Many pet parents prefer pet sitters or trusted friends and family to watch their extended family member during holiday travel vs. boarding them. But in some instances, pet owners just don’t have a choice. The holidays can be a chaotic time of the year where people are over committed, and pet sitters may fill up quickly. If you find yourself in a position where boarding is your only option, or if boarding is your preferred option, it’s still good to make sure your pet is ready for this experience.
1. Find a Reputable Boarding Option – Word of mouth is one of your best bets on finding a great match for boarding for your dog. It’s always best to get first-hand accounts of how someone else’s dog did at a particular boarding facility. Not only friends and family, but your Veterinarian, groomer, or dog walker may have great recommendations as well. These are people you already trust with your dog, so it stands to reason they may be able to give you reliable recommendations for boarding.
2. Check it Out! - Once you have a boarding recommendation, check online for other pet owner experiences, and book an on-site visit. It’s good to talk with the facility. Find out what their daily routine is with your dog. Is it going to be a lot of play time during the day? What are their surroundings like? What kind of day can your dog expect? Boarding facilities can have anything from crates and kennel runs, to doggy day care like surroundings, some boarding facilities even have private rooms with beds and TVs! Make sure to find the one that will most put your dog at ease while you are away.
3. Make Sure All Vaccines are Up to Date – Before you drop your beloved family member off at a boarding facility, doggy day care, or anywhere your dog may come in contact with multiple dogs, make sure their vaccines are up to date. Also make sure they have had their flea and tick treatment and any other recommended vaccines for the protection of your canine friend. Recommendations include DHPP, Rabies, and Bordetella. Some facilities require Canine Influenza vaccines and Lepto. Make sure to find out the requirements from the facility you choose, and also the recommendations from your Vet.
4. Book Early – Whether it’s a long weekend or a holiday like Christmas or New Years, reputable facilities fill up quickly! You may need to book many weeks to months in advance. Depending on the size of the operation and its popularity. Make sure you are thinking ahead during the holidays.
5. Pack Accordingly – Make sure you have your dog’s food, medicine and supplements, identification, and anything special. You know your dog better than anyone else, if there is a special item that will put him or her at ease while in boarding ask the facility if they can accommodate. Is it a favorite dog bed, a special toy, perhaps a blanky? It’s a fine balance between losing this special item and making sure your dog is happy while you are away. Weigh the pros and cons, check in with the boarding place and see if you can send those special things along with your dog.
It’s not always easy to leave your pets for the holidays, but sometimes vacationing with your pet just isn’t an option. It’s always good as a pet owner to have several options and contingencies in the event you go on travel.