Choosing a Kennel or Cattery

Some of our NAWT centres are now offering pet boarding services as a way to raise additional funds, so we thought it would be helpful to give some advice on finding the right boarding establishment for your pet.

Whether you are going on holiday or have a sudden emergency, boarding establishments are one way to ensure your pet is safe and well cared for while you are away. However, do consider whether your pet will be comfortable in a boarding environment. This is particularly important for dogs who are reactive to other dogs or cannot be left alone, as they may well struggle in kennels.

Plan early

If possible, start the process of finding a suitable establishment well before you plan to be away, as good places get booked up months in advance. Recommendations from friends, family or local pet owners are always the best place to begin.


Once you have a shortlist, here are a number of things you need to take into account before booking:

  • The licence

Firstly, check that the establishment is licensed by the local authority. It is a legal requirement that all boarding kennels and catteries must have their licence renewed on an annual basis and premises not meeting the required standard will not be licenced. Check their insurance also, and good organisations will be happy to show you the relevant licences and certificates.

  • Security

Security is a key factor to consider because the last thing you want is your pet escaping or being lost whilst you are away. Ask if:

- there is someone on the premises at all times, day and night

- there is CCTV or other security measures

- if the animal accommodation is kept locked

- if the dogs have off-lead exercise and if so, is it in a secure paddock

  • Information requests

A good establishment will require evidence that your pet is up to date with its annual vaccinations, as well as flea and worm treatments. Some kennels may also require kennel cough vaccine. They should also ask lots of questions about your pet’s feeding, daily routine and any medical or behavioural issues to ensure they can give your pet the best care possible.

  • Plan a visit

Ask to visit the premises before you finally decide. This will enable you to get a feel for the place and if it is somewhere you would be happy for your pet to stay. A visit enables you to check the following:

- the security of the site

- the demeanour and experience of the staff - would you be happy for them to look after your pet?

- the accommodation itself, is it warm, clean, dry, secure and comfortable and the kennels or pens are not facing others

- do the cats have an outdoor area to the pens or where are the dogs exercised

If the establishment does not allow you to visit, then do not select it.

  • Ask about the routine

Find out about the daily routine for your pet and check it will meet their needs, especially in relation to exercising your dog. Moreover, check if the dogs are exercised individually or in groups as that may not suit all dogs.

  • Emergency provision

Ask about emergency veterinary arrangements, and about how you would be notified of any health issues. If you are local, ask if they can use your own veterinary practice. If your pet needs daily medication, check their procedures on how they ensure the medication is correctly given.

To find out more about boarding your pet at NAWT, visit or call your local centre.