At this time of year many families are planning summer vacations. Some of the vacations include your pets and other vacations just can’t. When you find yourself with the latter in mind, you need to find someone to look after your pet. You want to feel reassured and comfortable with the person(s) who are looking after your family member and want your pet to have a fun vacation as well.
Many times the term pet boarding (or a kennel) makes you think of a building with dogs in cages, but now a days pet boarding has come to mean much more such as in pet vacation stays. Many places are either in someone’s home, or out in the country where there is more space and more places to run. Many have ponds and doggie play grounds that your dog will be able to use every day. You need to think about your dog and what he or she would like to do. Some dogs prefer just hanging out with someone while you’re away. Other dogs (like Meesha and Miya) just love having 10 or more doggie buddies to play with.
Here are our tips on finding a qualified and professional pet vacation/boarder to care for your pet.
How to find a good boarding place for your pet
Ask a friend, neighbor, veterinarian, animal shelter, or dog trainer for a recommendation. These people know your dog and can help guide you to find someone that your dog will relate to and feel comfortable with.
You know your pet. If your pet has an aggression problem or is otherwise unruly, you need to take this into consideration when picking the right boarding place to fit your pet’s needs. You need to understand if a large boarding facility is what your dog needs or someone who pet sits in their home with no other dogs.
Once you have names, it’s important to do your own background check
Find out whether your province or state requires boarding kennel inspections. If it does, make sure the boarding place you are considering displays a license or certificate showing that it meets mandated standards.
After you have short listed your pet boarding facility, confirm that they can accommodate your pet for specific dates and can address your pet’s special needs (if any). If you’re satisfied, then schedule a visit. Its best to have a look at the place and bring your pet along to make sure that pet boarding facility is everything you want for your pet and that your pet is comfortable as well.
What to look for in a pet boarding facility
On your visit, ask to see all the places your pet may be taken. Pay particular attention to the following:
- Does the facility look and smell clean? Is there enough ventilation and light?
- Is a comfortable temperature maintained? Are resting boards and bedding provided to allow dogs to sleep off the concrete floor? Are the floors heated?
- Does the staff seem knowledgeable and caring?
- Are pets required to be current on their vaccinations, including the vaccine for canine kennel cough (Bordetella)? This helps to ensure your pet is protected from other pets.
- Does each dog have his own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run? Or if the area is a large yard, is it adequately fenced?
- What does the staff do for scheduled exercise or play sessions? Are all dogs able to play with each other? Is a staff member monitoring the play session?
- Do the outdoor areas have protection from wind, rain, and snow?
- How often are pets fed? Has the staff asked for your pets feeding plan? Have you been asked for your own food?
- How do they handle emergencies? If your pet gets sick what do they do?
- Are other services available such as grooming, training, bathing?
- How are the pet boarding rates calculated?
How to prepare your pet for being boarded
Now that you have chosen your pet boarding facility you need to prepare your pet for going there. Especially if this is your pet’s first time away from home. Ensure your pet knows basic commands and is well socialized around other people and dogs. Check with your veterinarian to make sure that your pet has all their current vaccinations.
If your pet is not accustomed from being away from you it’s a good idea to first board her or him during a short trip, like a weekend. This will help you in working out any problems before boarding your pet for an extended period.
Make sure you are prepared with all of your pet’s medications and special food (if any), your veterinarian’s phone number, and contact information for you and a local backup.
When you arrive with your pet at the boarding facility, remind the staff about any medical or behavior problems your pet has, such as a history of epilepsy or fear of thunder. After the check-in process, hand your pet to a staff member, say good-bye, and leave. Avoid long, emotional partings, which may upset your pet and you!
Finally, have a good trip, you know that your pet is in good hands and will also have a great vacation. On your return they will be happy to see you and want to tell you their tails of their time away!
If you have a favorite place you send your pets for their doggie vacations, we would love to hear about them. Leave your comments below.