Traveling is always fun, but not every travel itinerary is pet friendly. If you have an upcoming trip planned, you are probably looking for a reliable place to board your furry friend while you are away. For pet owners who have never left their pets behind or even those who have but are seeking a new location to visit, it can be hard to decide the best option for your pet. Our Pet Resort in Apex, North Carolina, has some insight to help you make an informed decision regarding your pet’s home away from home while you are traveling.
What Pets to Board?
Dogs are some of the easiest animals to take with you while traveling, but if you are unable or unwilling to do so, many options are available for short-term care.
Cats are complex creatures of habit that don’t really adapt well to change. As such, it’s usually a good idea to hire a sitter who can come to your home to check on your cat. You could also find someone whose home your cat is familiar with and ask them to house it during your absence. If neither of these options is available, boarding your cat in a facility specifically designed for felines is a good idea.
What Should I Ask to Help Ensure My Pet Will Be Well Taken Care Of?
- Is the facility licensed and/or insured?
- Will my pet be well taken care of? What if he/she has special needs?
- Are cats and dogs housed together in the same area?
- Will my pet be fed his/her own food, and will he/she be given medications as scheduled?
- How often and for how long will my pet have play time outdoors?
- How are pets grouped together to increase safe play?
- Are specific vaccines required?
- Can I tour the facility?
- How far in advance is appropriate to make reservations?
- Will my pet get personal attention each day from the staff?
- What is the plan in place in case of an emergency such as a hurricane or a flood?
Boarding Facility Certification
It is very important to make sure the location you choose is based on reputation, reliability, and safety as opposed to price and distance. Take some time to read reviews online that are posted by real, verified pet owners. This will give you a sense of how the facility treats the animals in its care while the owners are away. Make sure to look for any certifications held by the boarding facility. While there is no state or federal mandate to be certified, a facility that goes the extra mile to obtain certification shows promise.
One of the most important things you can do is to take time in advance of your trip to visit the location in person and speak with the staff who will be working with the animals. This allows you to gain first-hand insight about the facility, staff, and overall environment in which your pet will be residing. Make another trip with your pet to see how they react to the staff and the location. Are the staff members friendly and well received? If your pet shows fear or agitation, the facility may not be the best choice for your situation. Ask about any special training the staff has received as well as how long each member has been working with animals. The more information you have, the more relaxed you will feel about leaving your pet in their hands.
Play Time & Play Area
Just like humans, pets need a lot of sunshine and fresh air to remain healthy and happy. While most sleeping areas may be small, it’s important that your pet has enough room to play and move freely during its waking hours. Find out how often the animals are allowed outside of their cages, and ask to see the play area. Depending on what type of pet you have, you may prefer a facility that has separate spaces for different species. Ask the staff to detail the amount and frequency of playtime given during a typical day at the location. This will help you determine whether it is a good option for your pet or if you need to explore other facilities. Also, check to see if they offer both indoor and outdoor play areas.
Animals are decidedly messy, so there will always be some form of disarray in any boarding facility. Messiness is not the same as being unclean; however, any boarding facility should be organized, smell freshly cleaned, and be free of ticks, fleas and other vermin. When you visit, pay special attention to how quickly and how often they clean up pet waste and look at a water dish to make sure it’s clean. These are frequently overlooked. Make sure to ask to view how the food and medications are stored.
Some pets have special diets, and most boarding facilities are able to accommodate them. Ask the staff if it’s okay to bring your own supply of food for your pet during their stay to avoid upset stomachs or allergic reactions to a new diet. If your pet takes medication, make sure to bring the prescription in its original bottle, along with your veterinarian’s contact information when you drop them off at the facility.
Enjoy Your Trip!
Leaving your pet behind for any reason can be stressful for both of you, but with a little bit of research and a good facility, your pet will enjoy the time away from home and be eager to see you when you return.