Boarding your Pets

With many going out of town for the holidays without our pets, what arrangements should we make for our furry friends?

While many of us would love to bring along our pets, sometimes it’s just not convenient.  So, we find ourselves in a situation looking for someone or somewhere to board our animals while we are away.  Below are a few suggestions to think about when looking for a location. Boarding pets can be a source of stress for many people, but it does not have to be if you know how to choose the right facility. When you are beginning your search for a boarding facility, your veterinarian can recommend several in your area to help get you started. Before selecting one, visit the facility and find out some key information.  Boarding kennels should allow you to tour their facility and view where your pet will be cared for.

On your tour pay attention to several things: 
Are the runs/cages large enough for your pet?  Are the runs/cages clean?  Are the runs/cages secure in order to prevent escape of a pet?   Does the facility have a displeasing odor?  Are dogs given indoor/outdoor access?  Are dogs given a bed or platform to get them off the floor?  Are cats housed separately from the dogs?  If you are dissatisfied with any of the above components of the facility, you may wish to tour a different facility. A facility that has a strong odor may suggest improper ventilation or a lack of daily cleaning.   You should select a facility that requires appropriate vaccinations for all pets including the Bordetella (Kennel Cough) vaccine for dogs to help protect your pet.

Find out when staff members are present at the facility. If your pet has special needs or a serious medical condition, you may want to select a kennel that is staffed 24/7 so that your pet can be promptly taken care of should a problem arise.  When you are touring the facility, find out how medical emergencies are taken care of.  Some facilities have a veterinarian on call, while others transport the pet for care. If your pet has any existing medical conditions, make sure that the staff is able and willing to give medications and provide treatments for your pet.   It is important to keep your pet on its own diet while boarding to avoid digestive upset such as vomiting or diarrhea. You should ask about bringing your pet’s food because some facilities do not allow you to bring it and others charge an additional fee to feed your pet’s own diet.   Selecting the right kennel for your pet can take time, but it will keep them happy and healthy while you are away.