How to find the best dog kennels, home boarding and doggy day cares this summer

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The summer holidays are here... The kids are ready to play, the adults are ready for some time off, and our dogs are so excited to have everyone around more often again! Summer holidays don't only mean more time at home in the sun, they can often mean time exploring new places and going away on holiday.

In many cases, you may be able to take your dog with you - which is great - as it means your pooch gets to stay with their beloved family. However, this may not always be possible if you're nipping over to Greece for a week on the beach, or if you're having a day out and can't take the dog with you. This means your dog will be without their human pals, and they're therefore more prone to experiencing separation anxiety and struggle with being out of their usual routine.

That's why we've compiled our list of some key things to look out for when booking your doggy day care, home boarding or kennels this summer to help make sure your furry friend is in good hands.

Firstly, does the business you're planning to use have a license?

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On 1 October 2018, new licensing regulations came into force in England for businesses involving animals. Being a licensed dog kennel, home boarder or day care in England means that they are required to meet new specific standards, including enrichment and appropriate company for the animals.

Businesses must clearly and prominently display their licence on their premises and if advertising online, on their website too. If you don't see the licence number, you should be wary as this may mean that they are operating without a licence and so aren't being inspected for the required standards, which may mean animal welfare is being compromised. All licensed businesses will also be given a star rating between 1 - 5 to indicate to what extent they are meeting the standards - 5 stars means they are meeting more of the higher standards.

If you're in doubt or have any concerns about a business not being licensed, please report them to the local authority, which you can find using this tool. If you see any animals suffering or have concerns about their welfare, please report the situation to our helplines immediately.

What should you be looking out for?

They've got a license - great! But what does that mean and what should you be looking out for to check these standards are being met? Our tips below will show you what to expect:

Kennels

These are just some of the things you should check are in place for your dog when using any boarding service. Your dog should always have:

  • Access to their own sleeping area at all times.
  • Sufficient space in the kennel to sit and stand at full height, lie down fully stretched out, wag his or her tail, walk and turn around.
  • The opportunity for at least one daily walk outside of their kennel.
  • Their own kennel unit, unless you have given permission for your dog to share with another dog from your household.
  • Access to toys and daily enrichment opportunities.

Boarders aspiring to higher standards will provide two walks per day, each lasting for at least twenty minutes.

Home boarding

These are just some of the things you should check are in place for your dog when using a home boarding service. Your dog must be:

  • Accommodated within the home and have their own room where they can be kept separate from other dogs.
  • Exercised at least once daily and as appropriate for their age and health.
  • Kept in their own room unless you have given written consent for them to share a room with another dog from your family.
  • Home boarders aspiring to higher standards will provide your dog with two walks per day and for a minimum of twenty minutes.

Doggy Day Care

Any doggy day care businesses, including people operating as part of a franchise, are required to be licensed and meet specific standards. These are just some of the things you should check are in place for your dog when using a home boarding service. Your dog must be:

  • Assessed before they can go to the daycare provider to make sure they are not scared, anxious or stressed around other dogs or people.
  • Able to access an area where they can go to the toilet when they want to.
  • Able to access an area where they can avoid seeing people or other dogs if they choose to.

Day care providers aspiring to higher standards will also document the interactions your dog has with people throughout the day.

If you feel that these conditions (or any others) aren't being met, we urge you to walk away (taking your dog with you) and report them to the kennel, home boarding or day care's local council.

If you're lucky enough to be able to take your pooch with you, find out more information on going on holiday with your pet

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