The holiday travel season is here and if you plan to board your pets while you’re out of town, BBB advises that you should always do your research to make sure your pet is with a safe and secure kennel while you’re gone.
Complaints to BBB about pet kennels and boarding facilities have more than doubled in the last five years. In 2006 alone, BBBs across the U.S. took in almost 500 complaints about kennels.
Some complaints to BBB include disputes over billing, but many focus on the actual treatment of the pet. Owners say their pets came back from some especially bad boarding kennels severely dehydrated and malnourished or rife with fleas, ticks, and even maggots. Worst case scenarios include pets that became extremely ill from their stay at poor facilities, with some having contracted conditions such as pneumonia, which resulted in lengthy stays at animal care facilities.
If you are considering a boarding kennel, BBB has the following advice to help you choose a safe and reliable home-away-from-home for your pet:
- Check the kennel out with BBB first at www.bbb.org/us to make sure they have a good track record for keeping customers satisfied and treating animals well.
- Ask your friends, neighbors, veterinarian or local animal shelters for recommendations. Also, the American Boarding Kennels Association’s Web site (www.abka.com) has a pet service locator that may be helpful in your search.
- Personally visit the facilities. Check for cleanliness and offensive odors, and note the overall safety of the kennel and cages.
- If your pet is prone to running away, ask about steps the kennel has taken to make their facilities escape-proof.
- If your state requires inspections, make sure the kennel is properly licensed.
- Ask about the feeding schedule, water accessibility and frequency of – or fees related to – exercise.
- Note the friendliness of staff members and how they interact with the other boarding pets. Ask about the staff’s background and experience.
- Make sure the facility requires that all entering pets have proof of immunization and ask about their policies regarding flea and tick control.
- Ask about the hours for drop-off and pick-up and make sure you understand their billing policy.
- Finally, ask what happens in the case of a medical emergency or other unexpected situations.
For more advice about keeping your pets safe, as well as reliable travel advice for the holidays, go to www.bbb.org/us.