With Fall fast approaching many of us have vacations planned. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway to a mountain retreat, camping in the woods, an escape to the beach or much needed fall break from school. Of course, we all would love to bring our furry little friends along wherever we go but on some trips that isn’t always possible. In this post we’ll discuss how to choose a boarder and also include a few tips that will make the time spent apart as enjoyable as possible for both your family and your furry little sidekicks.
CHOOSING A BOARDER
- Ask for referrals. What better way to get information on the best boarders than by first-hand experiences? Ask your friends and family who they have used in the past and how happy they were with the overall care. Make a list of all of the referrals you receive and write down any pros and cons mentioned. Your veterinarian is also a great place to get recommendations as well.
- Pay them a visit. Visit each recommendation you receive in person. Find out if someone is on the premises at all times and if there is a veterinarian on call at all times. Meet and interact with the staff while you are there to get a feel for how knowledgeable and friendly they are. Be sure to pay attention to the level of cleanliness of all areas, the size of the enclosures and if there is protected, safe access for each animal to the outdoors. Also be sure to check that the facilities have air-conditioning and heating. Tour the entire grounds and ensure that fencing is in good shape and that the entire premises are clean and well maintained.
- Read the rules. Any good boarding facility will require that your pet is up to date on their vaccinations, but these requirements may vary by facility so be sure to get a list of any vaccinations required to ensure your pet meets any and all requirements. That way, you can make an appointment with your vet and make sure the appropriate vaccinations are given at least a week before your pet is boarded.
- Rooming arrangements. Make sure the boarding facility you are considering does not double up by putting two dogs in each kennel. If you have two bonded pups and there’s plenty of space to accommodate both in one kennel, you can ask if they can room together, but never leave your pet at a facility where they’ll make it bunk with a stranger!
- Prepare a copy of your pet’s daily routine. Bring a printed list of your pet’s daily needs. How often is it normally fed? How many hours does it normally play or spend outside? If your pet has any special dietary or health needs, be sure to include all your your pet’s special needs and be sure the facility is willing and able to meet all of these needs and that they are willing to administer any drugs and medications they require. Even if your dog or cat doesn’t require a special meal, ask if you can bring along your own food so your pet won’t have to change diets while there. By leaving a printed list with the staff this will make their job much easier and reduce any unnecessary stress to your pup by keeping their daily routine as unchanged as possible.
- Test run. If you are going to have to board your pet for a week or longer, you might want to do a “dry run” ahead of time by leaving it at the facility overnight or for a couple days. If your dog does well on the sleepover, it will probably be fine for a longer period of time. But, if it comes home stressed, dirty, or upset, you’ll know to look for another location.
- Book well in advance. Good boarding facilities book up fast, especially during holidays. Make all reservations well beforehand.
- Other important information. Be sure to leave the name, address, and phone number of your local veterinarian with the kennel, along with how and where you or another responsible person can be reached in case of emergency. Your pet should wear a collar with identification tags. You can also take the extra precaution of getting your pet a microchip before being boarded. Collars and tags can get lost, but if your pet has a microchip, it will be much easier to find if it happens to get misplaced while you are traveling.
KICK BACK AND RELAX
Now that you have done the leg-work you can travel at ease knowing your pet is well cared for in a clean, knowledgeable and safe facility being lovingly attended to by people you know and trust. In a great facility it can be as much of a holiday for your pet as your vacation is for you. Think of it as play-dates with new friends and visiting with people who are willing and able to give them all the extra love attention and care they will need while you are away. So kick back and relax knowing they are in safe, competent hands and enjoy your upcoming vacation stress and worry free!