4 Warning Signs a Boarding Kennel Isn't Right for Your Dog

Posted on: 12 May 2015


It's not easy choosing a boarding kennel for your dog. While there are plenty of reputable boarding kennels to choose from, there are also kennels that don't operate to the high standards you'd expect. It can be difficult to determine the good from the bad, so what should you be looking out for when you visit kennels? Here are four warning signs of a substandard boarding kennel.

Foul Odours

Kennels should follow rigorous hygiene practices and all kennel bays should be kept clean and free of urine and faeces. If you can't see any evidence of uncleanliness when you visit, but you can still smell the stench of excrement, the kennel may not always be kept as clean as it is when staff are expecting visitors or new arrivals. No dog should have to sit in a dirty kennel bay, so take foul smells as a sign something is amiss with the kennel's cleaning practices.


A noisy boarding kennel indicates stressed dogs. If there's lots of barking and whining during your visit don't just chalk this up to excitable dogs or territorial behaviour. A good kennel prioritises the welfare of the dogs under their care. They will implement procedures to create a calm environment such as providing stimulation and daylight for the dogs, positioning kennel bays so dogs are not facing each other and having enough staff on duty to allow some one-on-one time with anxious dogs.

Restricted Access

When you visit a kennel the staff should be happy to answer your questions and show you around the entire premises. They should be proud of their facilities and eager to show you the wonderful home-away-from-home they offer. You should be able to see the kennel bays, exercise areas, hand washing stations, food storage and preparation areas, and any cleaning logs that are kept. If you feel staff are evasive or try to direct you away from specific areas of the kennel, strike that one off your list.

Lax Registration Procedures

Ask each potential boarding kennel about their registration procedures, which will give you a good indication of how organised the kennel is. A good kennel will have stringent procedures in place and take pride in their registration process. Vague or lax procedures can put your dog at risk as they leave room for error and show complacency for animal welfare.

For example, kennels should only board dogs with up-to-date vaccination records to prevent the spread of disease to other dogs in the kennels. A kennel with lax registration procedures could easily miss an out-of-date record or choose to ignore best practice in favour of new business.

Once you've visited a few kennels you'll have a good idea of the ones you'd be happy to trust with your dog, which will allow you to enjoy your time away and feel confident your dog's in good hands.