Huge demand for dog kennel accommodation across Donegal

A BIG jump in the number of people travelling since Covid restrictions were lifted and an increase in dog ownership has resulted in a surge in demand for accommodation in dog kennels.
This week we spoke to kennel owners around the county about the rising demand. One owner said customers are coming from as far as Dublin and Belfast to leave their pets with them due to a shortage of kennel accommodation nationwide.
Amanda Faul, who runs Amanda’s Kennels and Cattery in Newmills, said they are extremely busy.
“People have saved up all their holidays and now rather than one holiday they are going on three. There are also an awful lot of dogs out there that were got during lockdown,” said Amanda.
“I always keep spaces for our regulars but we are pretty booked up for the summer.”
Amanda said she is seeing a lot more people using their kennels who are coming up from Dublin and flying out of Derry airport on their holidays. This is due to a shortage of accommodation elsewhere and because boarding kennels in Donegal are much cheaper than in the capital.
“There is also a lot from Belfast who are staying in Downings and Dunfanaghy and they are dropping their dogs on the way down,” she said.
“There has also been a big increase in cats. People are more aware of their pets now and they would rather have them looked after in kennels.
“We are telling a lot of people to make sure their dogs are vaccinated properly. We can’t take them until they are fully vaccinated. They also have to get the kennel cough vaccination which is not routinely given by vets.”
Amanda said it takes three to four weeks for dogs to be fully vaccinated so she advised anyone thinking of putting their pet in a kennel to get their vaccinations sorted a month in advance.
“Phone and secure your place, do that in plenty of time. If things change and someone gets Covid it is no problem to cancel.”
During the various lockdowns there was a sharp increase in the number of people getting dogs as more people were working from home. This has resulted in a lot of ‘Covid puppies’ that are not used to socialising with other dogs and other people. For this reason kennel owners are finding more people are bringing their dogs to daycare in order to help their pets socialise.
Jacqui Boyle, owner of Four Paws boarding kennels 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 but also her day care and cattery.
She believes it is very important dogs are socialised before they are put into boarding.
“This makes it a more fun and enjoyable experience so they can mix and play rather than being cooped up on their own,” she said.
“There are a lot of people phoning up and enquiring if we are fully booked. It is definitely a lot busier as a lot of people got pets during lockdown. People are now free and they are going away. Every opportunity they get they are going away and they are looking for somewhere for their dogs.
“Dogs are like their babies and they want to make sure they are cared for. It is great to see, they are part of the family.”
At her boarding kennel 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 kennel accommodation she too appealed to people to make sure their pet is fully vaccinated.
“One of the main things I would say is make sure the dogs are fully vaccinated,” she said.
“Some kennels will take them but I wouldn’t take the chance without being fully vaccinated. That is important because I do have to turn a lot of people away.”
Tania Carron from 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 and unfortunately we have had to turn people away,” she said.
Tania runs training classes and boarding and has been in operation since 2009.
She said this year has been extremely busy and because they run a small kennel they do fill up quickly.
“The vaccinations do need to be up to date. Because of Covid some people forget because they weren’t going away and let it lapse and they need to get that all sorted,” she said.
“I would advise people to plan in advance, check the kennel’s availability and make sure all of their vaccinations are up to date.”

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