Tag: Vacations

Mid-summers day!

Another post from John Brooks

John is becoming a regular contributor to Learning from Dogs. He was last here on March 26th, this year with a guest post Reasons to get a pet portrait.

This is a timely and pertinent post.


Five Questions you need to ask a Boarding Kennel

If you’re planning a vacation or a work trip, you’ll need to decide what to do with your beloved pooch. This can be a stressful event for both you and your pup, but things will go a lot easier if you pick the right boarding kennel.

How do you know whether you’ve picked a good kennel?

The best way to determine the quality of a kennel is by asking appropriate questions. Not sure what those would be? Never fear! We’ve got you covered!

Read on to learn what questions to ask to help you choose the best available pet hotels or kennels.

Five Questions to Ask a Kennel or Pet Hotel

One – Is Your Kennel or Pet Hotel Certified?

Certification is not mandatory for kennels. However, certified kennels have to comply with 250 standards in 17 areas of pet care facility operation. This certification is known as the Voluntary Facilities Accreditation (VFA) certificate. If they have a certificate, you can assume several things about the facility:

They have put time and money into making sure they have the best facility possible for the animals they care for.
They care about reassuring pet parents that their dogs will be well cared for.
They have all the necessary space and equipment to take excellent care of your pooch.
Your pup will be secure and safe while you’re away.

Two – Can I Tour The Kennel?

You must always ask to tour the facilities. Just like you put in research when you book a hotel, you need to be equally as fastidious when you book a kennel. Therefore, you should look for the following:

Is the kennel odor-free?

A clean kennel will not smell because all urine and feces will have been cleaned up quickly and appropriately.

Is it loud or quiet?

Dog kennels will be noisy, but an extreme amount of noise usually signals that the pups are unhappy.

Are there enough staff?

There should be a 1-to-10 staff to dog ratio. The higher the people to animal ratio, the more individual attention your dog will get.

Are the living and playing areas clean?

Are there feces, urine, and debris? Or are the areas open and clean?

Do all animals have proper bedding and water?

The pooches should look content and stress-free and have both comfortable bedding and ample water.
If a kennel doesn’t let you take an impromptu tour, do not leave your pup there.

Three – What Will the Facility Do if Your Dog Gets Sick?

The kennel must have a procedure in place for dealing with small issues like diarrhea and broken toenails and more significant problems like medical emergencies. Ideally, they will ask you to pre-approve an amount for vet services. They should also know basic pet first-aid.

Four – How Knowledgeable Are the Staff?

Kennel staff, like the facility, are not required to be certified in animal behavior or training. However, what’s more, important than a certificate is the staff’s attitude and attentiveness. Good staff can tell you details about each animal under their care.

When you enter the kennel, staff should welcome your dog and take meticulous notes about your pup’s diet, exercise needs, medications, and any other pertinent information. Take note of whether they are patient, friendly, and seem genuinely interested in your pooch’s welfare.

Five – What Do the Exercise and Play Programs Look Like?

You must look at the package your kennel is offering. Some kennels have one playtime, whereas others don’t include any in their base fee.

Good kennels will have a system for playtime where they divide dogs by style, size, age, etc., to keep the pups safe and happy.

Dogs that need more exercise should get walked by a kennel assistant. So, if you own a dog that needs regular walking, make sure that the kennel offers this service and has enough staff to meet your pup’s needs.

Furthermore, not all kennels offer toys for your pooch to play with. So it’s important to find out ahead of time if you need to provide your own toys.

To Sum Up…

We know you love your dog, so you should plan where they will stay while you’re away as carefully as you planned your vacation. The most essential thing to look for when visiting different kennels or pet hotels is how the environment makes you feel. Listen to your gut. If you feel comfortable and you get along well with the staff, then there’s a high probability that your pup will feel at ease there as well. While no kennel can replace the feeling of home for your dog, it should come close. This way, you’ll be able to go on your trip knowing your pooch is safe, sound, and well cared for.


This is a very useful list from John. One that will provide guidance to everyone but especially to the new dog owners.

Thank you, John.

Starting to be sidetracked by stuff!

A bit of a topsy-turvy moment at present.

We are not going away until the 23rd. We are taking Brandy with us!

But it seems as though getting our ducks in a row is going to become a high priority this week.

Plus, I am pleased to say that I am writing my second book. I had a meeting with H. Ní Aódagaín during the week and she has set me on the straight and narrow, so to speak.

H. Ní Aódagaín

She has her website here and although she promotes herself as a writer she is quite an editor and writing counsellor. I had over 20,000 words already written but had got myself completely lost and confused. Under her guidance I believe I got myself sorted.All of which is to say that the blog is taking a slightly backward step between now and the 14th October. I’m not saying that nothing will be published but at the present time I don’t have a clue as to what I shall do!

Hope you understand!

Finally, there should be plenty of photographs to share with you at some time after we are back.

Dogs and holidays

What are the options for taking a vacation with your pet dog.

Regular visitors to this place will recall that exactly one month ago I published a guest post from Paige Johnson. It was called Divorcing One’s Vet and was well-received. I am delighted, therefore, to present the second guest post from Paige.


Rover-Friendly Vacations: What are Your Options?

The love Westerners have for their pets is known across the globe. We dress them, take them everywhere, feed them special foods, and refer to them as our kids. When considering a vacation, it can be difficult to contemplate leaving your fur baby at home or, even worse, trapped in a boarding kennel. The stress of worrying about your pet easily can cut into the relaxation a vacation will offer. Fortunately, there are several options for the doting pet parent. Here are a few ways you can handle vacationing and being a good parent to your pets.

Take Them Along

man-1181873_1280Pet-friendly vacations may be a little more restrictive than vacationing without your furry family member. However, if you are a pet owner who cannot bear the thought of being separated from your pet while on vacation, it may be worth the extra effort to plan a trip to a pet-friendly city like Austin. Traveling within the U.S. is easiest and cheapest for pet parents, particularly if the destination is within driving distance. Although, if you want to travel abroad, it is possible to take your pets with you.

To travel internationally with a pet, you must thoroughly check the country’s guidelines for bringing domesticated animals across the borders. Typically, you will need recent proof of vaccinations along with a pet passport. While certifiably healthy animals can sometimes pass borders unimpeded, many countries will require a quarantine period of 24 hours to several months. It is important to plan well and far in advance for international pet travel. Keep in mind that this option is bound to be more expensive than leaving your pet behind while you vacation.

Find a Pet Boarder or Sitter

A freelance pet walker, sitter, or boarder is far more preferable than boarding your pet in a kennel. Dog sitters give you the option of leaving your pet in the comfort of your own home with personalized attention, or dog boarders give you the option of leaving your pet in their home and ensuring they receive 24-hour care.

Research a Quality Kennel

Basic kennels will sequester your pet in their own small space with little interaction from caretakers or other pets. On the other hand, a quality kennel will be well-staffed, friendly, and ensure that your pet spends more time playing with other dogs than alone in a kennel. While a sitter is preferable, a good kennel certainly is an option, especially if they are centered around social interaction and quality care. Online reviews can be a helpful way to research a suitable boarding facility. It’s important to note that good boarders often will charge a little more than a sitter.

When your child is a dog or a cat, vacationing can become a more difficult and stressful activity than you originally thought. The guilt of leaving a pet at home can impede your ability to enjoy your vacation, particularly if you have to leave him in a kennel. Fortunately, there are better options to put your mind at ease. Whether you decide to plan a pet-friendly vacation or get a freelance pet sitter, you can rest assured that a relaxing, guilt-free vacation is in your future.

Image via Pixabay by msandersmusic


An informative guest post from Paige. Mind you, when one has nine dogs at home I’m not sure realistically just what the options are!