Vacation season is upon us, and if you're a traveler with a dog or cat (or both), you need to think about what to do with your companion animal.
While some people plan a vacation around their pet, others consider boarding the best option.
If you can't travel with yours, the best place to board your pet is in a safe environment where he will get the same kind of care you give. Ideally, arrange for your pet to stay with a friend or family member who loves him. If that's not practical or possible, boarding is an option.
There are different kinds of boarding facilities. Some are affiliated with veterinary offices, others are freestanding. Still others offer the option of bringing your pet into their home. Some employ minimum-wage workers who may not have an affinity for animals. Others are staffed by trained professionals, with someone around 24/7.
Tips: Before You Board Your Pet
Inspect the facility. Where are the animals kept? Is it clean? Are dogs kept apart, and does each have enough room? How often are they let out to exercise, and where? Do they get personal attention? Are dogs and cats kept separate? Is someone always on call? What happens if your animal gets sick?
Have your pet vaccinated. Reputable kennels require a form from a veterinarian that lists the latest shots before they will accept an animal. Discuss vaccinating your dog for kennel cough, a contagious respiratory infection that can occur when pets are in close contact.
Prepare a packing list. Bring an adequate supply of your pet's regular food to the facility; a change of venue can be stressful, and feeding an unfamiliar diet can have unfortunate consequences. In addition to food and treats, pack:
- Medicine and vitamins the pet regularly takes
- Bedding or old towels
- Something that smells like you — an unwashed old T-shirt is ideal
Ask about additional services. Some places guarantee personal playtime for a set period of time daily. Also, if the kennel does grooming, you may want to request to have your dog bathed before you're reunited.
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