What are the advantages of boarding your dog?
The vast majority of dogs adapt well and enjoy their stay at the kennel.  For some dogs – puppies which have not had their immunizations, extremely old dogs with chronic illnesses, very aggressive dogs, dogs that require medication more than twice a day – you might consider boarding with your veterinarian, asking your pet care provider if they offer in-home care, or using a pet sitter.  Keep in mind, however, that pet sitting in your home, even when it is performed by a trained professional, does not offer the same level of supervision that boarding does. Furthermore, when you are not at home with your dog, his or her behavior might differ significantly from their normal behavior. For instance, your dog might try to “escape” to find you, become destructive to your home, or become aggressive toward the pet sitter.

You should definitely consider boarding your dog rather than taking him or her on vacation with you.  Many motels will not accept dogs, and those that do charge extra and become very upset if your dog annoys their other guests.  Pets can become ill as a result of traveling because of the frequent changes in water. Many dogs suffer heat prostration while locked in the car when owners to sightseeing, eating or shopping.  The national parks have an abundance of lost dogs that somehow got away from their owners and couldn’t be found before the family had to leave for home. Another serious risk is exposure to various parasites and diseases such as heartworm, ticks, hookworms, fleas, and mange.

Selecting a boarding facility
Stop by a boarding facility and visit with the owner.  Get acquainted with the people who will be caring for your dog.  Ask questions; take nothing for granted. Are toys or bedding welcome?  How will your dog be exercised? What will the facility feed my dog? Talk about safety features.  Discuss frankly any qualms you may have about boarding. They will appreciate your frankness and interest.

The experienced staff members at the facility are trained to recognize the warning signs of potential health problems and will contact a veterinarian if they feel it is called for.  Many times it is easier for the pet care provider to detect problems than it is for the owner of the dog.

What options are available for cats?
It is important to remember that cats do not usually travel well.  They do not usually enjoy it, nor do they adapt well to travel. A cat must go though an adjustment period in a new environment, and this means that your cat will not look upon your friend’s house as “home” for quite awhile.  Therefore, your cat may try to escape from the strange house at every opportunity or hide as a fear reaction. Most cat owners recognize that it is not fair to impose this kind of responsibility on their friends, nor is it a safe arrangement for their pets.  Having a boarding facility care for your pets in your absence is, therefore, the best alternative. The best way to arrange for such care is to entrust your cat to a pet care facility, where the security arrangements are adequate, to insure that your cat will not escape, and where the staff are trained in observing and handling the problems that might arise in your absence.

How do you arrange for placing your cat in a boarding facility?
Stop by your local boarding facility and visit with the owner.  Get acquainted with the people who will be caring for your cat. Ask questions – take nothing for granted.  Find out if toys or bedding are welcome. Find out about the diet the facility provides. Discuss safety features.  Boarding cats requires good security to prevent escapes. Discuss frankly any qualms you may have about boarding your cat.  The boarding facility staff will appreciate your frankness and your interest.

The experienced staff members at a boarding facility are trained to recognize the warning signs of potential health problems, and will contact a veterinarian if they feel it is called for.  Many times it is easier for the boarding facility staff to detect problems than it is for the owner of the cat. For example, urinary problems, a warning sign that deserves attention, can more easily be detected in the boarding facility than at home, since the cat is closely supervised.

It is not, however, part of the staff’s job to diagnose or to prescribe.  If your cat requires veterinary aid while he or she is boarding, you should be aware that you are financially responsible for such aid.  Discuss, before boarding, any medication or special care your cat might need. Most boarding facilities offer a certain amount of individual care (playing with, talking to, and petting) but you must be reasonable.  Asking the facility owner to allow your cat privileges that might result in an escape is not fair to either the boarding facility or your cat.

Make certain that you understand the rate structure for all services and hours of operation.  The fee for boarding includes, not only the care of your cat, but also the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your cat is safe and with someone you can trust.