Sunday, September 26, 2010

How to Choose a Pet Boarding Facility

Having to leave your pet behind while you go away on a trip can be very stressful for you and your pet. Here are some tips to help you find the right boarding kennel to make it less traumatic for both of you.

Over the years, we have considered and used many options for pet care while we had to be away from home overnight or longer.

We are fortunate in that we have a great and trusted arrangement with our neighbor. When she needs to leave, we take care of her cats and when we need to leave, she takes care of our dogs. Our pets know and like her and her pets know and like us.
On those occasions when she can’t take care of our dogs, we have had to use other options. We brought the dogs along once when we traveled by car. It’s best to make reservations since it can be difficult to find pet friendly places while on the road. We found this option to be stressful since our dogs don’t travel very well, they are too barky in a strange place, and one of us had to be in the room with them at all times. However, here are some tips to help you decide if it would work for you. Should Your Pet Travel with You?

You might also consider using a professional pet sitting service.
When we had to use a boarding kennel, our dogs had so much fun that when we came to pick them up, they seemed a bit disappointed to see us. We will be using that boarding kennel again when we need to. To find reliable boarding kennels near you check out Pet Boarders in Your Area. You can also visit the Pet Care Service Association website, formerly American Boarding Kennels Association. Search your yellow pages either online or in your phone book, ask other pet owners and your veterinarian for recommendations, or see if there is a PetSmart nearby that offers boarding.

Once you have a list of names, make an appointment to tour the pet boarding facilities. If they don’t allow tours, you might want to cross their name off your list.

What to look for when choosing a pet boarding facility
The most important consideration is, is the facility clean and free of unpleasant odor? Is it well lit and well ventilated?

Will they feed according to your pet’s schedule and can you supply the food? Some kennels will charge an additional fee for this service but it is easier on your pet’s tummy. 

Can you bring your pet’s toys and bedding? Many animals are more comfortable with familiar scents and toys around them.

Is the staff gentle and patient with the animals?

How are the boarders exercised, how long, and how frequently?

Will your pet be housed in a cage or a run?

Are kennel temperatures comfortable? Warm in winter, cool in summer?

If your pet needs medications, do they have personnel that are qualified to administer the medications?

Do they have a vet on standby in case of emergency, if your vet can’t be reached? Ask about health monitoring.

What vaccinations are required prior to boarding? For your pet’s protection, they should require proof of up to date rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and bordetello (kennel cough) shots.

Ask for references from satisfied clients. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any claims have been filed against them.

When you have decided on the right pet boarding kennel be sure to bring along plenty of food and medication for your pet’s stay. If allowed, bring a favorite toy and blanket. Inform the staff about any pertinent information regarding health and behavioral issues.  Leave them with your vet’s contact information and your travel itinerary in case of emergency.

Enjoy your trip, knowing you have done your homework to keep your pet safe, comfortable, and happy.


  1. I am so glad that I came across this post.
    Very well written and presented.
    Good job!
    caring for seniors


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