Before booking a stay at a kennel, consider other options: taking your
pet along, leaving him with a friend, having a friend pet-sit, or hiring
a pet sitter. Each of these options comes with important pros and cons.
If you decide a kennel is the best option, the ratings by other pet owners,
shown on our Ratings Tables, will help you find one that provides top-notch
care. (Were still working on methods to survey pets.) Several of the kennels
listed on our Ratings Tables received superior ratings overall from
almost all of their surveyed customers. But some kennels didnt exactly
wow clients with stellar service.
There are also big price differences, as shown on our Ratings Tables.
To board a medium-size dog for one week, for example, prices range from
$126 to $525. Thats just for the basic boarding. At some kennels, the
extras can add up fast: Additional exercise can cost an extra $15 or more
per day; administering a pill might cost $3 or more per day. Also, some
kennels extremely limited drop-off and pick-up periods make it difficult
to avoid paying for an extra day.
It can all add up to a substantial chunk of your vacation budget. Fortunately,
some of the higher- rated kennels charge below-average prices.
Carefully check out any kennel you are considering.
Be wary of a kennel that wont let you inspect its facilities unannounced
during regular operating hours.
Check whether dogs have an indoor and outdoor runlarge enough and with
protection from sun, rain, cold, and heat.
Make sure animals are protected from one another and that there is proper
fencing to keep your pet in and other animals out.
Make sure the kennel has proper health protectionsthat it is clean and
not excessively smelly, that all admitted pets must have proof of proper
vaccinations, and that pets are carefully examined for signs of disease
or parasites at check-in.
Size up staff members. Do they answer your questions? Do they show affection
for the animals? Are they available 24 hours per day?
Determine when the kennel is open for drop-off and pick-up. A common complaint
is that facilities dont have convenient hours for drop-off or pick-up,
particularly on weekends.
Ah, vacation. A time to unwind. Sleep in. Catch up on reading stuff you
want torather than have toread. Visit a new place. Maybe learn something
new. Everyone loves vacationsexcept, perhaps, family pets.
When you need to get away, you have several choices: Take your pet along.
Ask a friend to foster. Hire a pet sitter. Or book a stay at a kennel.
If you go with the kennel option, weve identified several places that
will do just fine by Fido, along with detailed advice on how to evaluate
kennels and how to eliminate common pet peeves.
Before settling on a kennel, consider other alternatives.
Traveling with your pet has several advantages. Youll share the experience
with it, know it will receive loving care, spare it (and yourself) the
stress of separation, and avoid the expense and inconvenience of arranging
for a sitter or a kennel.
But taking your pet might not be possible. You might be traveling for work,
for one thing, but even vacation lodgings may not allow pets; or your means
of transportation may make bringing a pet impossible or prohibitively expensive.
Whats more, having a pet along may be thoroughly inconvenient. What do
you do with the pet when you go out to dinner, to a museum, or to a ballgame,
much less to a business meeting?
And there are risks. Pets may be terrified and injured if they are treated
roughly by airline baggage handlers. Some have been left for many hours
in airline handling areas or shipped to the wrong destinations. Dogs have
died of heatstroke in airplane baggage compartments.
Other problems are possible, even likely, depending on your pet. If it
comes along for the ride and isnt accustomed to car travel, it may become
anxious and endanger humans by disturbing the driver. Your pet could also
become sick, at least mildly, when it changes water supplies. Most important,
if you dont keep your dog on a leash at all times, it may wander off,
become disoriented, and be lost for good.
Finally, you cant leave your pet alone in a car, even briefly, without
exposing it to a serious risk of heatstroke. If you want to take a dog
along, check out the list of hotels and motels that accommodate dogs in
the book Traveling With Your Pet, available from the American Automobile
Association. We discuss this option more fully below.
Another option is to leave your pet with a friend, neighbor, or pet sitter.
Having your pet stay with a friend or neighbor means that youll know the
individuals who will be caring for it, your pet wont be alone overnight,
and youll avoid some inconvenience and expense. But you cant be sure
how skillful and careful a friend or neighbor will be. In addition to burdening
a friend with the responsibility, your pet may get lost or injured trying
to return to your home; the pet may suffer stress caused by separation
from you and its usual environment; and it may become anxious and harm
the friends belongings, pets, or family members.
Having a pet sitter come to your home to check, feed, exercise, clean up
after, and relate to your pet has significant advantages. Your pet stays
in familiar surroundings, eats its usual food, and continues familiar routines
(although the timing is likely to be different from when youre home).
Your pet wont be exposed to illnesses or parasites it could pick up in
a kennel, and it avoids the stress of staying in an environment with other
animals. In addition, the sitter can provide services such as picking up
newspapers and mail, watering plants, and making your house look occupied.
And, of course, you wont need to burden a friend or neighbor with the
But pet sitters, too, come with important disadvantages. Whether the sitter
is from a commercial pet-sitting service (see below) or a youngster from
the neighborhood, you cant be sure of the skill, knowledge, or diligence
he or she brings to the job. You have to hope the sitter shows up when
promised, even if weather or personal problems make this difficult. Unless
you arrange for the sitter to stay at your home overnight, your pet will
still be alone for long hours. Your pet might slip away to look for you
or damage your home in reaction to being abandoned. If you use a commercial
pet-sitting service, you give a stranger access to your home. And the cost
of careespecially if rendered by a commercial servicecan be quite high.
You can get leads on local pet-sitting services by checking ratings and
comments posted by subscribers in the Pet Sitters section of our
website. Most of what we hear from pet-sitting customers is positive, but
there are enough negatives to warrant a measure of caution.
Like the other options, kennels have pluses and minuses.
Assuming everything goes right, your pet will be taken care of, and you
wont have to worry about last-minute foul-ups. You can be sure that your
pet will not be left alone. Serious health problems will be spotted and
referred to a veterinarian. And you dont have to impose on anyone.
But using a kennel can be expensive and, if its far from your home, inconvenient.
Also, a stay in a kennelif your pet isnt used to itexposes the pet to
the stress of separation from you and its familiar environment. Stress
makes pets especially susceptible to disease, and proximity to other animals
increases exposure to some kinds of health problems. Many kennels largely
avoid these problems by employing caring, attentive staff and maintaining
comfortable, clean, and stress-free facilities. But based on the astonishing
number of serious complaints we receive from consumers, you need to exercise
caution when selecting a kennel. What follows is an effort to help you
find a top-quality kennel that charges a reasonable price.
To help choose a kennel that makes you and your pet happy, our Ratings Tables report information we gathered on area kennels.
Our Ratings Tables show the results from our surveys of area consumers
(primarily CHECKBOOK and Consumer Reports subscribers) on kennels they
have used. The table shows the percent of each kennels surveyed customers
who rated it superior (as opposed to adequate or inferior) on each
of our survey questions. Though the surveys asked consumers to rate kennels
for their care of dogs, owners of cats and other pets may also find the
Although pet owners can never know what a kennel is really like when outsiders
are not around, many pet owners inspect the kennels they useeveryone shouldand
most are aware of the condition of their dogs before and after boarding.
(Click here for further discussion of our
customer survey and other research methods.)
As you can see, there is substantial variation in the customer survey ratings.
For example, at the time of our last full, published article, scores for
returning dog in good condition ranged from 30 percent to more than 95
For firms that were evaluated in our last full, published article, our
Ratings Tables also show counts of complaints we gathered from local
Better Business Bureaus (BBB) for a recent three-year period. For more
information on reported complaint counts, click here.
In addition to the customer reports on our Ratings Tables, you can
check various other elements that bear on a kennels quality. Make sure
to personally inspect any facility you are considering, and ask questions.
Most of the following points relate to finding a kennel for a dog, but
some apply to other pets. For kennels listed on our Ratings Tables,
we have checked some of these points for you; youll have to verify others
on your own, and for still others youll have to take the kennels word.
Can visitors inspect the kennel at any time during business hours? Youll
obviously learn more about what a kennel is really like if you can inspect
it unannounced, rather than after staff have had a chance to prepare. Its
also reassuring to know that a kennel is always prepared for other visitors
who may drop by while your pet is staying there. Some kennels insist that
letting strangers walk through the entire facility needlessly agitates
the dogs, but we believe thats a price worth paying for the benefits of
openness. A second-best solution is for the kennel to allow visitors to
view boarding areas from behind glass. Whatever the policy, you can learn
a lot by arriving a little earlier than expected to pick up your pet (but
dont show up outside normal checkout hours or arrive early for a pet youve
Are kennel staff willing and able to answer all of your questions about
kennel policies or your pets stay?
Are there webcams? Some kennels now have webcams that allow owners to monitor
Will your dog have its own run? The most common kennel design gives each
dog an indoor stall or pen connected directly to its own outdoor run (at
some kennels the entire run is indoors). Alternatives are free-standing
dog houses, each with their own runs. Either arrangement virtually ensures
that your dog gets a chance to exercise with little or no effort on the
part of kennel staff. Less desirable are common runs. Kennels without separate
runs for each animalmostly hospitals and clinicsusually rate considerably
lower than facilities with separate runs.
Are the runs and stalls large enough? Runs should be long enough for a
dog to break into a short gallop and wide enough for the dog to wag its
tail without hitting the sides. Four feet by 10 feet is probably adequate
for a medium-size dog, but a large dog may need a longer run. Stalls should
be large enough for a dog to move around comfortably. Cats, which exercise
isometrically (by stretching), dont need runs. A 2x3x3-foot cage is sufficient,
although a bigger space is preferable.
Does each dog have a dry, comfortable bedding area? With a resting board
in a run, dogs dont have to lie on concrete when its wet or hot (in unshaded
runs). A sleeping box with bedding will enhance a dogs comfort and help
it stay warm.
Does every cat cage have a perch for the cat to sit on? While cats are
generally easier to accommodate than dogs, this feature is a must.
Does the kennel provide a play area for cats? This feature is a plus for
active cats that would enjoy additional space.
Is there a solid barrier between each cage? Concrete or other solid barriers
18 inches or so high between the stalls give dogs a little privacy and
prevent them from urinating into each others cages.
Does the kennel have a good ventilation system? Canine cough and other
illnesses are spread by airborne viruses. A kennels ventilation system
should provide an air exchange every five minutes or so. Ventilation is
especially important for cats, which are susceptible to serious respiratory
Will your cat be separated from dogs? Dog kennels can be extremely noisy,
and may traumatize a cat unaccustomed to the constant barking.
Is the kennel adequately lighted? Your pet should get artificial or natural
light for at least 10 to 12 hours per day.
Is the kennels fencing adequate? The fencing around individual runs and
around the entire kennel area should be solid enough and high enough to
prevent dogs from escaping and getting into each others runs, and to prevent
strays from intruding. Chain-link fences with two-inch or smaller squares
are ideal. If runs are not covered, or if a section at the top of each
fence is not slanted in, some dogs will be able to jump or climb over them.
The bottom of the fence should extend to within about two inches of the
ground. Unless the ground under the fence is concrete or another impenetrable
substance, some dogs will try to escape by burrowing. If kennel staff is
alert to the escape artists, all enclosures do not have to be equally secure.
Does the kennel have a central-reporting fire alarm system? Are working
smoke detectors installed throughout the facility?
Health Screening and Prevention
Does the kennel require proof of vaccinations? Animals are much more likely
to get sick in kennels than at home. First, they are exposed to illnesses
carried by other animals in the kennel (in this respect, boarding a dog
in a kennel is similar to putting a child in daycare). Second, the stress
they experience while in a kennel makes them unusually susceptible to illness.
A kennel that requires appropriate vaccinations forces you to take the
proper steps to protect your pet and reduces the chances that other kennel
residents are diseased. Dogs should have the following vaccinations: DHLPP
(canine distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus),
rabies, and bordetella (canine cough). Cats should have FVRCP (feline distemper
and upper respiratory diseases) and rabies vaccinations. Your veterinarian
may wish to vaccinate for other transmissible diseases (e.g., feline leukemia),
so consult the vet prior to boarding.
Are animals carefully examined at check-in? Kennel staff should examine
each animals eyes, ears, mouth, genitals, anal area, skin, and coat to
detect any disease or parasites.
Does the kennel have an isolation room? Although a kennel should refer
serious medical problems to a veterinary hospital, it should have an isolation
room for sick animals. The isolation room should be completely separate
from the area where the other animals are housed, and have solid walls
and doors and a separate ventilation system.
Is the kennel clean? Cleanliness is critical to your pets health. Carefully
inspect the kennels floors, walls, and fences. Also, be sure that water
and disinfectant have not formed puddles. Take a good look each time you
drop off or pick up your pet.
How does the kennel smell? Kennels should not be foul smelling. A mild
smell of disinfectant is fine, but a strong disinfectant smell might be
masking other odors.
Is bedding washed daily, or whenever it becomes soiled?
Is the facility in good repair? Jagged pieces of fence and other flaws
may be dangerous.
Care and Comfort
What food options are available? Find out what kind of food the kennel
serves. If you are unfamiliar with the brand, ask your vet about it. If
your pet is a picky eater, ask whether the kennel offers a choice of different
brands and types; some do. Or find out whether the kennel will use pet
food that you provide; most will, but some charge for this service.
How flexible is the kennel about its feeding schedule? Most kennels feed
dogs only once a day, but some older dogs should be fed twice a day. If
your dog is on a twice-a-day schedule, find out whether the kennel will
Is clean water always available to each animal?
Is some form of bedding provided to each dog?
Can you bring your pets toys and bedding? Most kennels will allow this,
but it does pose sanitation problems and requires extra effort on the kennels
part. And because most kennels wont guarantee that youll get back what
you bring, dont bring more than necessary.
Will the kennel give your dog extra individualized exercise by special
arrangement? Most offer this service, sometimes for an additional fee.
If your dog has a separate indoor/outdoor run, it will probably get plenty
of exercise without a special arrangement. But individualized exercise
provides beneficial human contact.
If the facilitys runs dont have outdoor access, when are dogs let out
to relieve themselves? Some kennels let dogs out first thing in the morning,
a few times during the day, and then one last time before closing, which
might be as early as 6 p.m. This means dogs cant go outdoors for 12 hours
or longer. If your dog requires more frequent outdoor access, particularly
during evenings, ask if arrangements can be madeand at what times extra
breaks can be scheduled.
Will the kennel administer shots and pills? All of the kennels we surveyed
will administer pills, though some charge extra for it. Many will administer
shots. It is essential to continue many types of medications (such as heartworm
preventatives) during boarding.
Does the staff show affection for the animals? Most individuals who work
in kennels do so at least in part because they like animals. Be sure thats
the case at your kennel.
Is the staff experienced and well-informed? Check how long the kennel has
been in business under the same management. Note how staff responds to
What are the arrangements for veterinary care, if necessary? If you have
a regular veterinarian, check whether the kennel will use him or her. Expect
to pay for transportation and vet fees.
Is a staff member on the premises 24 hours a day? If not, how does the
kennel ensure the welfare and comfort of pets throughout the night?
Do the animals appear to be happy?
Are grooming and other services available?
Will you be able to check in on your pet while away? Many kennels now have
webcams that let customers monitor their pets.
Is the kennel a veterinary hospital (or clinic)? On average, non-hospitals
rated higher than hospitals on almost every question. Several veterinarians
have pointed out that healthy pets that board at animal hospitals or clinics
are more prone to return home with a disease picked up from hospitalized
pets. One vet asked, Would you go to a hospital for a vacation?
Although your first considerations are the health and comfort of your pet,
you also need to consider price. The price differences among kennels are
substantial. For example, at the time of our last full, published article,
we found that boarding a 35-pound springer spaniel for a week would cost
$126 at Farrington Kennels or $525 at Metro Dog Day Care & Boarding Center.
There appears to be no correlation between quality and price. Some of the
lower-priced kennels provide top-quality service.
Our Ratings Tables provide information for determining the least expensive
kennel for your dog or cat. The table shows per-day prices for four different
sizes of dogs, a pair of medium-size dogs boarded in the same run, and
a cat. Some kennels charge more per day as dogs get larger, but at other
kennels size matters less. Cats are generally less expensive than even
the smallest dogs. Some kennels offer discounts of a dollar or so per day
per dog if two of your dogs share the same run.
We also show prices for various services, such as special exercise or administering
medicine. These special services are free at many kennels, although some
charge $15 or more per day for 15 minutes of special exercise.
Also, ask about another factor that can significantly affect cost: check-in
and check-out times. A number of kennels charge for only one day if you
check in your pet in the morning of the first day and check out the afternoon
of the second day. Others charge for two days if you check in before noon
or check out after noon, even for an overnight stay.
Determine exactly when the kennel is open for drop-off and pick-up. A common
complaint is that facilities dont have convenient hours for drop-off or
pick-up, particularly on weekends. If the kennel is closed on Sundays,
for example, youd have to pay for a Sunday-night stay even though you
are back in townand ready to pick up your peton Sunday morning. Or it
might charge a special fee for the kennel staff to meet you at the kennel
for a pick-up outside regular hours.
For your pets stay to go well, its not enough to select a kennel carefully;
you also have to prepare your pet properly and then care for it properly
after its stay.
The first step: From an early age, teach your pet to get along with other
people. (Obedience training helps.) Second, make sure your pet has had
all appropriate vaccinations. Because production of antibodies takes time,
have your pet vaccinated at least two weeks prior to boarding. (See ratings
of area veterinarians here.) Third, check your
pet for ticks and other parasites. Fourth, do not feed your dog for three
or four hours before going to the kennel; this will minimize the risk of
At check-in, tell the kennel how to reach you or someone else who can make
decisions about your pet. Provide the name and phone number of your vet.
If your pet is taking any medications, bring an adequate supply, along
with written instructions. If your pet needs a certain kind of food or
other special treatment, leave written instructions and any needed supplies
(and be prepared to pay extra for such special services).
Discuss any unusual health conditions or personality traits (such as climbing
fences or biting), and mention any special fears (of thunder, rain, or
sirens, for example). Finally, dont exhibit a lot of emotion; your pet
will sense it and get even more upset than it otherwise might. If possible,
leave while your pet is still in the reception area, so it will know you
are gone when it is taken to its quarters.
After you pick up your pet, dont feed it for several hours. If your dog
is thirsty, give it some crushed ice. In the excitement of seeing you,
a dog is likely eat and drink too much, resulting in digestion problems.
Before taking your pet with you on a trip, consider the following advice,
drawn from several publications, including the American Automobile Associations
Traveling With Your Pet.
Take note of your pets capabilities, and prepare your pet for the trip.
Dont plan a camping trip with arduous hikes if your pet leads a sedentary
Before the trip, take your pet to the vet for a check-up, and make sure
all vaccinations are current. Most states require proof of vaccinations
Obtain a health certificate from your vet no earlier than 10 days before
Make sure your pet has a collar ID with its name, your name, home address,
and phone number.
If you will be using a crate, make sure it is large enough for your pet
to stand, sit, and change positions.
Bring familiar toys or bedding to make your pet more comfortable in an
unfamiliar environment. Maintain your dogs regular feeding and exercise
schedules, and stop often to let your dog stretch and urinate.
Sedatives and tranquilizers may be harmful to your pet. Drug your pet only
if your veterinarian recommends it.
Dont forget food and water bowls, a brush or a comb, towels to wipe muddy
paws, and plastic bags.
Although many air passengers travel with their pets without incident, risks
Pets can experience breathing difficulties at high altitudes.
Pets may suffer from exposure to temperature extremes. Tarmac and cargo
holds where pets waitfirst to be loaded onto the plane and then for the
plane to taxi to the runway, take off, or unloadare subject to extreme
temperatures. Heat emanating from a cement surface, coupled with the heat
from plane engines, can quickly cause heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Even after the sun goes down, cargo holds can retain and emit heat. Delay
can be a problem: The temperature in the cargo hold can become too hot
(or too cold, depending on the season) when a plane waits at the gate or
on the runway for extended periods.
Airline staff make mistakes. Pets have been forgotten and left on the tarmac
in extreme temperatures. Pets have been sent to the wrong destination,
requiring long and harrowing trips to correct the error.
Pets can suffer from nervous disorders and trauma. Noise in the cargo hold
can be frightening to pets. Also, air turbulence can traumatize them, and
pets can suffer from air sickness.
Not all destinations will welcome your pet. Quarantine laws in Hawaii and
many foreign destinations require pets to be sequestered before joining
you. Some forbid the entry of pets altogether.
If your pet must fly, follow these steps to ensure your pets safety:
Call the airline or visit its website to determine the policies, procedures,
and restrictions for flying with a pet.
Try to book nonstop flights.
Check to see if your pet can fly with you in the passenger cabin as carry-on
luggage. Most airlines now allow this for a limited number of pets per
plane in carriers small enough to fit underneath passenger seats. Youll
need to make a reservation.
Call the airline the day before your trip to reconfirm your pets reservation.
Check whether the airline requires a health certificate for your petmost
now require them for pets checked as baggage but not for pets carried on.
If necessary, get your veterinarian to supply a certificate.
If you must fly during the warm season (or to warm climates), try to fly
early in the morning or late at night; if you fly during winter, try to
fly during the day.
Make sure the crate for your pet is USDA-approved for shipping animals.
The crate should be large enough so your pet can stand up, turn around,
and lie down. Be sure its latches are in working order. Also, make sure
the crate is securely closed, but dont lock the cratein case your pet
must be removed in an emergency.
Line the crate with absorbent material.
Write LIVE ANIMAL in large letters on the top of the crate and on at
least one side. Draw arrows to indicate prominently the upright position
of the crate.
Make sure all the airline tags on your pets crate have the correct destination
If youre checking the pet as baggage, secure an empty food and water dish
to the inside of the crate. For trips longer than 12 hours, attach a plastic
bag containing dry food and feeding instructions. These items (which should
be attached to the crate) must be accessible to airline personnel.
Never leave a pet alone in a car.
Think about whether your pets age and temperament are appropriate for
the trip. Young dogs or cats that may not have sufficient training can
become burdens. Older dogs may not be physically fit for the rigors of
a long trip.
For safety, it is important that a dog responds to such voice commands
as Sit, Stay, and Down.
A crate-trained pet is more likely to feel safe in an unfamiliar environment,
and hotel/motel staff may be more inclined to admit your pet if you tell
them the pet is crated.
When you call for a reservation in a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast,
determine whether pets are allowed. If so, ask about the facilitys rules
and whether you will be charged any additional fees.
If you are considering a pet-sitting service, keep several points in mind.
Pet-sitting services are usually more expensive than stays for a single
pet at a kennelpet sitters generally charge between $75 and $90 per day
for one pet. Most services offer discounts for additional pets, and some
charge by the visit, regardless of the number of pets they care for. So
if you have more than one pet, a pet-sitting service might cost less than
|A New Leash On Life San Jose, 408-429-3770
|Always Pampered Pet Sitters Richmond, 510-234-0545
|The Animal Nanny Fremont, 510-574-0835
|Apronstrings Pet Sitting Walnut Creek, 925-798-7621
|Bay Area Pet Pals San Mateo, 650-996-6652
|Creature Comforts Saratoga, 408-921-5140
|Home Alone Pet & Plant Care San Jose, 408-287-5841
|Irondogs Oakland, 510-407-1277
|Leash on Life Pet Sitting Martinez, 925-229-8313
|Safe Hands Pet CareEl Cerrito, 510-528-7870
|Sittin' Pretty Pet & Home Sitters Mountain View, 650-567-3936
Unfortunately, because you cant inspect a pet-sitting service as you can
a kennel, you have to depend on what the company says it will do.
You can find pet-sitting services by asking other pet owners or veterinarians.
Also, consider services that have received favorable recommendations and
comments from CHECKBOOK subscribers in the Pet Sitters section. Here
is our advice for choosing a service:
Ask to see current documentation that the service is bonded and carries
Ask how the staff manages and administers each pet. In addition to obtaining
your contact information and other basic facts about you, some services
compile a detailed profile of your pet and its care (along with standing
instructions about household maintenance and operation if those services
are part of the deal); most use the profile to train sitters and should
therefore give you the chance to update it periodically, either before
the next assignment or as circumstances merit, should you use the service
for routine care.
Meet with the specific individual who will be caring for your pet. Invite
this person to your home to see how he or she gets along with your pet.
Note whether the sitter asks detailed questions about your pets habits
Ask how much time the sitter will spend on each visit, and what the sitter
will do with your pet.
Ask about the sitters training and experience.
Find out what happens if the sitter becomes ill or cant come to your home
because of an emergency.
Ask if the sitter will take your pet to your veterinarian if the pet becomes
Find out what special services the sitter offers. Most will administer
shots and medications, provide light grooming, rotate lights and curtains
to make your home look lived in, care for house plants, and bring in and
forward mail. Some will call you at regular times to report on your pet,
water outdoor plants, and stay in your home overnight. Most offer a key
hold arrangement in which they keep a copy of your house key so that they
can get into your home if you unexpectedly have to work late or need them
for some other reason.
Once you have chosen a service, work with it to ensure your pet gets the
best possible care.
Make arrangements as early as possible, especially for holiday periods.
Give the pet sitter both written and oral descriptions of your pets routines
and habitswhen, where, and how the pet eats, sleeps, walks, and plays.
Describe any health problems and medication routines. Make sure the pet
sitter knows where to find food, medications, and toys. If the pet has
a habit of hiding, tell the pet sitter where to look.
Give the sitter a phone number where you can be reached.
Buy plenty of food, litter, medicines, and other suppliesenough to last
if you are unexpectedly delayed.
Be sure the pet has identification tags, and that the sitter knows where
to find verification of vaccinations.
If your dog is not used to walking on a leash, practice with it. Your sitter
should use a leash.
Give the sitter the name and phone number of a veterinarian and a neighbor.
Let your neighbors know that a sitter will be coming to your home, lest
they suspect foul play.
Call the sitter the day before you leave to make sure he or she is coming.
Call after you have been away for a few days to answer any questions.
As another way to learn about local kennels, we surveyed area veterinarians
and asked them to name the two boarding kennels they consider most desirable
for boarding a dog and the two they consider least desirable.
Here are the kennels from our Ratings Tables that got the highest number
of positive mentions from our survey of vets, while receiving no least
Berkeley Dog & Cat Hospital, Berkeley (15 recommendations)
Bretons School for Dogs & Cats, Danville (4 recommendations)
Citizen Canine, Oakland (10 recommendations)
Pet Camp, San Francisco (3 recommendations)
Pet Ranch at Waiterock Kennels, Lafayette (11 recommendations)
Tappen Hill, Sebastopol (4 recommendations)
Better Business Bureaus
Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties
1112 S. Bascom Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
All Other Bay Area Counties
1000 Broadway, #625
Oakland, CA 94607