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Home Away from Home: Picking the Right Boarder for Your Pet

By Natalie Lester, Brand Marketing Specialist

I recently had to leave Emma at a pet boarder for the first time, and it was harder than I could ever imagine.

Emma loved doggie daycare, but she's happy to be home. As you pack up and head out on your summer vacation, you may be able to take your furry family member with you. Or, you may – like the majority of pet owners – have to board your pet at your veterinarian’s office or a boarding facility. You will be able to relax if you do your research to really provide the best care for your pet while you are away, and he will have just as much fun as you do.

Here are the top 10 things to consider when choosing where to keep your pet.

1. How is your dog feeling? You should not board your pet if they are sick or recovering from an illness or surgery. Exposing them to a new environment can cause stress, which can make them sicker. Also, you don’t want to spread germs to the other doggies in daycare with them.

2. How friendly is your dog? If your pet gets nervous around new people and pets, then you may want to introduce them to the staff before your trip. You can try out a one-night sleepover at the boarding kennel before they stay for a longer period of time while you are on your trip. You may also want to bring a few toys and a blanket from home to encourage them all is well.

3. How active is your dog? As a puppy, Emma has loads of energy and needs ways to burn it. When I boarded her for the first time, I scheduled extra playtime in the morning and evening so she could have more attention and a chance to blow off some steam. A change of scenery is nice for your pet too!

4. What is your pet’s eating schedule? The staff will need to know if they need to feed your pet only in the morning, twice a day, or even three times a day. If your pet is on a special diet, you will need to give that information to your boarder. You want them to provide your pet with the same level of nutrition you do at home.

5. How much space does your pet need? Many boarding kennels offer different sizes of housing for their guests. Consider your pet’s size and activity level when choosing which suite you will select for your pet. You want to make sure they are comfortable while you are away.

It's important to consider how your pet will react to you being away. Picking the right caretakers for Fido is just as important as making your own reservations.He may enjoy doggie daycare, but he'll still miss you!

6. How does your pet adjust to new environments? Have you ever taken your pet to a friend’s house or on another trip with you? How did they react to being in a new environment? If you are worried they will be too stressed, you may want to also try a shorter stay before you leave her for an extended period.

7. How many pets does the boarding kennel hold? Ask how many staff are at the location for one time to be sure there are enough people to handle the animals. You want to be sure sure your pet is getting the basic attention and care they need. If they are understaffed, that may not be the best situation to leave your pet in.

8. How much will your pet’s vacation cost? When budgeting for a trip, you should include the dollars for your pet’s staycation! You don’t want either of you to sacrifice on your relaxation time because you left part of it out.

9. What is the facility’s emergency procedure? Do they have a vet on staff or would they call yours? No one wants to think about anything happening while they are away, but you should be prepared just in case. Be sure the boarder has your pet’s medical record on file and is made aware of any allergies or special medical conditions.

With proper planning, your dog can have just as much fun on vacation as you do!The perfect pet boarding facility will feel like a pet hotel to them.

10. Are there other services provided by the facility? Often boarders will offer a la carte doggie daycare services including grooming, extra playtime, treats, and other services your pet may enjoy. Some may even have a trainer on staff who can work with your pet while you are away.

What do you look for in a pet boarder? Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comment section below.


ABOUT NATALIE As the PetSafe Brand Marketing Specialist, Natalie manages The Paw Print blog and generates other brand related content including public relations and promotions. Before PetSafe, Natalie worked in the local media covering politics, education, and religion. Natalie’s puppy, Emma, spends almost as much time in the office as she does.  

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