Dog owners planning their summer vacations are being advised to look for kennel accommodation for their pets as soon as possible as the huge increase in demand has led to a shortage of spaces.
Any kennel and dog minders have to turn away new customers because of the pressure of demand on their services.
A large jump in the number of people traveling since the lifting of COVID restrictions, increased dog ownership, and the closure of some kennels due to rising insurance costs are all cited as possible reasons for the spike in demand for existing locations. has gone.
“The problem of trying to find a place for a pet has been the ‘perfect storm.’ Many people got dogs during the pandemic,” said Donal Delaney of Beach Grove Boarding Kennel in Upper Glenmire, Cork.
“They are an asset to any family and some people got dogs to help with the covid loneliness. Along with this there are families who are trying to catch up on their vacations and see the ones they missed during the lockdown.
“This has led to an increase in demand for all kennel spaces.”
“We have about 30 kennels and we are not taking in new customers for June, July and August. We stayed about six or seven weeks ago.
“It’s tantamount to grooming appointments. In fact, we’re also playing other kennels in the area to see if they can manage some spillover, but they’re in the same condition as us.
“We used to have high demand in July itself, but this year it is different.
“Our advice to those who are moving away is to arrange accommodation now.”
“Do it tomorrow,” he said.
A recent CSO survey showed that one in five (20 pc) pet owners said they had acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic.
Alan Russell has been running West City Kennels and Cateries on Old Nass Road in west Dublin since 1988, and says he is turning down about 30 or 40 people a day who are looking for a spot.
“I have room for about 50 dogs and 40 cats, and I was telling someone a few days ago that we would all do business if six other kennels opened near me,” he said Irish independent,
“I’m full by December now. Some people are really trying to find a place for their pets. This is something that people need to sort out quickly.
“Pet ownership increased during the pandemic. I see that with the number of people with dogs when I am out on my own walks. It really jumped during covid.
“I think rising insurance costs are also a factor in many kennel closures. Now it can cost €8,000 to €10,000 a year, and I think some of the places that were closed during the lockdown will go away after I have not reopened partly due to rising costs.
“It’s hard work too. I walk about 20km a day around the kennel to take care of all the dogs, and even then I go outside and walk my dogs after that,” he said.
The DSPCA also runs a pet hotel and doggy daycare center in Rathfarnham, Dublin, and commercial manager Chrissy Mahone said she had never seen a year like this for demand.
“The summer was always busy, but we had time for training and cleaning, but now there is demand all the time.
“We have 52 individual suites that are all indoor and heated, and since the end of October last year, we have fully booked until August and we are also booked for Christmas and New Years,” she explained.
“We think the demand is because everyone’s calendars were affected during Covid.
“Some have not gone home for more than two years. Others have had to postpone their weddings and are now holding onto them, and even communications and confirmations have been shifted.
“We could do our daycare three times as much, the demand is so high, and we are doing more and more puppy classes than in pre-Covid times.”
One thing that’s important to Chrissy is the lack of regulation in the pet-minding industry. “Boarding facilities are not regulated in Ireland, so we advise people to really do their homework when choosing a place to put their pets,” she said.
The cost of keeping your dog in a kennel varies with the size of the animal and how many pets you are looking after.
The average sized dog will cost around €18-€20 per day, and pet owners can see that increase in the future as the cost of pet food as well as the energy costs associated with heating and grooming increase.
“A bag of food that cost €14 last year now costs €20,” said Mr Delaney of Beach Grove Kennels in Cork.
The DSPCA said it did not increase its costs this year because management knew people were already battling price inflation, but said it may have to re-evaluate prices next year in line with rising costs.
The lack of kennel spaces has led to an increased demand for dog keepers, who either take care of a pet in their own home or sit in the family home.
An online service called Pawshack, which has been set up to fill the gap in the pet-minded market, serves 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 from pre-Covid times, and we have 5,000 sitters in Ireland on our system,” said Poshake CEO Tangi Pearce.