Travel is part of life and if you have pets, finding appropriate boarding for them is a must. This is my explanation for why you should not entrust your dog to Glenstar Kennels, in Canterbury, New Zealand.

At the end of 2016 I had work approval for a two-month trip overseas. Normally I would book accommodation for my dog at the SPCA boarding kennels (as when we had two-months repairs to our house following Christchurch’s earthquake). However, as this trip included Christmas/New Year, it was impossible to find a vacancy. I was happy to find a spot for my dog at Glenstar Kennels spanning the whole end of year period.

Sadly, after 2 months travelling I found a sad surprise when I went to pick up my dog. He was almost 5 kg overweight, which for a 27 kg dog is 20% of weight gain in 2 months. As an illustration, imagine if you were 75 kg and gained 15 kg in only 2 months.

I immediately wrote to the owner of Glenstar Kennels, who stated that “Whilst I do agree he has put on weight had he fed a cheap food and lost weight in the kennels I feel you would be more upset”. Well, a dog becoming overweight is not any better than a dog losing weight! Both situations lead to reduced animal lifespan. While I believe the quality of the food provided was probably appropriate, the combination of physical activity and food quantity was clearly inappropriate.

The New Zealand Animal Welfare Act 1999 and the Code of Welfare for Dogs 2010 (administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries), establish a series of minimum standards for dog care:

  1. Dogs need a balanced daily diet in quantities that meet their requirements for health and welfare and to maintain their ideal bodyweight.
  2. The amount of food offered needs to be increased if a dog is losing condition, or decreased if it is becoming overweight.
  3. The code of welfare for dogs applies in all situations, including temporary housing such as shelters, doggy daycares or day boarding facilities, and kennels

According to the schedule sent to me by Glenstar Kennels, there were 12 hours of contact a day when someone had access to my dog and 65 days to figure out that he was becoming overweight and take appropriate action. The photo below shows my dog’s increased girth as I tried to fit his harness as per the size when I drop him off at Glenstar’s facility on 9th December and his size on 12th February (after gaining 5 kg). There is a dramatic difference, well explained by the term negligence.

Poor doggio showing his change of girth after two months in Glenstar Kennels.
Poor doggio showing his change of girth after two months in Glenstar Kennels.

I am very unhappy with the level of care provided by Glenstar Kennels and the lack of a satisfactory reply to my written complaints. After 2 months away I had to take my dog to his usual veterinary to discuss his overweight, with the associated cost, so I could bring him back to good health. Dog and I have been doing our usual daily walks (as we did before the trip), and I have been very careful about his nutrition, so he can go slowly back to his optimal 27 kg.

Unfortunately, there is no compulsory regulatory body for dog boarding kennels that could enforce the Code of Welfare for Dogs. However, I feel that I have to write this review and make Glenstar Kennels negligence public, so other dog owners (and potential customers) are aware of their extremely poor service.

P.S. The owners of Glenstar Kennels also have another company: Star Pet Travel for pet relocations. They use Glenstar Kennels for their temporary accommodation. I wouldn’t use them either.