I would never leave my dog anywhere that I had not personally seen with my own eyes. That’s my first bit of advice.
There are a few nice kennels around that have excellent track records, and a few others that are new and just getting started. So, it’s best to go and check them out. Don’t wait either; the better kennels fill up over the peak holiday and home leave periods.
If you dog is old, ill, takes several medications or has a condition that has to be closely monitored. Consider boarding at your vets. Their facilities may not be as fancy, but if you have an old pet that mostly sleeps, or is not so active then that may be the best place for them. Your vet will be familiar with their medical record and can adjust medication or provide treatment if necessary.
Here is my list of what I would check for as I look at a potential place to board my dog/s;
What do they feed the dogs? When you go out to look at the kennel, do you see evidence of the dog food they say they feed? Ask to see the food stores and the food prep areas. Are the bowls clean, are foods properly stored? Dry foods should be stored up off the floors and preferably in tubs or drums with tight fitting lids. If you are supplying your own food, is it clearly marked with your name or your pet’s name? If they feed a cooked diet; what are they cooking and are foods properly stored (refrigerated if necessary) and are flies being kept under control? Do you see any evidence of dogs with fleas or ticks at the kennel, or parasites in runs?
If you have made an appointment to see the kennels, then you should see absolutely clean, feces free runs and full water bowls. Food areas should be clean and tidy. Kennel runs and food areas should also be relatively fly free. If they aren’t, you should take that into consideration since they were expecting you!! What happens on a day to day basis if no one is visiting?
I would ask about the feeding and exercise schedule. Will your dog be let out of its run for exercise? How often, for how long and also will they play with other dogs? Will they be supervised while playing with other dogs?
What is their procedure for a dog that is suspected to be ill or need medical treatment? Is there a vet on site, if not which vet do they use or will they call your vet? You want to be sure they will use a proper vet. Will they give your anti flea/tick medications, deworm or bath on your schedule if you are away for a significant period of time
I would also want to know if the owner/proprietor live on the premise full time or do they leave staff to run it. How many staff are present and how long have the staff worked there? Have a look while there and see if the staff really seem to like and be comfortable with the dogs.
You should ask if may bring your dogs bed, basket or blankets or bedding. How about leash, collar and toys?
If the kennel is transporting your dog, be sure to ask how they are being transported. What type of car, if they are riding in crates or loose. How many stops will they make along the way or will your dog be picked up and directly go the kennels?
Be sure to leave a phone number where you or some responsible person can be reached in case your dog needs vet care or some emergency crops up. There was an instance where a kennel owner passed away unexpectedly and the animals needed to be moved to another facility. One owner had sent their dogs with their driver and the driver left his cell phone number not the owners. After dropping the dogs, the driver promptly went out of Nairobi on his leave shutting off his phone. It took several weeks to figure out who the dogs belonged to and they could not be reached. Imagine their horror when they arrived to find out the kennel owner had died and the dogs had been moved elsewhere. In this case the dogs were moved to another reputable kennel and been properly cared for, but it must have been a heart stopping moment for the owners.
By Caroline Putz.
Do NOT buy any pets from the roadside! Puppies purchased at the side of the road sometimes live for only a few days. There have been cases of people buying puppies and finding out later they have exposed their families to various dangerous diseases including RABIES.( Rabies is ALWAYS fatal if left untreated and can be spread via saIiva from an infected mammal and open wound, it does not have to be an actual bite) . It’s also illegal to buy wild life (turtles, birds) as all wildlife belong to the government of Kenya.
These days the puppy sellers/puppy millers/puppy farmers are going high tech making it easier to fool you! Instead of standing on the side of the road selling puppies they have slick websites and FB pages. Look carefully at the websites and see the conditions of the dogs. I recently saw someone try to sell a small mixed breed puppy for 25,000 KES. The puppy was pictured on the website standing in a rubbish pile, eating from said rubbish pile! The website was slick and many of the photos used on the website to advertise their various grooming and boarding services were slick, but probably copied from the internet. The same breeder has been warned by the EAKC (East Africa Kennel Club) against using photos of EAKC show winning dogs on his website that doesn’t own but infers that they are his dogs or dogs he is breeding from! When dealing with a breeder or a potential breeder, get their names, kennel affix names and call the EAKC and find out if their puppies are registered dogs or if they are members in good standing in the EAKC. Don’t buy dogs from them even if they are registered, if the dogs are in poor condition. Dogs kept locked in boxes as puppies are notoriously hard to housetrain. Unsocialized, abused dogs can turn out to be unreliable family dogs in the long run.
If you work at an NGO or Embassy, check the bulletin boards for families leaving behind pets. Look on the bulletin boards at vets offices, check the school boards and websites, too. If you have small children, you might even find a dog that has lived with similar aged children. (If you have small children, the dog’s temperament should be considered over the preference for a certain breed)
East African Kennel Club
0734 650 213 or 020 209 2319 Hours Mon-Fri 10:00-2:30
They also have FB groups for;
Labrador Retriever Club of East Africa
German Shepherd Dog League
KSPCA, Langata Road
020 243 0318 or 020 240 4837 Hours Mon-Fri 9-4 and Saturday 9-1
EMERGENCY or AFTER HOURS 0733 571
Why do I want a dog? Do I intend to breed or show?
How much money do I want to spend? What kind of dog would suit my lifestyle?
Do I know how big the dog will get when fully grown?
Will I take the dog with me when I leave Kenya?
Do I know how much it will cost to ship a dog to another post and/or quarantine boarding?
Do I know how much grooming it will take to keep a coat clean and tangle free?
Do I know how much time, effort it takes to raise & train a puppy to adulthood?
Do I know how much it will cost to feed and take care of veterinary requirements?
Do I have enough time / energy for a dog with my family & work requirements?
Do I know what the dog was bred to do, if a purebreed? I.E. their jobs; herding, hunting, guarding, vermin hunters, companions etc. This will determine requirements for raising & training the breed of your choice.
Have I researched the various genetic problems associated with my breed of choice? Hip Dysplasia, Dermoid Sinus, Elbow Dysplasia, Epilepsy, PRA (Progressive Renal Atrophy) these are just a few health problems that can be genetic and passed to the puppies.
The East Africa Kennel Club (0734 650 213) www.EastAfricaKennelClub.com is a great place to seek guidance to find a pure breed dog in Kenya. The EAKC can tell you which breeders currently have properly registered litters available. Many dogs that are advertised on bulletin boards at the shopping malls are not properly papered to be registered or shown at the East Africa Kennel Club or eligible for export papers. Don’t be fooled by a fancy name either, DoberDanes or St Weilers are not breeds, just made up names for crossbreeds. If you buy a dog with a fancy name but no Official Registration Papers, you have an expensive shenzi (mutt) If papers are not important to you, then by all means go to the KSPCA (020 243 0318) (They also have a Facebook page now with adoptable dogs and cats) where they have many, many great dogs awaiting new homes. However, if you are willing to buy a pedigreed dog, please get your monies worth. A cheap dog is not cheap in the long term; a dog with the blue registration or Class 1 Registration (meaning they have been bred from parents that have been X-rayed for hip problems and scored well) will be far less likely to require expensive pain medication or hip surgery. A dog that comes from a long line of correctly tempermented dogs will be less likely to cause injury to a child or family member.
TheKennelClub.org.uk has a great website with a section for Breed Standards that will tell you a bit about the breeds you may be interested in. (temperament, size, grooming, and exercise requirements)
The American Kennel Club also has a great website www.akc.org with similar info on breeds and their requiements, and a great section on choosing a good breed match for you family.
A good breeder will allow you to see all of the puppies, (even if some of them are already spoken for) and one or more of the parents. Both the parents and puppies should be clean, and in good condition. Take note of any other dogs in the compound as well, they should all look healthy!
The area where the dogs are kept should be open to you as well. It should be clean, and well lit. If a breeder wants to bring a single puppy to you at a petrol station or shopping mall, (ostensibly to save you along drive) beware!
The breeder should have vet records for the parents and the puppies. This should include vaccination records, de worming dates etc. (The vaccination record booklet should now have a vets stamp with his/her name and Kenya Vet Board number on it) They should have the Official Registration papers for pup’s parents, showing they are properly registered with East African Kennel Club, and the pedigree (family tree). The breeder should be willing to help you get the proper paperwork and fill it in, and submit it for your pup to be properly registered. The breeder may not charge you extra for registering the puppies or the transfer from the breeder to the new owner. That is covered when the litter has been registered with the East Africa Kennel Club. The breeder should also have a “new puppy information pack” to give you that includes indicating how the pups should be fed after they are weaned and are ready to go to their new homes, and dates of follow up vet care required. (Vaccinations and deworming) as well as other useful information.
The breeder should ask you questions about your dog experience, how you will raise, train and socialize the pup. It should feel like an interview. A good breeder is not out to just sell puppies but to improve the breed, educate people and ensure their pups get good homes!
And last, if you know of a dog being left behind and looking for a home, please contact me directly. I keep a list of dogs looking for homes and try informally to help find good homes for them.