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Kennel of the Future Survey Finds Pet Owners Want "Extras" …

dogAmericans really love their pets. When they take their best friends to a boarding kennel, they want the best care money can buy — including "luxury" accommodations and video monitors in their pets’ suites.

That’s the finding of the "Kennel of the Future" survey, conducted by Best Friends Pet Resorts between October 2001 and March 2002. The survey includes feedback from a total of 1,250 dog and cat owners who shared their ideas about the perfect boarding kennel.

The survey found that 41% of cat owners and 38% of dog owners would like luxury suites with raised beds, rugs and televisions for their pets. Even those pet owners not looking for luxury accommodations said they would pay extra for special amenities:

  • 50% would like a video monitoring service that would allow them to "look in" on their pets via the internet while they are away;
  • 37% would like a radio or television in their pets’ room or suite; and
  • 42% would like special bedding.

Some respondents requested soundproof rooms so their pets wouldn’t be disturbed by other boarding guests; others requested special treats and more personal attention.

First, love my pet
And, while all of these features are important, say pet owners, the "perfect kennel" will also have a staff that loves pets. "I want to know they really care about my dog. They would remember her name and greet her excitedly when we walk into the building. I want her to feel loved," said one respondent.

Dan Charleton, chief marketing officer of Best Friends Pet Care, isn’t surprised by the survey’s findings. "We’ve long known that people think about their pets as members of the family. And when those family members can’t be with them, pet owners want the highest quality care available with lots of personal attention."

What kind of special attention do pet lovers want for their dogs and cats when they are lodging away from home?

  • 85% want their pets to have daily one-on-one playtimes with a kennel staff member;
  • 79% would like their dogs taken for a daily outdoor walk; and
  • 53% would like their dogs to participate in a daily playgroup with other dogs.

Or, as one respondent said, "the perfect kennel would give lots of belly rubs."

Second, offer "extras"
Survey respondents also indicated that they prefer a boarding kennel that also offers grooming and other services:

  • 52% would like full grooming services (bath, haircut, nail trim) for their pets during their stay;
  • 39% would like their dogs to have obedience or agility training during their stay; and
  • 26% would like their pets to have a check-up with a veterinarian during their boarding stay.

Interestingly, despite the growing popularity of the internet, 71% of survey respondents said they want to make their pets’ boarding reservations with a live person – either over the telephone, or face-to-face at the front desk.

Of those responding to the survey, 1,184 own at least one dog and 401 own at least one cat. Of those, 291 own both a dog and a cat. The survey included questions on the type and location of facilities, services offered, preferences for making reservations, room size and special amenities. There was also a section where pet lovers could describe the perfect kennel in their own words.

More ideas wanted
"Researching pet lover opinions over the last decade helped us develop a completely new kind of boarding facility — a fully-enclosed resort with two-room doggy suites, four-story kitty condos, a hotel-style reception area and a computerized reservation system." says Charleton. "Now, as we begin to plan the next generation of pet care centers, we want to know what services and features are important to today’s pet owner.

"We are already putting the survey findings to use, developing and testing new services including a luxury suite for dogs." (Vacation Villas)

Charleton adds that Best Friends will continue to ask pet lovers for their input. "Any pet owner who has ever taken the family dog or cat to a boarding kennel has an opinion about how to make the experience better. They can share their ideas by taking our online Kennel of the Future Survey.