When you have to be away from home and there’s no-one who can come and give your pet the care they deserve, the next best option is to select a top-quality boarding facility. There are lots of excellent options almost everywhere. However, for your peace of mind, you need to know that your beloved pet is in good hands. The only way to be sure is to visit the facility and see for yourself. Here are a few basic considerations, to help you make the right decision.
Make sure you are given a tour of the pens. How spacious are they? Do they have inside and outside space: this is desirable but, depending on the location, may not be available. Time your visit so you arrive an hour or so after the facility opens: by that time the pens should have had their morning clean. Have a look for clean water in their bowls. If the floor is still dirty and the water needs changing – not a good sign.
Where will your pet sleep, off the floor? On a bed, on a blanket? Will you be able to bring items to make your pet comfortable?
Veterinary care on-site
Although your pet is in good health, it will be good to know that, should anything go wrong while you’re away, a qualified vet will be on hand to assess the situation and provide the necessary care. Choose a boarding facility, such as paoli vetcare, which offers a whole range of services, from emergency care to grooming.
Plenty of Exercise
How often will your dog be exercised? Is there a guaranteed amount of time daily? Ask to see the exercise area. If it’s within the facility, does it show signs of regular cleaning? If you see pets being exercised, notice how long each one spends outside. Are they allowed to sniff around and enjoy exploring their environment, or just taken back inside as quickly as possible.
Cats and dogs separated
If you’re boarding a cat, check that the cat pens are well away from the dogs, to avoid distress caused by large dogs barking.
Be specific: what brand of food will your pet be fed? How many times per day? Will there be set meal times, or are the bowls kept full all day?
Especially important if you’re going to be away for an extended period: what plans do they have in place to update you on your pet’s well-being? Weekly reports? Emails? Video calls?
Perhaps the most important indicator of the quality of a boarding facility is the way that the employees interact with the pets in their care. Do they talk to them, and do they refer to them by name? Do they seem to understand the unique characteristics and preferences of each one?
Consider a trial run
Finally, if you’re going to be away for a considerable length of time, consider placing your pet in the facility overnight, one or two times. This will reduce the stress on both of you as you become habituated to the separation. So when you finally leave him or her in the boarding facility for an extended stay, your pet will understand that nothing bad is happening. He or she will live in the moment, safe and well-fed, until – joy for both of you- you finally reunite and head back home.