As much as you love your pet, sometimes you have to leave them behind while you’re traveling. While entrusting your pet’s care to someone else can be nerve-wracking, boarding your pet at a reputable facility can provide peace of mind, if you know your pet is being cared for in a safe and secure environment. Whether you’re going on vacation or traveling for work, taking the time to prepare your pet for boarding ensures they will enjoy a stress-free and comfortable stay. Our team at Town & Country Animal Hospital shares pet boarding do’s and don’ts, so your pet will have a successful boarding experience.

DO get pet boarding recommendations 

Before you decide on a pet boarding facility, ask for recommendations. Veterinarians are knowledgeable about the standards of care that pets require and can provide valuable insight into the facilities that best suit your pet’s needs and temperament. Friends and family can also recommend pet boarding facilities based on their personal experiences. Their recommendations can be valuable, especially if they have used a specific facility multiple times and had consistently positive experiences. When gathering recommendations, ask specific questions that will help you make an informed decision, such as:

  • How long did they board their pet, and were they happy with the length of the stay?
  • Did their pet seem comfortable and well-cared for during their stay?
  • Was the facility clean and well-maintained?
  • Was the staff friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive to their questions and concerns?
  • Did their pet have any issues or problems during their stay and, if so, how were they handled?

DON’T choose a pet boarding facility without visiting first 

While recommendations are helpful, you should also personally visit any potential boarding facility to look at the accommodations and ensure your expectations and your pet’s needs will be met. Schedule a facility tour, and ask these questions:

  • What are the facility’s cleaning and sanitation protocols?
  • Do the dogs have supervised play together?
  • What is dogs’ outdoor access like?
  • How are cats housed?
  • What are the exercise and playtime protocols?
  • How much human interaction do pets receive? How long are pets left alone?
  • What is the protocol if your pet becomes injured or ill?

DO introduce your pet to the boarding facility

After you tour a boarding facility, the next step is letting your pet visit and meet the staff who will be caring for them. Some boarding facilities require an evaluation visit before your pet’s stay to ensure your pet is a good fit for their kind of care and will be comfortable when alone  in their accommodation. Allow your pet to explore their new surroundings at their own pace to give them time to become comfortable in and familiar with the new environment. 

If your pet is new to boarding or anxiety-prone, consider a 24-hour boarding trial to familiarize your pet with the facility and staff, which will help ease their transition and ensure their stay is enjoyable.

DON’T forget to schedule a wellness exam for your pet

Schedule a pre-boarding wellness exam for your pet well in advance of your travel plans. Most boarding facilities require this exam to identify any underlying health issues and ensure your pet is up-to-date on all their vaccinations and parasite preventives. Your pet’s wellness exam is also a good time to request refills of your pet’s medications.

DO pack your pet’s essentials 

Pack your pet’s essential items to ensure their comfort and safety during their boarding stay. Here are some of the most important items you should send with your pet:

  • Food —Pack plenty of your pet’s food, because a sudden switch in diets can cause gastrointestinal (GI) upset and a serious case of stress diarrhea. 
  • Medication — Ensure you pack enough for your pet’s stay and provide detailed instructions. 
  • Favorite toy — Send your pet with their favorite toy to help them feel more comfortable in their new surroundings. The familiar scents also provide a sense of security and reduce anxiety.
  • Leash and collar with ID tags — Ensure sure your pet wears a collar with identification tags that include current contact information. You’ll need to provide your pet’s leash when you drop them off and have it returned when you pick them up.
  • Vaccination records — Ask your veterinarian for a copy of your pet’s vaccination records for the boarding facility staff. 

By following these do’s and don’ts, you can set up your pet for a happy, successful boarding experience. If you have more questions about boarding your pet or you need to schedule their wellness exam and vaccinations, contact our Town & Country Animal Hospital team well in advance of your furry pal’s boarding stay.