Holiday travel may be over, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still look forward to your next getaway! If you’ll be traveling without your pet, you’ll need to plan a little “staycation” for them while you’re away shaking off the winter blues. For this, you may be looking to board your beloved four-legged family members. Sure, this can be an intimidating thought for some pet owners, especially if you’re leaving them with a caretaker for the first time. You want them to be happy and healthy while you’re away, so you need to find the right people and place to watch over them. So, how do you go about doing that?
Well, first, you have to know your options. Fortunately, there are many available, all of which come with their own advantages and disadvantages. It really depends on your pet’s individual temperament and needs. Two of the most popular care options include finding a trusted friend or family member to pet-sit or finding a trusted, professional boarding facility.
The greatest advantage to boarding your pet outside of the home is that you have the peace of mind knowing that your pet is in the hands of trained, experienced professionals. While friends and family may certainly be eager to help out, often, they don’t have the time, skill, awareness or full-attention span necessary to look after your pet as well as a designated professional will. Boarding facilities, like kennels or pet spas, ensure that your loved ones are safely, appropriately looked after and checked up on daily. These places are dedicated to making certain your pet eats and drinks properly, stays healthy and is well-exercised. It is their job to make absolutely sure that your pet stays comfortable and happy while you’re away.
Boarding your pet can be a great experience for everyone. You just have to keep a few things in mind as you set up your pet’s staycation so that everyone can enjoy a stress-free getaway. Just keep these tips in mind:
- Prepare your pet – That’s right! You need to take time to mentally prepare your pet for their stay in a new environment. While some pets react well to new sights and experiences, others have a harder time adjusting. So, practice things like crate training, putting on collars and leashes, taking rides in the car, and saying goodbye.
- Check out boarding facilities – Before you even schedule a stay for your pet, be sure to do your research on your chosen facility. After all, you wouldn’t leave your pet just anywhere! So, visit boarding facilities, do walk-throughs, ask for references, and read reviews. Most places not only allow in-person visits but encourage it. Make sure that pet accommodations are safe, clean and neat. You should also be on the lookout for friendly, professional staff interactions, enrichment opportunities for pets (e.g. large play areas, one-on-one interaction time, etc.), and on-site veterinary care or emergency care plans.
- Get copies of up-to-date vaccinations – As your pets are likely to be exposed to other pets and humans during their stay, make sure that all of their vaccinations are up-to-date and that you can provide the appropriate, required paperwork. This includes up-to-date flea and tick protection as well.
- Book in advance – Pet boarding facilities fill up fast! As soon as you start planning your getaway, you need to start planning your pet’s stay so that you have time to do your homework and book with plenty of time to spare.
When it comes to making the decision to board your pet while you’re away, the most important thing is that everyone feels comfortable with the decision. So, make your pet’s adjustment as stress-free as possible by preparing early so that everyone can enjoy their time away.