Going on vacation this summer but can’t take your pet? Consider putting Fido up in a boarding kennel or pet hotel while you’re away. These tips from Dr. Jennifer Zeisse, hospital director at SDHS’s Oceanside Campus, will help you find the one that’s best for you.
Before bringing your pet to the boarding facility
- Ask about their requirements, such as vaccinations, deworming, or flea/tick prevention, then make sure your pet is up to date. If he needs a vet visit prior to boarding, make an appointment. It’s better not to wait until the last minute, since the summer months are the busiest for most veterinary practices.
- Give your pet his preventive monthly flea/tick and heartworm medication in case he’s exposed to parasites from another pet in the same facility.
Be prepared in case of accidents or unexpected health issues while you’re away
- Make sure your pet’s microchip info is up to date and his collar and tags are accurate. Accidents happen, even at the best facilities with the most attentive caregivers. Proper identification will ensure that if he gets loose, you can be contacted.
- Leave an emergency contact number and your veterinarian’s info with the boarding facility. Also, ask how the facility manages sudden health problems. It may prefer to reach out to your regular vet or to work with a specific emergency clinic.
Keeping your pet happy and healthy at the boarding facility
- If your pet has a sensitive stomach, bring in his own food and tell staff to keep him to his usual routine.
- Bring a full supply of any daily medications or supplements that your pet takes and instructions for how to administer them.
- Bring your pet’s bed or blanket and a favorite toy from home. It will be soothing for him to have something that smells like him (and you) while you are away.
- If your pet has special health needs, ask your vet about boarding at the vet hospital (some vets will offer this) or consider an in-home pet sitter.
In-home pet sitters
- Many pet sitters will also provide additional services, such as bringing in your mail. Ask your vet, friends and family to see if they have any recommendations.
- When searching for a pet sitter, review their credentials for business and professional licensing and whether they are insured and bonded.
- Schedule an appointment to meet the pet sitter and see how they interact with your pet before you hire them.
- Within a week or two of your departure date, have them come visit again so your pet can become familiar with them.
- Review your pet’s routine with the pet sitter before you leave and ensure they have accurate contact information and your vet’s info. They should also know where to find a carrier or leash to transport your pet for treatment, or to safety in the event of an emergency.