Take a look at the website if they have one, and contact them by phone to get a feel for the services they offer, and to ask any questions you have: What are the hours of operation? Is Someone always on-site? Is the facility monitored? How much exercise will your pet get? Do they cater to the needs of elderly animals, or ones that need medication? What are the immunization requirements?
Visit the Kennel
Be wary of any place that does not allow you to view the inside of their kennel. While some facilities do limit tours to certain areas to manage the exposure their guests have to strangers, you should still be able to see where your dog will be staying, and what their experience will be. Be wary of places that require an appointment – this gives them an opportunity to do an extra tidy-up prior to your visit. Having an opportunity to meet the personnel gives you an impression of how they are with their guests and will also give you comfort knowing who will be caring for your four-legged companions.
The general appearance and smell of a kennel will tell you how strict they are about sanitation and cleaning procedures. The kennel should be free of dirt, fecal accumulation, odours and parasite infestation (flies, fleas, ticks). There should be a strict schedule of disinfecting with effective chemicals.
Ask them to walk you through your pets’ day at their facility. It should be a routine that your pets can easily adjust to. Fresh water should be available at all times and the feeding schedule should be similar to what you do at home. In the case of a dog, they should have regular (if not continual) access to the outdoors during the day to allow them to relieve themselves as needed and then safely brought in at night for bedtime.
In the end, you will know whether or not a place will suit your needs by asking the right questions as well as by your impression of the boarding facility after a visit. Try to visit many locations for comparison and to get a better idea of what is out there. The time you invest at the beginning with pay off in the future.