Huge demand for dog kennel accommodation in Donegal

Jacqui Boyle of Four Paws Animal Hotel, pictured with Suki.

Posted: 10:00 am May 15, 2022

A BIG increase in the number of people traveling since the lifting of Covid restrictions and an increase in the number of dog owners has led to an increase in demand for kennel accommodation.
This week we spoke to kennel owners across the county about the growing demand. One owner said customers are coming from as far away as Dublin and Belfast to leave their pets with them due to a nationwide shortage of kennels.
Amanda Faul, who runs Amanda’s Kennels and Cattery in Newmills, said they were extremely busy.
“People have saved up all their vacations and now instead of just one they are going on three. There are also a huge number of dogs that have been captured during the lockdown,” Amanda said.
“I’m still saving places for our regulars but we’re pretty full for the summer.”
Amanda said she sees a lot more people using their kennels who come from Dublin and fly out of Derry Airport on their holidays. This is due to a shortage of accommodation elsewhere and the fact that boarding kennels in Donegal are much cheaper than in the capital.
“There are also a lot of Belfasts who stay in Downings and Dunfanaghy and they drop their dogs on the way down,” she said.
“There has also been a big increase in cats. People are now more aware of their pets and they prefer keeping them in kennels.
“We tell a lot of people to make sure their dogs are properly vaccinated. We cannot take them until they are fully vaccinated. They should also get vaccinated against kennel cough, which is not routinely given by veterinarians.
Amanda said it takes three to four weeks for the dogs to be fully vaccinated. So she advised anyone considering putting their pet in a kennel to have their vaccines sorted a month in advance.
“Phone and secure your accommodation, do it well in advance. If things change and someone catches Covid, it’s no problem to cancel.
During the various closures, there was a big increase in the number of people with dogs, as more and more people worked from home. This has resulted in many “Covid puppies” not used to socializing with other dogs and people. For this reason, kennel owners are finding that more and more people are bringing their dogs to daycare in order to help their animals socialize.
Jacqui Boyle, owner of Four Paws kennel and cattery in Kilmacrennan, said she has seen a huge increase in dog owners contacting her ahead of the summer season. She has not only seen an increase in demand this year for boarding school, but also for her daycare and cattery.
She believes it is very important that dogs are socialized before boarding.
“It makes for a more fun and enjoyable experience so they can mingle and play rather than being cooped up alone,” she said.
“There are a lot of people calling and asking if we are full. It’s certainly a lot busier as lots of people have pets during lockdown. People are now free and they are leaving. Every time they get the chance, they go out and look for a place for their dogs.
“Dogs are like their babies and they want to be looked after. It’s great to see they are part of the family.
In her boarding school in Kilmacrannan, which she opened eleven years ago, Jacqui can accommodate up to twenty pets at a time.
Offering some advice to pet owners looking for a kennel, she also called on people to make sure their pet is fully vaccinated.
“One of the main things I would say is to make sure the dogs are fully vaccinated,” she said.
“Some kennels will accept them but I wouldn’t take the risk without being fully vaccinated. It’s important because I have to refuse a lot of people.
Tania Carron of Academy Dog Training & Boarding Kennels in Rathmullan said people are booking as early as January and February for the summer months.
“June, July and August are very busy months and unfortunately we have had to turn people away,” she said.
Tania runs training and internship courses and has been in business since 2009.
She said this year has been extremely busy and because they run a small kennel they fill up quickly.
“Vaccines must be up to date. Because of Covid, some people forget because they weren’t leaving and let it go and they have to sort it all out,’ she said.
“I would advise people to plan ahead, check kennel availability and make sure all their vaccinations are up to date.”

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Posted: 10:00 am May 15, 2022

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