Pet Boarding: What to Look For When Selecting a Facility

Whether it is a long-awaited vacation, an exciting family event, a business commitment or even a sudden, unexpected emergency, leaving home for any length of time presents a not insignificant problem for pet owners as they struggle to figure out who will care for their beloved, furry companion during their absence. Though pet owners may have many good friends and neighbors, when it comes to finding a caretaker for their pet they feel it cannot be “just anyone”. This is especially true if their pet has special needs that must be met. Unfortunately, taking one’s pet with them on their trip is rarely a workable option.

At 121 Animal Hospital and Boarding we understand the struggle pet owners face when it comes time to leave home and their beloved pets. We also understand that any anxiety you feel about leaving your pet behind can be alleviated by finding an excellent pet boarding facility where you know that your pet will be well cared for and safe. However, this can often be far easier said than done, especially since the most convenient pet boarding location or the most inexpensive pet boarding option may not actually be the best choice for your pet. So how do you choose?

Selecting a Pet Boarding Facility

You have both a right and a responsibility to ensure that the boarding facility you select for your pet is the best, as this will help to ensure they have a healthier and happier stay. However, simply running an online search for pet boarding facilities can result in many options that can be overwhelming to consider. Instead, ask friends and neighbors for their recommendations, as these recommendations from fellow pet owners will be the most useful to you. You can also ask your veterinarian for any local pet boarding facilities that they recommend. Once you have a short list to work with, you can take the time to evaluate each facility.

Following are some tips for how to properly evaluate a pet boarding facility:

  • Call the facility to determine availability. Some pet boarding facilities may not be able to accommodate certain pets, such as those that require intensive and strict medication or feeding schedules, and some may become booked quickly during certain times of the year. Calling the facility can not only help you determine whether they are able to accommodate your pet, but it can also provide you with an initial opportunity to assess whether they handle themselves professionally. First impressions are definitely important.
  • Visit the boarding facility. If a boarding facility informs you that they are closed to visitors and cannot permit any sort of visit, it’s okay to go ahead and cross them off your list. There is no reason they shouldn’t be willing to welcome your visit, even if they do not permit you into the main boarding areas in order to protect the health of current boarders. While you are there, notice the:
    • Overall appearance–including organization of the facility and whether the pets there seem healthy and happy,
    • Professionalism–do facility staff conduct themselves in a professional manner? Do they treat you with courtesy and respect, and take the time to address all your questions and concerns?
    • Security–including sturdy run dividers, fencing and gates to keep animals secure,
    • Safety–including absence of sharp objects, harmful chemicals and slippery surfaces,
    • Supervision–are knowledgeable, experienced staff checking the pets frequently to ensure they are healthy and happy?
    • Cleanliness–the facility should look and smell clean,
    • Health care–observe whether clean drinking water is provided for boarders, and inquire about feeding procedures, veterinary services, immunization requirements, medication procedures and parasite control,
    • Comfort provisions–including a/c and heat, proper ventilation, comfortable lighting, good bedding, exercise areas, protection from elements while outdoors, and more,
    • Additional services–including bathing and grooming, emergency veterinary services and so forth.

In addition to the above elements, the right pet boarding facility for your pet will feel right to you. It will set you at ease and convince you that your pet will be safe and in good hands during their stay.

The Final Result

It takes patience and persistence in order to locate a good pet boarding facility, but you will be rewarded when your pet enjoys a happy and healthy stay and you have no concerns about their well-being while you’re away.

For more information about how to select the right pet boarding facility, contact us today.