As much as pet owners may want to take their furry, feathered or amphibious friends with them wherever they go, sometimes it’s impossible to take them along. It’s important to make sure you do your homework when placing your pet to ensure they are in the best care when you go away. While families gear up for their summer vacation, Better Business Bureau has advice for pet owners looking for a safe place to house their animals.
In the last twelve months, BBB has received over three hundred (300) consumer complaints about pet sitters and pet boarding facilities, also known as kennels. Common complaints include disputes over billing and misleading contracts. Also common are complaints regarding poor treatment of the pet. Some owners reported their pets returned from boarding kennels severely dehydrated and malnourished or infested with fleas, ticks, and even maggots. Worst case scenarios include pets which became extremely ill from their stay at inferior facilities which resulted in lengthy stays at the animal hospital.
“Boarding your animals can be a high stress experience for both you and your pet”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “Choosing the right boarding facility will help you and your family have a more worry-free vacation.”
Consumers should use the following tips as a guide to finding a trustworthy kennel:
Ask for recommendations. Turn to friends and family members who own animals for recommendations on where they take their furry friend. Additionally, check out any recommendations at bbb.org to see their BBB rating and history of complaints.
Personally visit the facilities. Check for cleanliness and note the overall safety of the kennel and cages. If your pet is prone to running away, ask about steps the kennel takes to make the facility secure.
Ask about interactions between animals. Some kennels let animals play together while others keep them separate at all times. Make sure the facility requires that all entering pets have proof of immunization. Also ask about its policies regarding flea and tick control.
Take notice of the staff. Ask about the background and experience of company staff and take a few moments to see how they interact with the other pets that are being boarded.
Thoroughly read the boarding agreement. Verify it includes the feeding and exercise schedule as well as pick up and drop off hours. Some facilities offer bathing, nail trimming and immunization as additional services. Make sure these and any other additional fees, like medical emergencies or other care, are included in the agreement.
Have a backup plan. Make sure you have a local friend, family member or veterinarian you can trust in case of emergencies.
As is the case with other types of scams and unscrupulous behavior, a dose of common sense and an extra dash of caution is the best way to avoid becoming a victim.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit BBB online. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB Hotline at 903-581-8373.