Now is the time to make holiday boarding plans.

Posted By elaine on November 3, 2009

    It is that time of year when many of us make plans to fly off and visit family and sometimes it is just impossible to take the family dog.  So the decision on what to do with a four legged family member becomes a pretty big issue.    I recommend some serious research and planning for this and time is running out.  Many boarding kennels book up early, so now is the time to start with planning.  First thing first… start looking up boarding kennels in your area.  This is easily done on the internet these days.  Then call and see which ones still have space and are in your price range. 

Make sure your dog's vacation is safe and secure.

Make sure your dog's vacation is safe and secure.

  If you have a pet with special conditions make sure that the facility can accommodate them. If there are on medicines make sure the people working at the kennel are comfortable with administering them.   You have your list ready, now it is time to make unannounced visits to these facilities.  During business hours they should have no problems with an impromptu tour.  If they do, walk away and go to the next one on the list.  While walking around you will be able to quickly decide if they place is safe and the animals are clean and happy.  You should make sure that if you have a small dog that they have a separate turn out from the large dogs.  You should also make sure that it is secure so your nervous pet can’t dart out of the facility.  Also you should be able to see the staff working with the dogs while on your visit.  Do they seem like they like the dogs and the dogs like them?  Are there plenty of staff members to manage the animals?  All these things are important. Other issues such as lighting, ventilation, bedding and play areas should be checked while on the tour.  Some facilities even offer online cameras where you can watch your pet from anywhere in the world.  A good source for kennels and boarding tips is the Pet Care Services Association.  You can check it out at

     Maybe you are thinking about a pet sitter.  If your pet is timid or older, this might be a better option, but checking out the care giver gets a little trickier.  In this case I would check with the Better Business Bureau, insist on references, see that they are licensed and bonded and require them to make a couple of home visits before you leave to make sure your pet is comfortable with them.  I would probably even run a criminal background check, this might be because I spent years in the news biz, but I think it is prudent in today’s world.    In most states there is an easy data base to do this.  In Colorado it is  Six dollars might be money well spent! 

     Make sure that your pets are up to date on all vaccinations, most facilities require this.   A new requirement for many kennels is the canine influenza vaccine.  This requires a booster, so schedule a month in advance for shot number one. 

Dogs often get stressed out and sick when left home.

Dogs often get stressed out and sick when left home.

      Finally a little warning; not to freak people out, but the fact is that many pets really stress when left.  If they are prone to bloat or they have some unknown ailment like a weak heart they could get sick, even die while you are gone.  I would have a thorough vet check before I left them for days.    I myself have lost two pets while gone and now I do everything I can to take them along. 

Most dogs love road trips!

Most dogs love road trips!

If you can take them, that is the best thing.     They usually love a road trip!

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