Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith
Whichever side of the fence you find yourself, dog owner or dog boarding business owner, the idea of placing dogs in a kennel requires some serious thought.
For the dog owner who travels for holiday or business, works long hours away from home and has limited personnel resources for care of the family pet in their home, the trip to put their beloved canines in a kennel can be an anxious time. Not to mention an expensive outing.
I recently took a two-week visit home to England to visit with my elderly parents. For decades they have done most of the travel back and forth over the pond, as my commitments to work, horses and family obligations have kept my opportunities for vacations at a minimum. The program now is reversed, as the trip is simply too arduous for them to manage.
The necessity to kennel our two black Labrador brothers, Monte and Carlo, for the duration of our more frequent trips away from home has become an unwelcome reality for my husband and me.
Our three grown kids live 3 to 4 hours away and are spread across the North East region. All are living their own lives with their own responsibilities and cannot come home to house sit on our behalf.
Not only do we return to find our dogs stressed out with inevitable loss of weight and muscle tone, our bank account is depleted before we even take flight with $700.00 plus in kennel expenses. I know that is a very good price. Monte and Carlo share a large kennel at the facility, and the kennel owner reported that when the kennel was packed, they would stop eating for 2/3 days at a time. Despite his efforts to entice them with peanut butter or wet dog food mixed on their dry rations, neither dog would eat until the kennel returned to a quieter environment.
Our dogs enjoy a very peaceful, quiet life in our home, and the canine cacophony and comings and goings, plus separation from us, is obviously not something they are ever going to be happy with no matter how many times they are subjected to it.
Like many people, for various reasons we don’t want to invite a house sitter into our home while we are away. If we invested in a residential kennel, we would certainly see the capital outlay returned in just a few years, based on our present amount of time spent away from home. It would be useful not just for longer trips away but also for weekends and overnight visits which might allow us to visit the kids more often as we can never take our dogs with us to their abodes as the kid’s households are already full with their own animals and young children.
Obviously, we would still have to pay someone to come in and take care of the dogs and visit with them several times a day while we were away. Fortunately, we have a large enclosed dog pen and Monte and Carlo could simply be let out to play while their kennel enclosure was cleaned (which probably wouldn’t be needed as they are house-trained/crate trained), and feed and water needs facilitated.
Our remote cameras could keep an eye on them at all times and feed information of their activity to our smartphones, wherever we were. Kennels can provide air-conditioning and heater needs, so weather need not be a concern. As we have two dogs, they would have each other for company. Not ideal, but perhaps for canines more used to quiet life it might be less stressful. It would be an environment they would know, which would also minimize the negative mental impact of change of location.
Costs and visits to the vet would also be reduced, as the need for constant vaccination would not be required as frequently. While we use a titer test before re-vaccinating our pets, many commercial kennels will not accept titer tests and require a battery of vaccinations before entry to the facility is allowed. While these requirements are completely understandable, the additional vaccines especially multiple kennel cough vaccines in a year can be onerous on the pet owner and for older dogs can add unnecessary health risks.
So, there are lots of good reasons that we should invest in a residential kennel.
Let’s take a look from the other side of the fence, the commercial kennel boarding business owner’s perspective.
If your present kennel operation is based out of old-fashioned concrete floored facilities, upgrading to a kennel construction of more modern materials can make a lot of sense. It cuts down on cleaning time and costs and can provide a healthier environment for the canines that arrive at your door. Overcrowding at any commercial kennel is a recipe for stress and upset for the visiting pets and the addition of a quieter ‘wing’ for more mature or mellow dogs can be a great sell for your business operation.
The boarding fees mentioned above can quickly offset the cost of a commercial-grade kennel. Financing is offered by many larger kennel building companies, so initial dollar outlay can be reduced. Amortization/depreciation of the entire cost is available from the date the structure is put into service. It is a great idea to talk to a tax professional if you have any questions, as given the tax benefits/options you probably don’t have to wait as long as you think to make that upgrade.
Provision of additional services such as grooming/bathing/training and large pen turnouts for exercise can yield extra dollars from each dog’s stay. The immediate use of a modular built kennel means the set-up is quick and easy. Making additions to the compound as you go is simple and straightforward so the development of your business can be planned out ahead.
Professional dog trainers often offer boarding to garner clients and add valuable income to their operation, and for dog breeders a boarding operation can help support their show careers. Provision of a separate structure for boarding canines is easily achieved without compromising the well-being of the show dogs.
Each incoming dog owner that brings in their pet for boarding is also a potential future customer for these other areas of business. If you’d like some tips and ideas from other professionals in the dog arena take a look at this case studies page.
A sincere advantage of a modular build is also its mobility. If you move location it can move with you. Changes of spouse’s jobs may require relocation, moves due to family needs or medical issues happen. We cannot foresee the future, so it is a wise choice to consider a transportable structure as opposed to a permanent build.
Whichever side of the fence you find yourself on, take a look at buying a home or commercial dog kennel. You can customize any design to suit your particular needs, and you’ll be able to enjoy your life better knowing that the dogs are safe and secure.
I know from a personal perspective I’d love to buy a dog kennel for Monte and Carlo. Now, if only I knew someone who could help me out with that!