The Top 5 Kennels in the World – Dogs First

The Top 5 Kennels in the World

I was over with the very appropriately named Aileen Woulfe in Switzerland last week doing a nutrition talk. Aileen runs Happy Dogs Aigle. Now, you might think you’ve seen some fancy kennels in your time, you’ve undoubtedly seen some pricey ones after all it’s big business, but when you drive up (and maaaaann it is up….intimidating driveway winding up through steep, vine-covered mountainside) you realise you’re entering another level. Aileen’s Alpine retreat for dogs instantly brought forth the following task of finding the world’s swankiest dog kennels (in no particular order as I haven’t had the pleasure of visiting any of the others bar Aileen’s…):

1. Happy Dogs Aigle, the Swiss Alps

Happy Dogs Aigle

(That “shack” in the background is essentially a spare shed. I’m not joking.)

As you scroll down through some of Aileen’s competitors below, what will quickly become clear is that some of the more “high end” luxury pet resorts include additions that the OWNER might find nice, including such vital additions as chandeliers, nail painting and blueberry facials. Sadly, when you dig into their “most basic packages” the accommodation is very basic and dogs are housed with”exercise breaks”. For me, this isn’t ideal. If I’m going to leave my dog in a high-end kennels, I want Duds running around, ideally in the fresh air, with all the groovy additions included. This is what Aileen and Ronan have done here.

Ignoring the fact these guys are Irish, making everything they do better from this point forward (absolutely no favouritism intended, of course) Aileen and Ronan’s four-acre place is located in the Swiss Alps. Not at the bottom with a view of some mountains from a window they can’t see out of, but actually on the slopes. The drive up, as I mentioned, is pretty exciting, and once there, my god. Aileen’s kennels are underfloor heated, ridiculously spacious (Swiss requirement, they care about dogs over there) and cosy. After that, though the dogs have the run of their Alpine retreat (they have forest and an actual waterfall). Stunningly beautiful with a laid-back ambience, dog numbers are kept low so attention is kept high. For example, Aileen takes them out each day through the Swiss Alpine mountain paths, as you do. Now she’s getting into fancy, fresh meals.

It’s so lovely and organic that when one of her clients moved away from Aigle, Switzerland, to Belguim, they drive back to Aileen’s to drop the dog off before going on holidays. That’s the sort of place it is.

Aileen charges a scandalously cheap €50 Swiss Dollars per night (don’t quote me on that as I made every effort to get those prices up) with no hidden extras. When you see what the others below are charging, and what you get, you’ll start to see the difference.

Also, if I could add, every chance they get Aileen and Ronan insist on filling you with local wine and melted Swiss cheese.

Pure heaven.

2. Paradise Ranch, Los Angeles, U.S.

Situated only 20km outside of downtown LA I’m not sure how much I need to say about this. Look at the pictures. It’s actually upsetting. I’m pretty confident his holiday is going to be considerably more luxurious than yours. Prices are a bit spicier ($64-$90) but…..look at it!!! They’re eating steaks!!! Check out the rooms here with their 3D virtual tour.

3. Jet Pet Resort, Vancouver, Canada

This place is unbelievable and has to be seen to be believed. It is an 8,000 square foot behemoth featuring private suites, courtyards, lounges, and spa amenities. The central courtyard is beautiful, laid like a little village. Two outdoor courtyards feature plenty of running space, pools (seasonal), cooling misters and climbing frames. They have a state-of-the-art, 100% chemical andscent free, central air cleaning system that allows us to clean, sanitize, and deodorize our entire facility. Even their water is high end, where “ordinary” water is transformed into the most effective natural commercial cleaner by infusing it with ozone. The dog’s day lounges feature plasma TVs, web cams and full client tracking so you’ll never miss a beat of their tale, should you need to check in on them! Needless to say they have their own “Pet Spaw” which offers “a tranquil oasis for baths, shampoos, and pampering”. The kitchen caters to individual dietary needs and preference. There’s also a separate cat lounge full of scratching posts, toys, and, of course, the essential plasma TV. Rates start from $34 per night for your basic package all the way up to “luxury” for $109 per night! It’s not a kennels, they state, it’s a resort!

4. The Famous Barkley Pet Hotel, U.S. and India

These guys are probably the most famous. They are building a luxury kennel empire, with Barkley Hotels in Cleveland, L.A. and two in India! Dogs are picked up in limos, suites include access to a spa and swimming pool, landscaped gardens with fountains and TV etcs. The cattery comes with a full view of a tropical aquarium so they can be teased by all the things they are unlikely to be fed by their owners!  While each dog is guaranteed 3 outdoor walks each day I have to say though, when you look at the cheaper rooms, they’re not great!!! Walls of walled in pets in a line is a recipe for barking and stress. No amount of plush bedding can make up for dogs mixing normally. Maybe they have that too but it’s not leaping off the page!

5. Oldetown Pet Resort, U.S.

Costing $9mil to put together, these guys are going after the VERY high end kennel market! From massages, ‘pawicures’, mud baths to blue berry facials (seriously), these collection of 3 resorts are going all out to target those dog owners with more dollars  than sense. Prices start from $70 (where a window is extra) and from there EVERYTHING is extra.

Dr. Conor Brady

After a doctorate studying the effects of nutrition on the behaviour and gut morphology of animals, five years with Guide Dogs as a trainer and supervisor, some success on Dragons Den with the finest raw dog food company and the last few years both writing and speaking on canine nutrition and health, I can say with some confidence that the pet food and drug industry cares not a jot for the health of your pet.
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