We hate to spend even one night away from our loyal old companions because they are such a big part of our daily life. But sometimes, for any number of reasons, you simply must put your senior dog in a kennel for a night or more. Before making a choice and dropping him off, there are a few things you should consider.
Has your senior dog stayed in a kennel before? If this is his first time, he may find it harder to adjust to a kennel than a typical adult dog. Senior dogs tend to be set in their ways and are accustomed to their daily routine, which includes being with you in your home. If your dog has spent time in a boarding facility before and has not reacted adversely to the experience, this may not be a major problem. Especially if he'll be staying in the same kennel as before.
Does the kennel have special facilities and routines for seniors? Before selecting a kennel, take a tour. Make sure the facility's layout and design is senior-dog friendly:
- No overly high barriers that he must step across.
- No long staircases that he'll be expected to climb.
- Plenty of soft, cushy areas where he can comfortably rest.
- A senior-only area where he can get away from rambunctious pups and aggressive adults.
Is the kennel staff senior-dog friendly? Many kennel workers are dog lovers by nature and enjoy spending time with pooches of all sizes, breeds, and ages. However, as you know, caring for a senior dog can require more patience and knowledge. You need to know the answers to these questions:
- Does the kennel regularly care for senior dogs?
- Is the staff experienced with the needs and temperament of seniors?
- Have the staff members received any special training to help them deal with the needs of senior dogs?
How can you find kennels in your area that are senior friendly? Start by asking your friends with senior dogs. See which kennels they've used and recommend. If they've had unfavorable incidents with a particular kennel, you — and your old friend — can benefit from their experience. You can also ask your veterinarian for a recommendation. After all, he knows your dog's temperament and special needs. Local dog trainers may also have some helpful recommendations.
Once you've narrowed down your list, make sure you visit each facility and inspect it to make sure it lives up to your standards and your dog's needs. Are the kennel areas clean? Does the staff appear to be caring and conscientious? Do the senior dogs currently staying in the kennel look happy and well-cared for? The answers to these questions will help determine if a particular kennel is a good choice for your senior.