Photo courtesy of Christy Leach of BonBon Chihuahuas
Making the Decision
The thought of putting your Chihuahua in a kennel can seem daunting. Kennels have somewhat of a bad reputation; however not all kennels are the same and dog hotels are the newest trend. If you are struggling with the question of whether or not you should put your Chihuahua in a kennel, this section may help you weigh the pro's and con's.
A circumstance may arise in which you have no alternative but to find a suitable kennel or facility for your dog.
While your pet may fair better with friends or relatives, if you have no choice you certainly can plan ahead so that your Chihuahua will be as happy and comfortable as possible.
Many dog kennels will be a facility which will have an outside area for the dogs to run, play and eliminate and of course, an indoor area for the dogs to sleep.
You will want to visit potential kennels to find the one that will be best for your dog.
Since your Chihuahua is so tiny, this plays a huge factor is deciding which kennel will be the safest and most comfortable.
Elements to Look for in a Kennel or Hotel for Your Chihuahua:
A clean and tidy kennel
No over crowding
The dogs look clean and well taken care of
The elimination area is outside and separate from the play area
Feces are promptly picked up and dogs are not allowed to go near another's (this is how worms - among other things- are contracted
Plenty of staff, one person can not possibly appropriately take care of 20 dogs
Fencing to keep large dogs away from smaller dogs
Fencing to keep males and females separate so that you do not find yourself with an expectant female Chi (if she is not spayed)
Look to see what type of food they have on supply, it should be high quality and there should be different formulas for various sized dogs in case an unforeseen event happens to the food you give to them
Staff that are experienced; preferably in canine CPR
Quite areas for dogs that are not used to loud noises
Staff that remains overnight with the dogs
Assurance that taking a photo of your dog - on a regular basis - and sending it to you is not a problem.
References of past, happy customers (don't be shy to actually call or email someone who offered to be listed as a reference.
While it is polite to make an appointment, stopping unexpectedly has it benefits as you may be able to spy elements that may be changed when owners are due to visit. If possible, see 2 or 3 different facilities before making a choice.
The Difference Between a Dog Kennel and a Dog Hotel
While any place can call themselves a canine hotel, in general, a dog hotel will have amenities that are not commonly found at a kennel.
This may include:
Private suites for each dog (though do not expect these to be very large) - Some hotels will have shared areas or private areas with different rates for each
Full, floor to ceiling walls - In any sized boarding facility, the noise of barking and playing can be quite overwhelming for any dog that is not used to being around so many other pets. With this type of set up, a Chihuahua can have a buffer from all of the commotion.
Special services - A hotel may offer special areas such as open-aired playgrounds or even one-on-one care which would be very similar to having an individual pet sitter.
In many cases, the prices will be much higher than kennel rates; but if you choose the right facility, your dog will be pampered at a quality canine inn. However, do proceed with caution, checking things out before making a commitment and following the check list as listed above.
Great dog hotels will have experienced staff who's job it is to make a pet as comfortable as possible and your Chihuahua should be treated with extra care. While he or she will still miss you, you can have piece of mind that at a reputable doggie hotel, your Chi will be happy and safe.
Two very silly Chihuahuas
Photo courtesy of Jane Mongold of Chihuahuas Heaven
How to Prepare
Whether you choose a nice kennel or a dog hotel, you will want to bring some items to keep your Chihuahua as happy as possible:
The dog food that you always feed your Chihuahua. While some places will offer to supply the food, this breed does not do well with quick changes to the diet and additionally, a finicky eater may resist meals.
A piece of your clothing (shirt, etc.) that has your scent on it
The name and number of a person you can trust in case there is a question or emergency and you cannot be reached
Don't hesitate to call on a regular basis to see how your dog is doing and if the facility is running late on sending you a photo of your Chi (this should be done daily) be sure to call and inquire about it.