With summer travel in our midst, it’s not always feasible to bring our pets along for the fun (despite how badly we wish we could.) While some people may opt for an in-home pet-sitter or having a neighbor stop by to care for their pets, others may feel more comfortable dropping them off at professional boarding facility. Of course there are general pros and cons to consider when boarding – pros include being under the care of professionals in a setting intended for animals and having pets avoid the stress of travel, cons could be putting pets in an unfamiliar environment and the potential exposure to health issues. Once the decision’s been made, it’s the details that can get tricky, so we’ve compiled a checklist of questions to ask and nuances to note when looking for a place suitable for your animal companion to stay while you play.
- Tour the facility – make sure it looks and smells clean everywhere, not just the drop off area.
- Take note of temperature, ventilation and light – it should feel comfortable, not like a dungeon.
- Do they require current vaccination records? If not, keep looking.
- Are the enclosures adequate in the way of size and cleanliness? Are outdoor areas protected from adverse weather?
- What are their playtime policies and feeding times?
- Write down the staff’s hours.
- Don’t discount word of mouth and online reviews.
- Look to see if certifications are necessary in your state and if the facility had said accreditation.
- What is their emergency policy?
- Make sure cats’ food bowls are kept far enough away from their litter boxes.
- Take note of the staff. This, to us, is the most important thing – are they kind? Knowledgeable? Attentive? If any part of you gets a weird feeling about a staff member, it’s on to the next place.
Of course there’s a small checklist of requirements your pet should meet, too: make sure they’re adequately socialized and stable enough to handle being in a new setting away from you, they need to be up to date on vaccines, and it doesn’t hurt to introduce them to a crate or kennel prior so they aren’t completely taken by surprise. While you can always call to check in your pet (in fact, we recommend it), it’s best you just relax and seek comfort in knowing you did your homework in finding the best facility for your pet.