What should I look for in a quality facility to board my dog while I go on vacation?
Try to take a tour of the facility before boarding your pet. You’ll want to be sure the environment is neat, organized and odor-free.
Does the facility have cages or runs? A cage might be fine for the crate-trained dog, but if yours is used to roaming, it could cause stress. Moreover, older dogs with arthritis need more room to move around.
Some other questions to ask:
• How often are the dogs walked? Some boarding facilities only let dogs out twice a day for a few minutes at a time, while others walk dogs 3 or more times daily. Also, is there a fenced-in area where your dog can roam a bit? Is that fenced-in area very secure so she can’t dart out?
• Can I bring my dog’s regular food? Leave specific instructions with the boarding facility regarding what your dog can and cannot eat.
NOTE: Some dogs will not eat well while boarding, so you may want to bring along something healthy that can be added to her food to make it more palatable.
• What happens if my dog becomes sick or injured?
How often does the facility monitor the dogs? Many places do it daily to be sure there are no negative changes. If the boarding facility is not part of a veterinary hospital, find out where they take dogs that become sick. Ask if it is possible to have your dog transported to your own vet if she needs medical attention.
If you can’t seem to find a facility that meets your expectations, consider:
• Hiring a professional pet sitter: It’s a little pricier, but you may find that it is worth the extra expense. Knowing that your dog receives individual attention in your own home adds peace of mind.
• Asking for the help of friends and family: You may find that someone you know, and that your dog knows, would be happy to take care of her. If so, write clear instructions and make sure you bring back a good “thank you” gift!