Tag Archives: boarding

The Ark at JFK

Under construction at New York’s JFK International Airport is the world’s first all-animal airport terminal.

The facility, which will measure 178,000 square feet and cost $48 million, will be called The Ark at JFK.  Its developer, ARK Development, says the facility “has been conceived as the world’s only privately owned animal terminal and USDA-approved, full-service, 24-hour,  airport quarantine facility for import and export of horses, pets, birds and livestock.”

The terminal will be home to a 24-hour Paradise 4 Paws pet resort featuring a bone-shaped dog pool, pet suites with a flat-screen TV option, massage therapy and a jungle gym for cats.

What the bone-shaped swimming pool will look like at The Ark (courtesy of CNN)

What the bone-shaped swimming pool will look like at The Ark (courtesy of CNN)

For dogs and other pets on long-haul journeys, this facility promises to offer the highest standard in care.  Can’t wait to see it – it should be open in 2016.

Source:  CNN

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Kennels may not be something to dread

New research suggests that dogs who spend a short time in boarding kennels may not find it unduly stressful and – quite the opposite – could find the change of scenery exciting.

Photo courtesy of Jerry Green Dog Rescue

Photo courtesy of Jerry Green Dog Rescue

The research team, which included academics from the University of Lincoln, UK, University of Birmingham, Queen’s University Belfast and The Royal Veterinary College, measured a range of stress parameters in 29 privately-owned dogs – both at home and in one of three private boarding kennel establishments in Northern Ireland.

This study aimed to test the validity of a range of physiological, physical and behavioural welfare indicators and to establish baseline values reflecting good dog welfare.

Physical measurements included skin dryness, nose temperature, core body temperature and amount of food eaten. Behavioural measurements included spontaneous behaviours such as lip licking, paw lifting, yawning, shaking and restlessness. Physiological measures included stress hormones (corticosteroids) and epinephrine (adrenaline).

The study revealed that dogs have higher levels of arousal, colder noses and were generally more active in kennels than when they were at home.

Based on existing research it was assumed that dogs would show higher levels of stress in the kennel compared to the home environment.

The most widely used physiological indicator of canine welfare is urinary cortisol (hormone secreted following activation of one of the major stress response systems) and creatinine (chemical waste product created by the liver) ratios (C/Cr), which is considered a valid measure of acute and chronic stress in dogs. However, the reliability of this has been questioned.

The study revealed that C/Cr was significantly higher in the kennel compared to the home environment but cortisol levels have also been found to increase after exercise and excitement, and appear to provide an indication of arousal without specifying the emotional reason of that arousal.

Dr Lisa Collins, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK, said: “Many owners find leaving their dog at a boarding kennels a stressful experience.  However, this study suggests that although dogs appeared to have a higher level of overall arousal or excitement in kennels compared with their state at home, this arousal is not necessarily due to dogs experiencing kennels as negatively stressful. The emotional reasons for the behavioural and physiological responses of the dogs were ambiguous and no definitive evidence was found to suggest that dogs were negatively stressed by kennelling.”

“Our findings did strongly suggest that C/Cr, epinephrine and nose temperature are robust measures of psychological arousal in dogs. Nonetheless, these measures can be easily misinterpreted and do not provide unequivocal indicators of psychological stress. Findings appear to suggest that the dogs in this study did not perceive admission to boarding kennels as an aversive stressor and perhaps, instead, perceived kennelling as an exciting change of scene, at least in the short-term.”

The team recommends further investigation to determine the validity of measurements tested as indicators of acute and chronic stress in domestic dogs.

Their study has been published in the journal Physiology & Behavior.

Source:  University of Lincoln media release

Trends in US travel for dog owners

DogVacay, the online site the connects dog parents who need home dog boarding, pet sitting and day care with qualified caregivers, has released its second annual State of U.S. Pet Travel survey.

dogs and travelIt shows that dog parents still face obstacles when needing or wanting to travel.

For example:

  • 60% of dog owners say arranging accommodation for their dog adds complexity to travel planning
  • 34% of owners say they often struggle to find a pet sitter when they need to travel at short notice
  • 22% of owners have delayed or skipped a planned vacation because of challenges in arranging care for their dog(s)
  • 50% say finding a good kennel or pet sitter has affected planning for their vacation
  • Another three in ten (27%) say financial challenges such as kennel fees or paying a pet deposit at a hotel have impacted their vacation plans

Also, 46% of dog owners agree that worrying about their dog(s) while they’re away makes it harder to enjoy their trip (I admit that I worry about Daisy when I have to travel for work or vacation, even when I have made arrangements for her care with reputable caregivers).

What’s your travel story?