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A Guide to Boarding Your Pet: Choose the Right Kennel

It’s that time of year again. Spring break is just around the corner. You’ve made your plans. The hotel and plane tickets are booked. You’ve even started packing. Now there’s just one more thing to do-figure out who’s going to take care of man’s best friend while you’re gone.

Many pet owners experience anxiety over the thought of leaving their precious fur friends at boarding facilities while they are off enjoying a relaxing vacation. How can you be sure dear old Spot will be treated well? What if he gets sick? Who’s going to take him to the vet if need be? The potential list of “what ifs” could drive an especially avid pet lover to cancel his or her trip and spend the week with Spot instead of in a hotspot locale. There’s really no need to overwhelm oneself. Here are some tips for ensuring Spot’s stay away from home will be a safe one.

Your pet is going to be most comfortable in a familiar place while you are away. If possible, try to get someone you can trust to take care of your pet from your home. It will save you the stress of worrying about the people watching your beloved animal, and save your pet added anxiety from being in an unfamiliar environment. If this is not an option, there are plenty of reputable boarding facilities that will gladly take care of dear old Spot while you’re soaking up the sun.

What to look for when you need to board your pet

If you know pet owners who regularly travel, do ask where they board their pets. Chances are they will give you the best advice for the best facility in your area. Otherwise, your best bet is to do your own research. This means pinpointing available options in your area and scheduling tours of each facility, or just popping in for an impromptu visit.

Questions to ask

Be sure to take along a list of questions to ask when you tour each facility. This will not only give you great information to help in your decision making, but it will also allow you some personal interaction with the people who will be taking care of your pet while you’re away. If you don’t feel comfortable around the kennel attendants, you might want to think twice about leaving Spot in their care. Here’s a quick list of questions you should ask.

Will your pet have any direct contact with other animals?

Generally speaking, you probably don’t want to allow your pet to be loose around any other animals while it is at the kennel. Even if your dog is the most docile animal in the world, you can never predict what other animals might do. Better safe than sorry on this one. It’s okay for your pet to be near other animals, but do make sure they are supervised in a controlled environment.

How often and when are pets fed?

You probably want to know when your pet will be fed, especially if he is on a specific feeding regiment. Some kennels might only feed in the morning. Others might feed twice daily. If you have a preference, make sure you let the staff know. Also, make sure to ask about food and treats. Even if the kennel offers their food to your dog at no extra cost, it’s not in the best interest of your pet to switch foods for the time you’re away. It could cause an upset stomach. Since your pet will likely be under a little stress already, it’s best to try to alleviate any more and make sure it’s okay to bring along your own food and treats.

How often are the pets exercised and/or let outside?

If the kennel doesn’t have indoor/outdoor runs, it’s good to know how often your pet will be taken out to potty. Don’t forget to have a look at the outdoor area your dog will be frequenting to ensure it’s a safe environment.

How often is the kennel cleaned?

Your nose and eyes should help you out with this one, but enquire just to be sure. Any good facility will clean the individual kennels twice a day. And that means more than just mopping up any accidents. The walls and floors should be scrubbed and rinsed. Not only does this help keep the place looking and smelling nice, but it also reduces the risk of spreading disease.

What are the emergency procedures?

Hopefully, you’ll never have to see how well this one works. But you need to know what will happen if your pet gets sick or injured. Be sure to see if the facility has a veterinarian on staff. Also, make sure that you leave the emergency contact information of someone you trust, just in case Spot needs to leave the facility.

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