Choosing the right boarding option for your pet is an important part of your vacation planning. Deciding to go with boarding instead of a pet sitter can be a good choice if your dog or cat gets lonely when you’re away, or if your pet needs extra attention due to special health or dietary needs.
How do you find the perfect boarding kennel for your best friend? Here are some tips to help you pick the right one:
1. Before you book your pet’s stay, make an in-person visit and take a tour of the facility, including the particular type of room where your pet would be residing. The owners should welcome a visit, show you what you’d like to see, and answer any questions. Take a close look at the pets that are there during your visit, and the general conditions of the facility. Pay attention to smells and sounds as well as how it looks.
2. Find out how the boarding facility will update you on your pet’s well-being while you are away. Do they have webcams, send daily update emails with pictures, or take your phone calls whenever you’d like to check in on your pet?
3. Ask about what types of play and exercise your dog or cat will get while boarding. For cats, are there cat trees and other things to climb on? Is there a window so your cat can look outside? Do they have toys or can you bring your cat’s own toys? For dogs, check to see how many play/exercise times are included in the fee. How will your dog interact with the other dogs there? Do they separate the dogs by size or personality? Will they walk your dog individually if you ask for that?
4. Make sure that the kennel staff understands your pet’s special care requirements, such as following prescription diets and administering medications properly. Ask them how they handle medical emergencies. Give them your vet’s contact information and make sure they have an established relationship with an emergency veterinary practice. Go over the contract carefully so you know how they will notify you in case of an emergency.
5. Research your state’s certification and inspection requirements for boarding kennels. Ask to see the documentation if your state conducts inspections to make sure the facility is up to standards. Is the facility a member of the American Boarding Kennels Association? Member kennels pledge to abide by a code of ethics and participate in a voluntary accreditation program.
- Aaron Seminoff