Huge demand for kennel accommodation across Donegal

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

Posted: 10:00 am May 15, 2022

A HUGE increase in the number of travelers since the lifting of Covid restrictions and an increase in dog ownership has led to a surge in demand for kennel accommodation.
This week we spoke to kennel owners across the county about the increasing demand. One owner said customers are coming from Dublin and Belfast to leave their pets with them due to a lack of kennel accommodation across the country.
Amanda Faul, who runs Amanda’s Kennel and Cattery in Newmills, said they are very busy.
“People have saved up all their vacations and now they go from one vacation to three. There’s also a lot of dogs out there that have been caught during lockdown,” Amanda said.
“I always reserve places for our regular guests, but we’re pretty much fully booked for the summer.”
Amanda said she’s seeing a lot more people using her kennels coming in from Dublin and flying in from Derry Airport on their holidays. This is due to a lack of accommodation elsewhere and because boarding kennels in Donegal are much cheaper than in the capital.
“There are also many from Belfast who stay at Downings and Dunfanaghy and drop off their dogs on the way down,” she said.
“There has also been a large increase in cats. People are now more aware of their pets and would rather have them looked after 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 also need to get the kennel cough vaccine, 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 kenneling their pet to get their vaccinations sorted a month in advance.
“Call and secure your place, do it in time. If things change and someone gets Covid it’s no problem to cancel.”
During the various lockdowns, the number of people adopting dogs rose sharply as more people started working from home. This has resulted in many ‘Covid puppies’ who are not used to socializing with other dogs and other people. Because of this, kennel owners are finding that more and more people are taking their dogs to daycare to help their pets socialize.
Jacqui Boyle, owner of kennel and cattery Four Paws in Kilmacrennan, said she’s seen a huge increase in dog owners contacting her ahead of the summer season. Not only has she noticed an increase in demand for guesthouses this year, but also for her daycare and cattery.
She believes it is very important that dogs are socialized before they are boarding.
“It makes it a more fun and enjoyable experience, allowing them to mingle and play instead of being cooped up on their own,” she said.
“A lot of people call and ask if we’re fully booked. It’s definitely a lot busier as a lot of people have pets during lockdown. People are free now and they are leaving. At every opportunity they move away and look for a place for their dogs.
“Dogs are like their babies and they want to be sure they are being cared for. It’s great to see that they are part of the family.”
Jacqui can take in up to 20 pets at a time at her pet boarding facility in Kilmacrannan, which she opened 11 years ago.
She offered some advice to pet owners looking for kennel accommodation and appealed to people to ensure their pet is fully vaccinated.
“One of the most important things I would say is to make sure the dogs are fully vaccinated,” she said.
“Some kennels take them but I wouldn’t take the risk without being fully vaccinated. That’s important because I have to turn away a lot of people.”
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’ve had to turn people away,” she said.
Tania runs training courses and boarding schools and has been in operation since 2009.
She said this year has been very busy and because they run a small kennel they fill up quickly.
“Vaccinations must be up to date. Because of Covid, some people forget because they don’t go away and let it decay and they have to fix all that,” 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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