"There are a lot of great kennels out there, but there are also some that don't do very well. That don't seem to take very good care of animals," explained Kevin Brasler of Checkbook.org.
The non-profit consumer rating service surveyed thousands of Puget Sound area pet owners about their experiences boarding their pets. Many kennels get high marks for pet care, but there are also complaints.
"A lot of complaints about dogs returning home who lost a lot of weight who acted strangely," Brasler said.
The best kennels have the same things in common. They're clean, with good ventilation to help prevent illness. They have good lighting so pets get the daily light exposure they need. The animals looked healthy, and engaged, not sick or lethargic.
Brasler recommends visiting the kennel in person during business hours. He adds that another very important thing to look for is a very engaged, attentive staff that looks like they know what they're doing and are happy to be there.
When you go to check out a kennel, experts say don't make an appointment. Drop in during business hours and ask for a tour so you can see the place under normal conditions. If your tour is delayed for an extended amount of time, or restricted to only certain areas or if you're told you must make an appointment, experts say that may be a sign conditions are not as good as they should be.
Checkbook.org is a subscriber-based service, but as a special courtesy, they've arranged for the full Kennel report to be accessible to KOMO viewers until March 19th, just enter your email address on the designated page.
Keep in mind just because a kennel does not get top ratings for both quality and price doesn't mean it's not good. There are many excellent kennels in this area- but you have to do your homework.