No dog owner enjoys leaving their beloved companion at a kennel, but when it must be done, you want to find the best place possible for your dog. Pit bull owners who have to board their dog face an additional consideration. You're not just asking, "which kennel seems like the best?" but, "will any nearby boarding kennel take my pit bull?"
Depending on the answer to that question, you may have to jump through a few more hoops than the Yorkie owner next door. But ultimately, all dog owners will have a similar set of concerns.
Starting Your Search
Check your local phonebook, the Internet, and any other resources you have, especially friends who have previously boarded their dogs. Make a list of local facilities. If any of your friends had a particularly wonderful or awful experience at a specific kennel, it will probably jump to the top or bottom of your list. If there's a local pit bull organization, they would also be a great place to ask for recommendations.
The Phone Call
Next, call the kennels. Yes, you want to make an in-person visit, but you can save yourself some time and trouble by making a few calls before you run all over town.
The obvious first question is, "Do you board pit bulls at your kennel?" If the answer is "no," cross the kennel off your list.
If they do welcome pit bulls, ask a few basic questions. A bad attitude or unwillingness to offer information isn't a good sign.
Questions to Ask on the Phone
- Can the kennel accommodate the dates you require?
- Is someone always at the facility overnight?
- Do they have a vet on call 24/7?
- Can they cope with any special requirements you might have?
- If you have more than one dog, can they stay next to each other?
- Are other types of pets (such as cats!) kept out of sight (and ideally, hearing) to minimize stress?
- Will they be sure to call you in case of an emergency?
No matter how great the recommendations or how wonderful the phone contact you spoke with sounded, you want to visit the kennel in person. Do not schedule an appointment, but walk in unannounced. Ask to see the dogs. If the facility refuses, that's a big red flag, and I at least would avoid leaving my dog there if at all possible.
While some dogs won't thrive in any kennel situation and one or two mopey looks are to be expected, most of the dogs should look reasonably happy. All of the dogs should have fresh water and a clean kennel. The staff should be caring, enthusiastic and have a good relationship with their guests.
Which Kind of Kennel Run Is Best?
There are two basic types of runs in which your dog is likely to be housed. There are advantages and drawbacks to each.
Mixed indoor/outdoor runs, where the interior is connected to an outside space by a doggie door, let your pit bull get as much fresh air and sunshine as he wants. On the other hand, indoor-only runs ensure a greater amount of human contact and guarantee your dog exercise in a larger space, as the staff has to take the dogs out on walks.
And while it's true that mixed runs assure more fresh air, you might be better off minimizing the exposure to the outside in extremely hot or cold conditions.
Pit Bull Specific Concerns
Try to make sure the staff is comfortable around pit bulls. If there are no pit bulls in residence at the kennel when you're visiting, observe how the staff act around large working breed dogs. Fortunately, most people who work at kennels genuinely love animals and are comfortable around all breeds of dogs.
No one wants to leave their pet alone in a strange place. But if you follow these steps, get a satisfactory answer to all of your questions, trust your instincts, and rely on basic common sense, odds are your pit bull will have the best kennel experience possible while you're away.