Summer vacation planning mode is back in swing, and while deciding how to include your pet in your vacation plans, some families may be considering the option to board their furry friend. In this edition of ‘Pet Talk,’ we’ll discuss the best ways to choose your pet’s home away from home.
While you’re away relaxing and having fun on your vacation, you likely want your pet to do the same. Make sure to take a tour of the facility that you are planning to use beforehand. For the comfort of your furry friend, you will want a clean, well-organized indoor facility with proper ventilation to eliminate odors. In addition, it is important to have air conditioning for proper and comfortable temperature control during the hot summer months, and likewise adequate heat when it is cooler. Another feature you may want is an indoor/outdoor dog run that is well kept and safe for your dog to play in.
While you are on the tour, it is also recommended to ask about the individual facilities for your pet, including whether everything is disinfected daily, what the feeding schedule involves, and if you need to provide your own food and treats, as well as if there are individual, clean places for your pet to lie down and stay at night. Most of the answers about the condition of the facilities will come naturally when you are on a tour, but if they do not, don’t be afraid to ask.
Make sure to ask about required vaccinations. Most kennels require updated rabies and kennel cough vaccinations in order to board your pet. Before choosing the right boarding facility for you and your pet, be sure they also have a medical plan in place and ask which veterinarian they use in case of emergency. In addition, ask if there are extra charges in case of care given to your pet in case he or she becomes ill, and find out whether the facility has insurance in case of incidents that could potentially lead to medical bills; this will ensure there aren’t any billing surprises upon your return.
Even if a boarding kennel is spick and span, leaving your pet can be a stressful experience for them. Making sure your pet will be physically and mentally stimulated while you are away is the key to keeping them happy and healthy. You will want to look for a boarding facility that provides a positive interaction and stimulation experience through different activities which may include walking, playtime, and maybe even food puzzles to keep them mentally stimulated.
Having a staff that pays individual attention to your pet can also be a great way to keep your pet content while you are away, and some dogs do best when having playtime on their own rather than in a group setting to get their daily exercise. If you’d like your dog to be included in group playtime, it should be separated by dog size and constantly monitored by a member of the staff to ensure safety. You may also want to see if you are allowed to bring your pet’s favorite toys during their stay to keep them satisfied. If your dog has special medical needs, it is important to make sure that the facility is supervised 24/7 in case an emergency should arise.
If your pet hasn’t spent much time at a kennel, we suggest starting with a few short stays before you leave them for an extended period of time. This can be a few half days of doggie daycare, or a single overnight stay before leaving them longer. Boarding is a different experience and can be a little stressful for most pets, which is why it is important to do a test run and make sure that you and your pet know what to expect from the stay.
When it comes to choosing the right home away from home for your furry friend, trust your gut and go with the place where you think your pet will be the most comfortable and happy. If you need any suggestions on recommended area boarding facilities, or would like to schedule an appointment to have your pet’s vaccinations updated before your trip, contact us at 701.757.3500.