Ahhh…summer! The time of year to kick back, relax, and enjoy some time away from the office (or home office, these days!). Along with all of those barbecues, pool dates, and day trips to the beach, you are looking forward to this summer. If you can’t bring your pet with you, you typically have one of three options: board your pet, find a pet sitter, or cancel your vacation. Boarding your pet should ensure that trained professionals are taking care of him or her while you’re gone, but you have to do your research and be prepared.  Here are some important things you should know prior to dropping off your furbaby at a boarding facility.

Do your homework

When selecting which boarding facility you want to trust in caring for your furry best friend, Google can be your key to finding out a lot of information. Simply Google the name of the facilities you are considering and read everything you can about them: what they offer, their employees, reviews from previous pet owners-basically any information that you can find on the web.

Recommendations from family and friends can play a role here! Ask around and see who is using which kennel and why they love it so much! Don’t limit yourself to one or two kennels, and feel like you need to choose between them. Look into a few different ones so that you have options to choose from and can find one that you feel most comfortable with leaving your pet. 

Take a tour

A great way to get a good feel for a boarding facility is to drop by for a spur-of-the-moment tour. Some facilities may allow this, others may not. Take caution with the ones who do not, they could be trying to hide something they don’t want you to see. 

For the facilities that don’t mind that you dropped by for a tour, you want to make sure that while you’re there that the facility looks and smells clean. Keep an eye out for how employees are treating animals, safety precautions, and the conditions of where your animal will be sleeping/living while there. 

Be prepared with a list of questions to ask the manager while you are there:

Regarding staff:

  • What kind of training have they had?
  • Are they engaged with the animals?
  • Are they certified in pet first aid and CPR?
  • What type of training do they have as far as animal handling and behavior?
  • How will the staff treat your pet if he misbehaves?
  • What is the staff to pet ratio?

Animal Welfare

  • What happens if my pet gets sick?
  • Do staff members stay overnight with the animals?
  • Do you have a veterinarian you use in case of an emergency? Or will you use my vet?
  • What type of vaccinations do you require?
  • Do you request proof of vaccinations?

Pet Care

  • Do I have to provide my own food, water, treats for my pet?
  • Do I need to bring some of his toys with him?
  • Do you offer “playtime” and is it an additional charge?
  • If I am boarding more than one pet (of the same species), will they share a “room”?
  • How much human interaction will my pet have on a daily basis?
  • Do you offer pet surveillance? (Where the owner can see their pet at any time through a video stream)

Red Flags

When you visit a kennel, keep an eye out for any red flags. This could include things like filthy kennels and cages to staff employees who don’t seem to have any interest in animals. Keep in mind that if you walk into a boarding facility and request a tour and they either deny you or make you schedule a tour-that is a big concern! Scheduled tours can be staged and make things appear much different than how the facility is typically run. Remember to go with your instinct, if you are not comfortable with how a facility is being run, do not board your pet there. 

Pet Preparation

Once you decide which boarding facility you are going to go with, try to take your pet for a trial run prior to actually boarding. Let your pet meet the staff and give them the opportunity to check the place out, sniff around, and remember to express a positive attitude for your pet. If your pet seems apprehensive and you are nervous about leaving him for a long period of time, try scheduling an overnight visit a few weeks in advance of your vacation to help your pet get better adjusted to this new environment. 

Obviously, your furbaby is not going to be excited that he is getting left behind while you go off and enjoy your vacation. So make sure you do your research and find the perfect boarding facility that will meet his needs-it will pay off in the end. Knowing your pet is safe and comfortable while you’re away will definitely give you peace of mind until you return. Safe travels!