Kennel Shortage: “Perfect Storm” is causing a serious shortage of space


Dog owners planning their summer vacation are advised to find kennel accommodation for their pets as soon as possible as the massive increase in demand has resulted in a shortage of places.

Kennels and dog sitters are having to turn away new customers due to demand pressure on their services.

A large increase in the number of travelers since Covid restrictions were lifted, an increase in dog ownership and the closure of some kennels due to rising insurance costs have all been cited as possible reasons for the rising demand for existing places.

“The problem of finding a place for a pet was caused by a ‘perfect storm.’ Lots of people got dogs during the pandemic,” said Donal Delaney, of Beech Grove Boarding Kennels in Upper Glanmire in Cork.

“They are an asset to any family and some people have dogs to help with Covid loneliness. Coupled with this, families are trying to catch up on their holidays and see people they’ve missed during lockdown.

“All of this has led to an increased demand for kennel places.”

“We have about 30 kennels and are not accepting new clients for June, July and August. We stopped about six or seven weeks ago.

“The same goes for nursing appointments. In fact, we’re even calling up other kennels in the area to see if they could handle some of the overrun, but they’re in the same position as us.

“We used to only have high demand in July, but this year it’s different.

“Our advice to people who are going away is to start looking for accommodation now.”

“Do it yesterday,” he added.

A recent CSO survey found that one in five (20 percent) pet owners said they had acquired the pet since the pandemic began.

Alan Russell has run West City Kennels and Cattery on Old Naas Road in west Dublin since 1988 and says they turn down around 30 or 40 people looking for a place every day.

“I have room for about 50 dogs and 40 cats, and I told someone a few days ago that if six more kennels opened up around me, we’d all still be doing business,” he said Irish Independent.

“I’m full now until December. Some people get really stressed trying to find places for their pets. It’s something that people need to sort out early on.

“Pet ownership has increased during the pandemic. I see this in the number of people with dogs I meet when I walk my own. It really jumped during Covid.

“I think rising insurance costs are also a factor in the closure of a number of kennels. It can now cost 8,000 to 10,000 euros a year and I think some places that were closed during lockdown have not reopened afterwards, partly because of rising costs.

“It’s also hard work. I walk around the kennels about 20km a day just to take care of all the dogs and after that I still go out and walk my own dogs,” he added.

The DSPCA at Rathfarnham in Dublin also runs a Pet Hotel & Doggie Daycare Center and commercial director Chrissy Mahon said she had never seen a year for demand like this.

“Summers were always busy, but we used to have downtime for training and cleaning, but now there’s demand all the time.

“We have 52 individual suites, all of which are covered and heated, and since the end of October last year we have been fully booked through August, and we are also booked for Christmas and New Year,” she explained.

“We believe the demand is due to all calendars being impacted during Covid.

“Some haven’t been home in over two years. Others had to postpone their weddings and are now catching up, even communions and confirmations have been postponed.

“We could do our daycare three times, the demand is so great, and we are always doing more puppy courses than before Covid.”

One thing Chrissy criticizes is the lack of regulation in the pet care industry. “Accommodation facilities are not regulated in Ireland so we advise people to really do their homework when choosing a place to house their pet,” she said.

The cost of housing your dog in a kennel will vary depending on the size of the animal and how many pets you care for.

An average sized dog costs around €18-20 per day, and pet owners could expect rising costs for pet food in the future, as well as energy costs for heating and grooming.

“A bag of food that cost 14 euros last year is now 20 euros,” said Mr Delaney of Beech Grove kennel in Cork.

The DSPCA said it has not increased its costs this year because management is aware people are already struggling with price inflation, but said prices may need to be reassessed next year in line with rising costs.

A shortage of kennel spots has led to a growing demand for dog sitters who can either look after the pet in their own home or sit in the family home.

An online service called Pawshake, set up to fill the gap in the pet sitting market, acts as a service to introduce families to potential sitters.

It now operates in 19 countries in Europe, Canada and Australia.

“We have seen demand in Ireland double since pre-Covid times and we have 5,000 sitters in Ireland on our system,” said Tanguy Peers, CEO of Pawshake. Kennel Shortage: “Perfect Storm” is causing a serious shortage of space

Fry Electronics Team

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