Choosing Boarding Kennels for Your Pet

by Angela Hickey | 3 min read   June 25th, 2019

Holiday time is here again and it’s important to plan who will take care of your pet as you head away on your holidays! There are a couple of options to consider.

A Lending Hand

You may have a friend, neighbour, or family member who is willing to take care of your pet. Check that they realise the commitment they are taking on and that you feel satisfied that all of your pet’s needs will be met. Another option is a professional pet sitter who will stay in or visit your home, or mind your pets in their own home. Look for recommendations and references from other happy customers.

Professional Services

Boarding kennels or Pet Hotels are becoming more popular. Consider the following points to help choose the right one for your pet:

Book early: to be sure you will get a place, especially for peak times. Start by looking up different websites and getting a sense of what is on offer. You may also get recommendations from your local vet, dog trainer, or other pet owners. Make a shortlist of places and visit them. If they are unwilling to give you a tour of the place, it may be best to find another option.

Trust your gut feelings as you look around the facility. Look at the pets there - are they happy and stress free? Is the place clean and odour free? Are the staff genuinely friendly and interested to hear about your pet?

Ask what the staff to pet ratio is. It’s best to have a ratio no more than 1:10. Also check that there is someone on the premises at all times.

Girl walking dogs on leads

Ask about their daily routines for feeding, exercise, and play and explain about any special needs your pet may have. Some dogs will not do well mixing with other dogs for communal play and may need more regular, individual walks.

Check that each dog has their own individual indoor space with a comfortable bed and food and water dishes. If you have more than one dog, see if they can stay together. They will also need access to an outdoor run for toileting and movement.

Cats will become stressed if they meet or even see unfamiliar cats so should definitely have their own private kennel space, ideally with shelves or ledges, toys and food dishes at different heights so that they can climb and play.

Consider how secure the facility is. Does it have double doors between inside and out, good high fencing all around play areas, etc.?

Familiarise yourself with the company’s emergency policy.

Ask if there is strict adherence to full vaccination for all pets at least 2 weeks prior to admission. This prevents the spread of disease, especially Kennel Cough in dogs and Cat Flu in cats. Also check for a requirement for flea and tick prevention prior to admission.

Man looking at certificates

Leaving Your Pet

When you’ve chosen the option that best suits your needs and your pet’s, there are a few things that can be helpful to consider.

Leave your vet’s contact details along with your own or an alternative contact’s so they can get in touch with someone if necessary.

If your pet has any long-term illness or is on current medication provide an adequate supply of medication in the labelled containers provided by your vet.

If your pet has any temperament or behavioural problems in their interactions with people or other pets make sure to explain this to their temporary care-giver.

Supplying your pet’s own food can help avoid tummy upsets from a change in diet.

Woman feeding cat cat food

Leave a favourite toy or blanket with your pet for comfort.

Check the times when you can drop off and collect your pet and, on collection, get details of how they adapted and any issues that arose.

Good research can lead to a good boarding experience for your pet, helping you to make the most of your trip away with peace of mind, now and in the future.


This guidance is for general information purposes only.


Did You Know?

Allianz Pet insurance covers:

  • A boarding kennel, cattery, or pet minder’s fees  when you have to be hospitalised for more than 4 days*
  • Cancellation of travel and accommodation if you have to cancel your holiday because your pet needs immediate life-saving surgery due to an illness or injury up to 7 days before you leave*
  • Travel expenses if you have to cut your holiday short because your pet goes missing or requires life-saving surgery*

*Policy limits apply.Information accurate as of June 2019.

For full details and exclusions and to learn more about Allianz Pet Insurance, check the policy document.

Allianz p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Standard acceptance criteria and policy conditions apply.


Information correct as of date of publishing. This blog will not be updated or edited so the information may become outdated.

Angela Hickey
Allianz in-house vet and qualified psychotherapist.