trained to find signs of illness that friends and neighbors are not. Some signs of illness are quite difficult to
spot to the untrained eye. These include:
* lethargy - which can be mistaken for simply sleeping
* blood in the urine - it cannot be seen on the grass, and this can be a symptoms of urinary problems
* blood in the stools - most people don't think to check for this, and it can signify serious intestinal problems
Of course, choosing a facility where staff members are knowledgeable of current dog health developments is
important. Veterinarians are a good source of recommendations, and you can always phone the American Boarding
Kennels Association (719-667-1600) to see if a pet care center is accredited with them.
Here are some tips for choosing a dog kennel:
* Visit the prospective kennel. Is it clean, does it smell? Kennels should not smell, and they should not have any
parasites, dirt, or a build up of feces. They should be disinfected regularly, preferably with professional
disinfectants. This is particularly important as there have been outbreaks of an intestinal disease, called
parvovirus, since the late 1970's. Vaccines are available, but the general dog population doesn't yet have an
immunity to it. Sodium hypochloride bleaches at a concentration of 1:30 are effective in killing the virus, and a
boarding facility should be using this type of cleaner during regular, routine cleaning procedures.
* Some dog kennels have a policy where visitors are not allowed in the area where dogs are kept. This is generally
in the best interests of the pets, as people can bring in diseases and bacteria because they don't follow the same
stringent disinfecting that the staff are trained in. Another reason this practice is done is because some pets
react in a fearful or aggressive way toward strangers. This can lead to a dog injuring themselves or developing
intestinal problems. However, if a boarding facility has a 'no visitor' policy where the animals are kept, they
should at least have a viewing window so dog owners can see where their dogs would be housed.
* Phone a boarding kennel first to see if they can take your dog. They may be overbooked, or they may not be able to
take more specialized cases, such as very young puppies, or dogs on particular medications or feeding schedules. If
a facility can take a dog on a special diet, they may ask you to bring in a supply of the food for the duration of
your dog's visit. These sort of details will generally be covered before the time comes to drop off your dog. It's a
good idea to give the kennel your vet's name and phone number.
For more information on dog kennels, click here. Rebecca Prescott presents this site, for all things canine.