Updated: Aug 6, 2020
Although at Pet Peeves we do not board your dog- I have been asked frequently how to choose a good home boarder so you can go away and relax. Someone to look after your dog in their home and this sounds great, your dog will be in a family home and going on nice walks.
So first thing first... They must have a license from their local council. I am very often asked why it’s necessary and the answer is simple – IT IS A LEGAL REQUIREMENT. You would expect your childminder to be licensed and inspected and caring for someone's dog, another important family member, is no different.
Home dog boarding has become far more popular in recent times largely through what we call mass boarders; individuals who board many dogs from different families, effectively using their home as a kennel. This type of service clearly needs to be regulated to ensure the welfare of the dogs being cared for. The license required to provide this service is likely to stipulate how many dogs the boarder is allowed to look after on their premises and outline measures for dogs from different families to be socialised prior to boarding. Plus all dogs being cared for need to have their own individual room to retreat to- this does not include a crate.
What things does the licence cover?
A home dog boarding
licence will cover the safety and security of the premises, indoors and outdoors, as well as the provision of paperwork, keeping a register of dogs boarding, the information gathered at the booking (vaccinations, microchip number), ages of any children at the premises, the insur
ance of the boarder & their experience with dogs – these are the most important aspects.
In the majority of cases an isolation room is needed to keep sick dogs away from others to ensure that any illness doesn’t spread. The Council officer must be confident that proper plans are in place to separate dogs if necessary and this is another reason for restricting how many dogs can safely board on a particular premises.
Is every home dog boarder licensed?
Unfortunately there are people who start up a dog care business without knowing what legalities are required. Sadly there are also some individuals offering home boarding who actively avoid licencing as they know that they are unlikely to receive a license or, more commonly, do not wish to pay and be restricted by the number of dogs they can board. In the instance of individuals, companies and agencies offering hosts, carers or "borrowers" to provide care for owners' dogs you would assume that they are very thorough in how they take these people on; physically vetting the prospective home boarder, inspecting their homes, ensuring that they are experienced with dogs and that they are licensed to provide a boarding service would all seem to be obvious. Sadly that is not always the case. There are a number of providers offering dog hosts, carers or "bor
rowers" who have not been inspected or licensed and shockingly in some cases the people they are suggesting to look after your dogs have no experience of ever owning a dog and just want to try it out!
Not having a license does have the added issue of potentially invalidating a home dog boarder's insurance policy.
You can check the license by asking to see it- it is just a piece of A4 paper that is provided to all licensed premises, and is frequently available via a pdf email copy.
Secondly always visit. Whether using a kennel or home boarder you should always insist on visiting the location your dog will be staying in and meeting the person who will be caring for him / her. No matter how busy they are your boarder should be able to find the time to do this. If you are told that you cannot meet the boarder prior to the board taking place I would be inclined to give that boarder a miss as it would raise too many question marks in my mind.
Thirdly validate the business. If there are no address details, only a mobile number and a vague reference to where they are based you should check with your Council to see if they have heard of that business & whether it is licensed. Many times you will find the answer is no. This again would raise serious concerns for me as there is no way I would ever allow Scrumpy to stay with anyone who is this guarded about their business.
Finally you should always check the qualific
ations and experience of the person and importantly ensure their views and values on dog care matches yours, for example training should only be through positive reinforcement and understanding there is no pack leader, what is appropriate play and what would happen if my dog has a toileting accident.
As the provision of dog care changes and grows in the UK, we as owners need to keep ourselves informed about things to make sure that we don’t get caught out. I hope that the above information has helped you to know what things you should look for when looking at boarding services for your dog.