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5 Things to Consider Before Boarding Your Dog

Many concerned pet owners are worried about what might happen when they travel and leave their furry friends behind. Even if you happen to find a grade-A kennel, your pal will still be relegated to spending most of his time in a cage while you’re gone, and the rest of it with unfamiliar people and other animals, some of whom may be less than friendly. So it’s no wonder you’re hesitant to board your dog. But you can’t exactly let your pet’s potential discomfort stop you from traveling, especially if you are required to do so for your job (not that you should skip a vacation because you’re worried about how your canine might react to a few days at the kennel). And there are some options that should make you a little more comfortable with the prospect of leaving your best friend behind. Here are a few things you’ll want to consider before you opt to board your pet.

  1. Comparison shopping. It’s important that you feel comfortable with any establishment that your pooch will stay at while you’re gone, whether it’s just for a couple of days or several weeks at a time. This means checking more than just pricing and availability over the phone, although these are good preliminary steps to narrow down your affordable options. From there, however, you need to visit boarding facilities in order to see what accommodations and services are offered, as well as what the attendants are like. If the facilities are up to your standards and the staff seems kind, trustworthy, and attentive, you might feel a lot better about boarding your pet.
  2. Boarding with your vet. If you’re concerned about leaving an elderly and/or ailing pet at the mercy of overworked kennel attendants, you might want to find out if your veterinary office provides pet boarding for clients. This will ensure that your animal has access to any medical care he might need while you’re away, and he’ll be in the care of someone that knows him.
  3. Pet hotels. Some dog owners only want the best for their best friend, and if this is the case with you and your pal, you really can’t do better than boarding your dog at one of the many pet hotels that seem to be springing up in cities all over the country. These high-end kennels offer private rooms complete with beds and toys, personal attention in the form of walks and play time, supervised group play, grooming (including “spa” services), training, and even webcams that let you watch your pets at any time of day or night. Of course, this level of service will cost you, but there are few better ways to ensure your pet gest the best possible care in your absence.
  4. In-home sitters. Some animals don’t do well outside of their everyday setting, so you might worry about the stress and anxiety your dog will go through while you’re gone. You may therefor want to consider in-home care as an alternative to boarding. Although you’ll have to let a stranger into your house, this professional can ensure that your dog has the companionship and play time needed to stay calm and happy while you’re gone.
  5. Boarding with family or friends. Who says you have to leave your pooch with strangers when you travel? Although you can find truly spectacular accommodations and services at your local NYC, LA, or LV dog resort, you needn’t necessarily take on the expense and anxiety of leaving your pet pal at a kennel if you have family members or friends that you can rely on to watch your him. Whether they stay at your house or take your pet to their residence, your dog is bound to be a lot more comfortable staying in an open home with a familiar face. And don’t forget to offer compensation or even reciprocation when your favorite caregivers go on their own vacations, leaving their pets behind.
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