Terrier Dog in SuitcaseIf you are anticipating heading out on your much-needed summertime vacation, now is the time to think ahead about your plans for your pet. It would be nice, of course, to take Mittens with you on your journey, but oftentimes pet travel presents too make risks to safety and well-being. Pet boarding, in many cases, is the safest option, and can even provide enrichment for a lonely or bored fur friend.

But, where do you begin?

About Your Pet

Back to Mittens… Before you decide on the right kennel for your pet, the best place to start is with your pet. That is, take the time to assess how easily your pet will adjust to boarding, the type of pet you wish to board (it’s much easier to find a dog kennel than, say, a place that will accommodate your iguana), whether your pet has been boarded before, behavioral issues, health issues, and so on.

These factors will help you prequalify possible boarding facilities and choose the right one that can provide the best care for your pet and her unique needs.

Scouting Out the Best Boarding Options

You will also want to schedule some time to tour each possible facility at least a month in advance of your travel date. Since websites cannot convey the actual odor, noise level, cleanliness, and general atmosphere of a kennel, an in-person visit will provide more clarity.

Important ingredients in quality boarding include:

  • Clean, well-organized, spacious accommodations
  • Core vaccination requirements, as well as Bordetella and negative parasite screening
  • Opportunities for exercise, affection, and socialization
  • Knowledgeable, trained staff
  • A solid plan for dealing with pet emergencies or health issues
  • Great references (check them!)
  • Open, friendly, and consistent communication
  • With information you gathered about your pet, you can also ask questions around any challenges your pet may experience or special requirements, such as dietary needs.

    Preparing Your Pet: A Pet Boarding Checklist

    Now that you have selected your facility and the date of departure is near, you can prepare your pet’s daily care needs, as well as those things required to board.

    Generally speaking, you will want to pack the following items:

  • Your pet’s health and vaccination records
  • Your pet’s regular food and treats (to avoid stomach upset)
  • Favorite blankets, clothing items, or a towel (or anything that smells like home)
  • Toys, dental chews, or favorite games
  • Any current medications with detailed dosage and instructions
  • Contact information, including veterinary clinic (if you are boarding elsewhere), and emergency contacts – at least two trusted friends or family members
  • Any other special instructions or pet preferences
  • Being apart from our best friends can be challenging. After all, they are family members and, in many ways, like children who depend on us for daily care and responsible decisions. But, boarding need not be stressful with some advance planning.

    Remember, many facilities are adept in the care needs of animals of all sizes, breeds, temperaments, and challenges. By doing a little investigative work, you’ll have confidence in finding the perfect fit and home away from home for your sweet friend. And, you never know: your pet may enjoy the social and play time so much, it will be like a mini-vacation for him.

    For recommendations or to make sure your pet is ready for boarding, please call us today.

    Happy travels!