If you need to leave your cat or dog while you travel, it can be hard deciding on a boarding facility. Today, our Hermitage vets share some tips on what you should look for in a pet boarding facility.
Use the checklists below to make an educated decision about the safest place to board your pet during your trip.
What to Look for When Boarding Your Pet
All pet boarding facilities should, at a minimum:
- Be clean both inside and outside be odor-free offer spacious, bright, and well-air-conditioned rooms offer intact furniture
- Not have uncomfortably loud noise levels
- Be open about how the animals are managed and handled be capable of performing essential tasks (e.g. giving medication)
- Be commercially registered, have liability insurance, and be inspected by the veterinary office (depending on regional/national laws)
Further, the staff at boarding facilities should:
- There is enough staff to accommodate the number of animals staying there
- Staff have appropriate expertise; there isn't a constant turnover of staff, and staff answer all of your questions openly
- They request that you provide all necessary documentation (proof of vaccination, animal liability insurance, etc.)
- They inquire about any special needs your dog may have (food, care, rituals)
- They inquire about the compatibility of your pet with other pets
Dogs in Pet Boarding Facilities
While the above list demonstrates what all boarding facilities should be like, there are some things boarding facilities should offer that are specific to dogs.
How Dogs Should be Kept
- The dogs are not kept alone; they interact with humans
- There are comfortable baskets available
- There is a secure exercise area available (protected by fences)
- Female dogs in heat are not permitted
- You are expected to have your dog fully vaccinated, dewormed, and flea-treated before their arrival
- There is always fresh water available for the dogs everywhere (indoors and outdoors)
How Dogs Should be Handled
- The staff treats the dogs with love and care
- Dogs are walked twice a day (with additional free running in the outdoor area)
- There is no use of punishment
- Dogs are not permitted to walk off-leash
- Dogs are only placed in compatible groups
Cats in Pet Boarding Facilities
The rules for cats are broadly similar to the rules for dogs listed above. There are, however, some differences in how they should be kept:
- Cats should have separate rooms
- Ideally, there should be the option of a room with a view of the outside
- Facilities for climbing and scratching must be available
Questions to Ask Boarding Facilities
The first step in the boarding process is asking the right questions and determining what is most important for your pet. This information can help you decide on the best dog boarding option. Begin by conducting an online search for pet boarding facilities in Hermitage and reading online reviews.
Once you've narrowed down your options, you'll want to contact the facility to ask questions. Prepare a list of questions, both general and specific to your pet's needs, before you call.
Some questions can include:
- What pet care background, certifications, education, and expertise does the facility or individual have?
- What is the ratio of the dog or cat per staff?
- What is their screening process for identifying pets with behavioral issues?
- How many animals do they put in a playgroup?
- How much playtime and exercise will they get?
- How are animals grouped? (by size, age, temperament, etc.)
- How often are the facilities cleaned?
It can also be beneficial to take a tour of a potential pet boarding facility. Make careful observations during your visit to determine if this is the right dog boarding service for your pet.
Book a Test Period
If you find a pet boarding facility that appears to be a good fit for your dog or cat, start by leaving your pet there for a short trial period (a few days), if you can, to see if they feel at ease. If your pet seems content to return for a second stay, you've found the right place.