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Guidelines to Successfully Board Your Pet

Travel, family emergencies, and illness can prevent you from taking your pet with you or personally caring for them, and boarding can be a good option. If you’ve never boarded your pet, you may be nervous about the process, and our Island Animal Hospital team understands your concern. We provide guidelines for successfully boarding your pet.

Evaluate your pet’s suitability for boarding

Not all pets are good boarding candidates. Those who enjoy interacting with new people and other pets typically adapt better to the situation. Special considerations include:

  • Aggressive behavior — If your pet tends to be aggressive with other pets, ensure the boarding facility separates the pets. If your pet is typically aggressive toward people, you may need to find a friend or family member willing to take care of your pet while you are away.
  • Separation anxiety — If your pet has separation anxiety, ensure the facility is willing to spend extra time with them to prevent a stressful episode. 

Look for reputable pet boarding facilities

You want your pet to be well cared for in your absence, and finding the right boarding facility that will meet all your pet’s needs is important. Recommendations include:

  • Ask family members and friends — Ask your pet-owning family members and friends if they can recommend a boarding facility.
  • Ask your veterinarian — Our team can recommend reputable pet boarding facilities and will be happy to help.

Research pet boarding facilities

Once you narrow down your search to two or three facilities, research the locations to ensure they can accommodate your pet. Recommendations include:

  • Read reviews — Use review sites to learn what other clients say about the facility. Read positive and negative reviews to get a full understanding of people’s experiences. 
  • Check for accreditation — Check to see if the facility is accredited by an organization such as Pet Care Services Association. This ensures they meet certain standards of pet care.
  • Visit the facility — Schedule a visit to see for yourself where your pet will stay and the facility’s conditions, including:
    • Sanitation — Ensure the facility is clean and pet waste is removed promptly.
    • Security — Ensure the pet cages, fences, and gates are sturdy and well kept.
    • Comfort — Ensure the pets have comfortable resting areas that are spacious enough for the pet to move around.
    • Basic needs — Ensure all pets have access to fresh, clean water.
    • Attention — Ensure all staff members pay the pets adequate attention and interact pleasantly.
  • Ask questions — Ask the staff detailed questions while visiting the facility, to ensure they will meet your expectations for your pet’s care. Potential questions include:
    • How often can the pets exercise?
    • How often do you check the pets during the day?
    • Is it OK if I call to check on my pet?
    • How often are the cats’ litter boxes cleaned?
    • What is the protocol for treating a sick or injured pet?
    • Are your staff trained to recognize a pet’s illness and distress?
    • Do you charge extra for medicating my pet?
    • What are your rates?

Make your pet’s reservation early

Pet boarding facilities fill up early, especially during holidays and peak vacation periods. If you wait until the last minute, you may not be able to reserve a spot at the facility of your choice, so call well in advance to secure your pet’s reservation.

Prepare your pet for boarding

Before boarding your pet, schedule a veterinary visit to prepare your pet for the experience. Considerations include:

  • Wellness examination — Underlying medical conditions don’t always manifest in the early stages, and diagnostics performed during a wellness examination will help ensure your pet doesn’t experience a veterinary emergency while boarding.
  • Microchipping — Microchipping your pet ensures they are properly identified should they escape while boarding.
  • Vaccinations — Reputable boarding facilities require that your pet’s vaccinations are up to date.
  • Parasite control — Your pet should also receive a veterinary-recommended parasite preventive to protect them from heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites.

Schedule a trial run for your pet

Letting your pet meet the staff and acclimate to the new environment is helpful for some pets. Schedule an overnight visit to help prepare your pet for a longer stay.

Pack for your pet

Pack your pet’s essentials to ensure their comfort while boarding. Recommended items include:

  • Food — Any change in your pet’s diet can lead to gastrointestinal (GI) upset, and many pets refuse to eat unfamiliar food, so ensure your pet has a good supply of their usual diet.
  • Medication — If your pet receives medication, pack more than enough for their stay, and provide detailed instructions about administration, including the route, frequency, and amount. 
  • Toys — Ensure your pet has their favorite toys to keep them occupied while you are away.
  • Blanket — Pack your pet’s favorite blanket or a clothing item with your smell to help prevent homesickness.

If you need recommendations for a reputable boarding facility or want to schedule a wellness examination before your pet’s boarding experience, contact our Island Animal Hospital team.

By |2024-02-14T23:52:13+00:00July 1st, 2023|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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