As much as you’d like to, taking your beloved pet with you everywhere you go isn’t always possible. Whether it’s for an out-of-town business trip or family vacation, a safe and reliable pet boarding facility may be the best option for your pet’s wellbeing and your peace of mind. Some of the same things you would look for in a veterinary clinic will still hold true when searching for a kennel, but there are also some others to consider.
Here are four tips to help you find the right place to board your beloved pet.
Start with a tour of the kennel and pay particular attention to the cleanliness. A clean boarding facility will be relatively odor free. There also shouldn’t be any waste or urine. “Often, boarding facilities that are supervised by a veterinarian uphold a higher standard in this area and overall,” says Dr. Pamela Austin, DVM and owner of Westbury Pet Care Center.
2. Vaccination Requirements
Be sure to ask if there are any vaccinations required in order to board your pet. Vaccinating your pet is important for his or her health and safety, and for the health of the other pets being boarded in the same facility. Knowing that all the other pets are vaccinated protects your pet, too. The requirements for dogs should include distemper, rabies and kennel cough vaccines. Cats will need rabies and distemper. If a facility doesn’t have these basic requirements, keep looking.
3. Medical Access
Ideally, you should seek a vet-supervised boarding facility, especially if your pet has special medical or dietary needs. At the very least, make sure there is a veterinarian on-call around the clock even if the facility itself isn’t staffed 24/7. In many cases, high-quality trained staff can recognize potential problems before they occur. However, accidents can happen at even the best pet boarding facilities. Ensuring a certified professional can administer care in a timely manner can make a huge difference.
4. Consider Your Pet’s Needs
Dogs should have their own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run, or an indoor run with scheduled exercise. For cats, make sure they are acoustically isolated from dogs as much as possible and that their food and water are kept in a separate area from their litter box.
Beyond that, consider your pet’s individual needs. Do they get separation anxiety? Ask about bringing a favorite toy or blanket from home. Does your dog play well with others? Group play can be high risk. Make sure it’s well supervised or ask for individual playtime instead. Does your pet need medication or have a special diet? Any quality boarding facility should be able to accommodate those needs.
Barring any major red flags, once you choose a pet boarding facility, give it a few stays. “Building a relationship with your pet takes time,” says Dr. Austin. “But doing so allows facility staff to deliver an enhanced level of care.” When the staff is familiar with your pet and knows what is normal for him or her, they are better able to identify problems.
Westbury Pet Care Center is certified by the International Boarding & Pet Services Association and overseen by the veterinary staff of Westbury Veterinary Clinic. The facility features 40 indoor-outdoor runs for canines, as well as a dedicated boarding area for felines with a playtime gazebo and private porches. Fun events such as summer fun parties, tailgates and special holiday treats are offered on a seasonal basis to enhance your pet’s stay. Before your next trip, visit WestburyPCC.com or call (843) 873-9835 to schedule a tour.