Most of us eagerly count down the days until our vacations and make lists of everything we have to do before we leave. For pet owners, the most important thing we need to do is to find a safe and happy place to board our faithful companions.
Here are few things to keep in mind when choosing the right pet-boarding option for your pet!
Cost will be an important factor. Ask about whether food and exercise is included. Often there are additional costs depending on the services needed. For instance, if your pet requires medication, there may be an additional cost involved to administer meds.
Make sure to keep copies of all pet-related paperwork you leave with your pet caregiver. Most private and commercial pet boarding facilities require proof of vaccinations against common pet illnesses, such as kennel cough, rabies, or parvo. Some require proof of heart worm and flea/tick protection. If your pet requires medication, make sure to leave the medication in its original, clearly-marked packaging. You may also ask if the caregiver can supply certain medications if needed, such as ear drops.
Private options include having someone come to your house or taking your pet to a private home for care. Many times, the cost for someone coming to your home is the costliest, since you may hire someone who provides multiple services. It is not uncommon for pet sitters to water the plants or take in the mail, in addition to caring for your pet. When looking into a private home setting, make sure to ask if the caregiver will be present all day and whether your pet will have access to a doggy door or a kitty litter pan. Also inquire as to whether your pet will be allowed on furniture, and find out how much time the caregiver can devote to play. Finally, ask how many additional pets will be in the home. A visit to the home to introduce your pet may make you feel more comfortable about leaving your pet. You will also want to obtain several references.
Commercial boarding facilities are also an option. Make sure to visit the facility and watch the interaction between the caregivers and the pets. Does the facility appear to be clean and do the pets have access to water? Ask about disinfection processes and air purification procedures that keep your pet from catching kennel cough or becoming sick with an airborne infection. Also ask about the pet-to-caregiver ratio and amount of time the pets are kept in their kennels. Often there is an additional cost if your pet has access to play areas or outside runs. You may want to inquire about grooming options if your pet will need to be groomed over the vacation.
Each pet has its own unique quirks. Make sure that the caregivers are aware of those quirks when boarding your pet. For instance, if your pet prefers females, make sure that the facility is aware that your dog may nip at a male caregiver. Also alert the facility if your pet needs to be kept away from other pets or breeds. Even though a facility may offer food, you may prefer your pet to continue with their usual diet. Make sure to pack enough food to ensure there will be enough for the entire stay. Finally, make sure to pack your pet’s favorite bed, blanket, or toy, and be sure to label all his items.
Remember, when boarding a pet, you have choices. Finding a good care provider will ensure that both you and your pet enjoy your vacations!