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Call for ‘better kennel conditions’

PET OWNERS are forking out huge amounts in vet bills to sort out the health problems their furry friends are suffering from after being kept in poor kennel conditions, according to a new survey.
Dog owners are paying a collective £46 million throughout their pets’ lifetimes for poor kennel conditions, a new study by Direct Line Pet Insurance claims.

Around 300,000 dogs have had to visit the vet because they've become poorly after staying at sub-standard establishments. Each vet visit costs about £150 and of course their owners are footing the bill.

The unsatisfactory conditions of kennel have been highlighted and animal lovers are worried at figures that show that 12% of dogs became ill, while 4% sustained injuries from their time in the kennels.

And this is despite the fact that the vast majority of dog owners said they had taken a look at the kennel before booking their pet in to make sure that it was of a good standard.

A third even made visits to several kennels and picked the one they thought was best for their dog. But the same number are finding that not enough attention was paid to their dog during its kennel stay, with 20% finding their pooch got little exercise.

Leading vet Peter Eastwick-Field said: "We believe too many boarding establishments are falling below acceptable standards in basic care – for instance very few dogs are even getting enough exercise during their stay.

"On average, we see 1 to 2 dogs a week in the practice during the summer months as a result of time spent in the kennels. Vomiting, diarrhoea and kennel cough are a few of the illnesses commonly related to boarding establishments."

Following on from Direct Line’s research, the Pet Care Trust have issued some useful tips on how to ensure you choose the right holiday-home for your pet.

10 key points -

• Visit the kennel before you book and ask to have a look around the facilities

• Talk to the staff to find out more including the daily care routine

• Check the facilities are clean and tidy

• Check that there are opportunities to exercise, for example walk, or play sessions, or time in a run

• Find out if the kennel provides grooming appropriate to the coat type

• Ask if special diets are catered for

• Find out whether staff are trained to administer medication for dogs, for example, for illnesses such as diabetes

• Check that the premises are secure and safe to prevent escape

• Look for the logo to see if the kennel is a Pet Care Trust member. This means they will be signed up to the boarding kennels and catteries charter which includes a conciliation service. Unsatisfied customers can then bring a complaint against the member if service falls short

• Remember, kennels can offer peace of mind - your pet will be cared for by professionals 24 hours a day

In November 2005, the Pet Care Trust surveyed 3,135 kennels and catteries across the UK to produce its State of the Sector Report for Kennels and Catteries. Over 90 percent believe kennel and cattery owners should have to show competence through qualification or relevant experience.

Meriel France, the PCT’s Education and Animal Care Manager commented: "This is one issue the Pet Care Trust wants to see acknowledged during the debate in the House of Lords. Every kennel and cattery licence holder should have to demonstrate they are suitably qualified or have the right level of experience to manage their business effectively", Meriel France, Education and Animal Care Manager at the Pet Care Trust commented.

The survey also discovered that the average experience kennel staff have in the boarding sector is 12 years 9 months.