Pet Boarding: The More You Know
Pet owners who travel with their pets are very lucky indeed, but sometimes the potential cost and stress involved can lead to other options. Asking friends or relatives to watch your pet may work well, but, like the 30 million other pet owners who depend on it, you may find that a pet boarding facility can also be ideal. However, not all pet boarding experiences are the same.
When trusting someone to care for your pet in your absence, you want to make sure the kennels are safe, clean, and comfortable. Many questions will begin to pop up, such as:
- Who is truly watching your pet and are they qualified to provide loving care in a safe, low-stress environment?
- Is care available around the clock? Is there 24-hour observation available (on-site or via video cameras)?
- Are daily communications with pet owners offered via email, phone, video, or text?
- Will your pet be closely monitored for stress, anxiety, or illness?
- How often will your pet socialize or exercise? Is play supervised, and are pets separated by breed, size, or temperament?
- Are sleeping quarters cozy and equipped with raised beds off the floor?
- Are cats kept apart from dogs?
Most pet boarding businesses are successful because the people running them love animals, but the quality of care varies from place to place. To prepare yourself (and your fur pal) for pet boarding, have the following at the ready:
- Get recommendations from other pet owners you know and trust. We’re also able to furnish you with some choices; just ask!
- Know what you want for your pet, and be prepared with a list of questions about what is included in the cost.
- Ask for references.
- Take a tour of the facility, taking notes on smell, noise, temperature, and overall look and feel. All areas should be tidy, waste-free, and inviting. Are all fences, gates, and entryways secure?
- Speak to as many employees as possible. What is their training or experience? If staff aren’t friendly or helpful, keep looking.
- Ask about emergency procedures.
- What happens if your pet gets sick or injured? Is there medical care on site? Having trained veterinary staff on hand can be invaluable, especially if your pet has special needs.
- If your pet requires specific medications or supplements, will they be given with accuracy?
- Look over paperwork closely before signing anything. Reputable pet boarding facilities will require proof of core vaccines and parasite prevention.
- Are there add-on services like grooming, training, wellness care, or special treatments?
- Will your pet be allowed to bring favorite toys, food, or bedding?
Prepping for Pet Boarding
Once you decide on the right place, bring your pet in for a positive introduction. Then consider the following tips for the big day:
- Exercise your pet thoroughly before dropping him or her off.
- Because your pet will take cues from your emotional state and react in-kind, try to stay calm.
- Don’t linger. A long goodbye can be confusing or upsetting.