"A dog is the only thing on earth that will love you more than you love yourself." Josh Billings 17273 West Edwards Road, Antioch, Illinois 847-395-0554 847-395-5855 fax boarding your dog - a working partnership Talk to your friends, neighbors, co-workers or veterinarian to see if there is a local kennel that they use or recommend.  Once you narrowed your  choices by calling the facilities or reviewing the kennel’s web pages, take the time to visit the facilities you are considering. Don't just visit the  office area; insist on seeing the actual kennel area where the pets are boarded. Are the kennels and surrounding areas clean? Do the dogs and  cats appear happy and enthusiastic (be warned kennels can be noisy places when strangers come inside to visit).  Take the time to talk to the  owners and staff of the kennel. Feel free to ask questions and voice any concerns you may have about your pet.    A few tips  Show up to tour the boarding facility unannounced with no appointment during the kennel's posted business hours. Be skeptical of any  kennel that insists that you make a specific appointment to tour or allows you to tour only at a specified time. What are they hiding?   When you arrive to tour, you should be able to go throughout the entire kennel and/or cattery facilities (with escort - no boarding facility  should allow you to walk through their facilities without an escort). You will be surprised to find that many boarding facilities will not  allow you to actually go throughout the kennel facility. You may be told that their insurance does not allow a customer to walk through  the kennel area, or some State agency forbids a customer to go beyond a certain point. This is of course all nonsense, and a good  reason to be skeptical.   On your tour, take a good look at the staff that work at the boarding facility. Remember that a boarding facility is only as good as the people  that are working there. Do they have mature, trained, responsible animal caretakers or are they using high school kids, minimum wage  and non-English speaking employees? It makes a huge difference in the kind of care your pet will receive!   Are there any other things I should look for or ask about? Does the facility look and smell clean? Is there sufficient ventilation and light? Is a comfortable temperature maintained? Are pets required to be current on their vaccinations? (Such a requirement helps protect your animal and others.) Does each dog have his own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run or an indoor run and a schedule for exercise? Are outdoor runs and exercise areas protected from wind, rain, and snow? Are resting boards and/or bedding provided to allow dogs to rest off the concrete floor? Do the pets in residence during your visit seem to know and like the kennel personnel?  But do remember that visitors may cause the guests in the kennel to be loud and exhuberant. Are cats housed away from dogs? How often are pets fed?  How often are pets let outside? Can the owner bring a pet's special food, toys or bedding? If your pet has special needs or you have special concerns be sure to ask about them now.   For more information on selecting a kennel, we have two articles on our web site published by the Pet Care Services Association entitled "Let's   Talk About Boarding Your Dog" and "Let's Talk About Boarding Your Cat". To read these articles, click on the article title.  How do I prepare for boarding my pet? Be sure your pet knows basic commands and is well socialized around other people and pets.  If they are not please make sure to discuss your specific concerns before boarding. Before you head for the kennel, double-check that you have your pet's medications and special food, your veterinarian's phone number, and contact information for you and a local backup. When you arrive with your pet at the boarding facility, remind the staff about any medical or behavior problems your pet has, such as a history of epilepsy, agression with dogs or people, or fear of thunder. After the check-in process, hand your pet to a staff member, say good-bye, and leave. Avoid long, emotional partings, which may upset your pet unneccessarily