Health & Care > Pet care, safety and insurance > Five Things You Should Do Before Boarding Your Pet

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09/30/2011 00:20:29 AM by Jade07   Send Message to Jade07  6279  views, category: Pet care, safety and insurance view all blogs


If you don’t want a pet sitter puttering around your house while you’re on vacation, or if your cat or dog has special medical needs, contact a local boarding kennel before heading to the airport. Of course, “kennel” is an old-fashioned term. Many pet boarding facilities are akin to fancy hotels for Fido or Fifi, offering individual pet suites of up to 120 square feet with “day and night lighting”, vets on staff 24 hours, and day spas for manicures and grooming.

What should you do before choosing a boarding facility?
Get Recommendations from Vets and Pet Owners
Ask your vet to recommend a local doggie daycare facility. Ask neighbors and relatives where they board their pets. Check out all the usual Internet review sources, like Yelp and CitySearch. Pet forums, however, will give you a more reliable and detailed rundown of a pet’s stay at a kennel.  You can check out Yeepet forums here.
Pay a Visit to the Facility
Before committing to a kennel, ask for a tour of the facilities. Some of the larger pet boarding facilities have different amenities and doggie “suites” available, so you’ll want to get a first-hand look before determining what is best for your pet.  Some luxury pet hotels have accommodations with cable TV for pampered pooches that like to bark at “The View” every morning. Some seemingly extraneous features do serve a purpose –spoiled or highly nervous pets may need an environment that mimics their home as closely as possible to feel comfortable. Ask if the kennel is a member of the International Boarding Pet Services Association (IBPSA), which provides education and legislative information to pet professionals. If you have an aging pet or one with specific medical needs, choose a kennel with a staff vet, or even better, board the critter at your vet’s office. Some larger veterinarian groups do offer  this services.

Bring toys and blankets from home
Dogs and cats are creatures of habit, and a new environment, no matter how well-appointed, will make them nervous. Bring a few favorite toys and blankets to remind your pet of the comforts of home. Alert the kennel staff about any personality quirks or daily habits. Some cats like to play vigorously when they wake up after a nap, while others just want to be left alone to preen. If your pet enjoys certain treats or a particular type of food, let the staff know. Some facilities may let you bring food for your pet in advance; others will supply the food and bill you for it.
Consider exercise and lodging details.
Facilities that house both dogs and cats keep them in different areas. Cats may have anything from a cat lodge, with separate compartments, to a four-story VIP “Townhouse.”  Dogs have their own individual suites, with square footage dependant on the animal’s size and weight. Staff workers take dogs for a walk several times a day. Other services, like outdoor runs or personal playtime with a staff member, are available for a nominal fee. Some facilities even have massage and dog training services.
 Make sure your pet has required vaccinations
 Keep in mind that boarding facilities require dogs and cats have a clean bill of health and all appropriate shots. Both dogs and cats should be flea and tick free and have a good temperament. That combative feral cat you rescued may be a challenge for you to raise at home, but it will be too wild for the staff at a boarding facility full of domestic animals. Generally speaking, you’ll need to show proof that your cat has a current leukemia vaccination or test and a current PRC test. Dogs need have current rabies, DAPP and BV shots. You’ll also need to prove that your canine has no intestinal parasites. Have all your paperwork from the vet ready when making reservations for your pet’s hotel stay.

About the author: Marianne Moro is a freelance writer and publicist living in Hollywood, CA. She has written for many publications, clients and websites, including USA Today, Blogcritics Magazine, Modamag and Entertainment Today, among others. She's the proud co-o... more >>

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