Is this a place I’d consider when boarding my pet and feel good about it?
It’s been a long year and a half with the Covid-19 pandemic. Other countries are starting to open up for travel. Time to start packing! But wait! What about Fido? Boarding your pet can be a tough decision.
Our pets are family members. They are loved and cherished and taken care of like our children. We buy clothes for them, make sure they are comfortable, and feed them better than we often feed ourselves. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), for the year 2021, Americans will spend $109.6 billion on our pets – up from $58.51 billion in 2014. But what about when we travel? It’s often a hard decision to either take them with us or leave them behind. If we travel with them, which hotels accept pets? What do we do with them if we are sightseeing? The questions could go on and on. Do you choose an in-home pet sitting agency or a kennel? The same APPA report shows that Americans spend 4.73 billion dollars on grooming and boarding (2014 – I’m sure that number has doubled by now). So how do we decide the best place for our pets to stay? Here are some questions to consider:
1. Do you know anyone who uses the facility you are considering? Referrals are always the number one preferred recommendation. Ask your friends where they board their pets. Ask them why they use that particular one.
2. Is the facility clean? Does it smell clean? When it comes to pet places, smell can be an excellent indicator of cleanliness. If it smells bad, no matter how great it looks, more investigation is needed.
3. Is the staff knowledgeable and caring? You really want people around your pet who are not only loving and want to make your pet feel welcomed but also are capable of handling the situation should a medical emergency arise. Chances are, you will be too far away to get back quickly, and you need people with your pet who are aware enough to see issues starting early.
4. Can you choose for them to contact your personal vet should something happen?
5. Are beds/cots provided off the concrete floor to avoid a draft?
6. Is the kennel a comfortable temperature? A/C? Heat?
7. Does someone come in after hours to take the dogs outside? Or will they be expected to wait till morning?
8. Will they feed your food? Do they insist on feeding their “house” brand? Can I bring treats? Chew bones? Toys? You want to keep your pet on their own food if at all possible.
9. Is there a monitored fire alarm system? What about security cameras? What about remote cameras you can log into to see Fido while you are gone?
10. Are all animals required to have up-to-date immunizations?
Wow! That’s a lot to think about, but you want to make sure that your pet will have such a great time that they won’t know you are gone. Of course, that way, when you see them online or when you come home, your cat or do will be purring and wagging it’s tail!
Ask yourself one more question. “Would I sleep on the floor in a sleeping bag with my pet there?” If the answer is “No way!” don’t expect your pet to sleep there either.