Tuesday Tips: Choosing a Kennel
I knew I had to find a new kennel when, after a week's vacation, I went to retrieve my dog and they brought out the wrong pooch. Amused, I explained that he was brown and white with sweet eyes and floppy ears. Again, the wrong dog came out. I went through this a few more times, enough to make it not so funny anymore. I've since found a great kennel, one that actually knows my dog's name as I walk through the door even though he's only there a few times a year. Here's what I learned in my search:
Tip #1: Ask friends who have pets to recommend a kennel. Word of mouth is truly important here. It's on the same level as asking for recommendations of doctors. Also look at magazines like Checkbook and Washingtonian, two that rate local kennels. And run any names through the Better Business Bureau.
Tip #2: Once you've narrowed down your list, pay each kennel an unannounced visit and ask for a tour. Just make sure you go while the place is open. Some kennels shut their doors to the public during certain times of the day so they can care for their furry guests. And some don't even allow visitors. If so, they should at least have a window looking in on where the pets are kept.
Tip #3: Take note of how the place smells. You want it to smell clean or not smell at all. You also want to look for strong dividers between the animals if they are housed in runs or cages. You especially want dividers where they'll be sleeping so they won't be antagonized by their neighbors during the night. Check the exercise area. Make sure there's a high-enough fence or walls to prevent breakouts.
Tip #4: If you're looking at a pet daycare facility, which takes pets during the day when you're at work, ask how pets are grouped together. You want them to place certain personalities and sizes together rather than lumping all the pets together.
Tip #5: Ask the kennel what they do if there's a medical emergency. Some kennels have a vet attached to the kennel but most have a relationship with a nearby facility. And others will use the pet's own vet.
Tip #6: Be prepared to show documentation of your pet's vaccines. The Pet Care Services Association says dogs that stay in kennels should be vaccinated for rabies, distemper, parvovirus and bordetella, as well as hepatitis, leptospirosis and parainfluenza. They also recommend that cats have rabies, panleukopenia or distemper, feline rhinotracheitis, calici virus and pneumonitis vaccines.
Tip #7: Find out the kennel's policy on bedding. Many, including mine, don't let you bring your dog or cat's bed for fear of spreading fleas. If your pet is particular about what they lie on at night, you might need to find a kennel that allows the pet's bedding to come in with them. Some kennels may wash your pet's bedding before it's placed in the sleeping area.
Tip #8: Dogs need exercise, cats not so much. So look for long cages, also known as runs, where dogs will have enough room to do some laps. Cats simply need an enclosure big enough to allow them to stretch and move around.
Tip #9: Go easy on the extra services like additional walks or playtime. My view is these things just jack up the bill but don't necessarily add value to your pet's stay. This is especially true if your pet is staying for only a few days and will be kept in a run that's long enough for them to run around in. If you must go for the extra playtime, consider doing it every other day rather than daily.
Tip #10: Understand the daily rate. Some kennels charge per every 24 hours and others charge per calendar day no matter when you pick up the pet. And be sure you understand when you can pick up your pet. Some kennels don't allow pick ups on Sundays and you'll have to pay for the extra day.
What are your tips for choosing a kennel? Where are some of the best kennels in the area? Post a comment below.
As I've been doing most of the summer, here are this week's under $1 back to school deals. Take note that Staples and Office Depot both have Crayola markers on sale but Office Depot has the better deal at 50 cents. Staples and InkStop are also both selling 150 sheets of filler paper this week but Staples has the better buy at 9 cents per pack.
Staples: Four-ounce bottle of Elmer's glue for free, 150 sheets of filler paper for 9 cents, two-pocket plastic report covers for 20 cents each, pack of five mechanical pencils for 25 cents, pack of 100 3-by-5 index cards for 33 cents, one-subject, 100 sheet notebooks for 75 cents each, pack of 10 markers for 79 cents and three-pack of dry erase markers, four-pack of handheld erasers and six-pack of pen-style highlighters for 99 cents each.
Office Depot: Free scientific calculator after mail-in rebate, pack of 12 eraser caps and 6-inch protractor for 5 cents each, four-pack of glue sticks and 10-pack of markers for 50 cents each.
InkStop: Two-pocket folders for 5 cents each, 12-pack of No. 2 pencils and one-subject notebooks with 70 pages for 10 cents each, 150 sheets of filler paper for 19 cents, pack of 24 crayons for 27 cents, jumbo glue stick for 59 cents and composition book for 79 cents.
Target: Two-pocket folders for 50 cents, pencil pouch, pencil box and stretchable book covers for 50 cents each, 12-pack of colored pencils, 96 sheets of construction paper and 40 sheets of drawing paper for 88 cents each.
Rite Aid: Six one-subject notebooks with 70 pages for 96 cents, three 4-ounce bottles of Elmer's glue for 99 cents and three wireless notebooks for 99 cents.
Walgreens: Pack of 285 or 325 sheets of filler paper and composition books with 100 sheets for 99 cents each, 24-pack of classic crayons or eight-pack of large washable crayons for 99 cents and one-subject notebook with 80 sheets or three-subject notebook with 120 sheets for 99 cents.
Have you found any good back to school deals? If so, let us know by posting a comment.
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