When making travel plans, one of the biggest decisions for pet owners is what to do with their pets while they're away. Here, our Union City veterinarians discuss boarding options and questions to consider when choosing a boarding facility.
You know that your pets are more than just possessions; they are members of your family. Therefore, you should make sure that the person you leave your pet with is trustworthy and will take good care of your furry family member.
Pet Sitting in Your Home
One of the easiest options is to have a friend, neighbor, or family member care for the pet in your own home while you’re gone. Cats and dogs are most comfortable in their environments, so having someone that you know and trust come by for regular feedings, walks, and play times is a good option. Alternatively, they could stay in your home and take care of your pets if you are away for a long period.
In your neighborhood, there are also expert pet-sitting companies that provide home visits. Before choosing who to hire, you should conduct research. The best place to begin your search for a reliable pet sitter is by asking around and reading online reviews from other pet owners. Additionally, you should find out if they are insured and whether they have received certifications in pet handling and first aid.
It is important to confirm that the person you are choosing to care for your pet is responsible and knowledgeable about the basics of pet care. You will also want to provide them with any information they may need about your pet including feeding times, regular routines, and what to do in case of an emergency.
Private In-Home Pet Boarding
Private in-home boarding is a different choice where you leave your pet with a pet sitter before going on vacation. With this choice, your pet will enjoy a more private environment and individualized care. It might also be a more affordable choice with the added security of keeping your house keys.
If you have a friend or family member that is a responsible pet owner they may be able to welcome your pet into their home while you are away. There are also professional pet-sitting services that provide in-home boarding, remember to do your research first.
Placement of pets in boarding kennels or cat boarding facilities while you are away is a popular option for pet parents. Cat boarding facilities are similar to dog kennels in that cats are separated from dogs. Cats may be housed in cages or in a private cage-free area, depending on the facility.
Boarding kennels can fill up quickly so you will want to call ahead and make arrangements for the dates you will be traveling. You will also want to confirm that the kennel has a Pet Care Services Association (PCSA) certification and that the caretakers are licensed.
Boarding at the Veterinarian's
If your pet has special medical needs, or if you prefer to have trained veterinary professionals care for your pet, you may choose to board at your veterinarian's office or a local animal hospital. The primary advantage of boarding through your veterinarian's office is that there is already a relationship between the veterinarian and staff and your pet.
How to Choose a Boarding Facility
The first step of the boarding process is asking the right questions and identifying what's most important for your pet, this information can help you decide on the best option. Start by researching the facility online and looking over its online reviews. Once you shortlist your options you will want to contact the facility to ask questions. Before you call, prepare a list of questions, both general and specific to your pet’s needs.
Some general questions could include:
- What pet care background, certifications, education, and expertise does the facility or individual have?
- What is the ratio of the dog or cats per staff?
- What is their screening process for identifying pets with behavioral issues?
- How many animals do they put in a playgroup?
- How much playtime and exercise will they get?
- How are animals grouped? (by size, age, temperament, etc.)
- How often are the facilities cleaned?
It can also be helpful to take a tour of a pet boarding facility that you’re considering. While visiting make careful observations to determine if this is the appropriate boarding service for your pet.