment of the pet – which is up from the 273 complaints filed in 2010.  Owners say their pets came back from poor boarding kennels severely dehydrated and malnourished or rife with fleas, ticks, and even maggots.  Worst-case scenarios include pets that became extremely ill while boarding at poor facilities which resulted in lengthy stays at the animal hospital.
“Our pets are like family and the last thing we want to do is stress over their care during the holiday season,” said Katherine Hutt, BBB spokesperson. “Take a few moments to do your research and find a kennel you can trust so your time out of town will be easier for you and your pet.”

If you are looking for a reliable kennel, the BBB recommends the following checklist:

    • Check them out and get recommendations. Always check out the kennel with BBB at first to make sure they have a good track record for keeping customers satisfied. Also ask your friends, neighbors, veterinarian or local animal shelters for recommendations.


    • Make a visit. Personally visit the facilities you are considering before scheduling the boarding. Check for cleanliness and offensive odors, and note the overall safety of the kennel and cages.


    • Ask lots of questions. If your pet is prone to running away, ask about steps the kennel has taken to make their facilities escape-proof. Ask about how your pet may come in contact with other animals. Some kennels let animals play together while others keep them separate at all times. Ask about the feeding schedule, water accessibility and frequency of – or fees related to – exercise. Ask about the hours for drop off and pick up and make sure you understand their billing policy. Finally, ask what happens in case of a medical emergency or other unexpected situation.


  • Go with your gut. Note the friendliness of staff members and how they interact with the boarded pets. Ask about their background and experience. If your state requires inspections, look for the certificate on the wall and make sure the kennel is properly licensed. Make sure the facility requires that all entering pets have proof of immunization, and ask about their policies regarding flea and tick control.