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niceville
12-13-2010, 11:03 AM
As pet owners make travel plans for the holiday season, they want to make sure their furry and feathered friends are well cared for. Unfortunately, every year, Better Business Bureau offices across the country receive hundreds of complaints from pet owners about kennels.

Common complaints include disputes over billing, but also over mistreatment of their pets. Some owners say their pets came back from poor boarding kennels severely dehydrated and malnourished or rife with fleas, ticks or even maggots. Worst case scenarios include pets that became extremely ill from their stay at poor facilities which resulted in lengthy stays at an animal hospital.

“For many of us, our pets are like family; leaving them in the care of someone else can be nerve-racking,” said Norman Wright, president and CEO of your BBB|Northwest Florida. “Taking time to research kennels to find one you can trust will make your holiday travel less stressful for both you and your pets.”

When looking for a trustworthy kennel, your BBB recommends that as a pet owner, you:

Ø Check out the potential kennel (http://www.bbb.org/us/Find-Business-Reviews/)with BBB first to make sure they have a good track record.

Ø Ask your friends, neighbors, veterinarian or local animal shelters for recommendations.

Ø Personally visit potential facilities in advance. Check for cleanliness and offensive odors and note the overall safety of the kennel and cages.

Ø Ask what steps the kennel has taken to make their facilities escape-proof, especially if your pet is prone to running away.

Ø Ask how your pet may come in contact with other animals. Some kennels let animals play together while others keep them separate at all times.

Ø Ask about the feeding schedule, water accessibility and frequency of – or fees related to – exercise.

Ø Make sure the facility requires that all entering pets have proof of immunization and ask about their policies regarding flea and tick control.

Ø Ask about their hours for drop-off and pick-up and make sure you understand their billing policy.

Ø Ask what happens in case of a medical emergency or other unexpected situation.

For additional information and advice you can trust this holiday season, start with bbb.org (http://bbb.org/).