Tips Before Boarding Your Furkids

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At some point, you will probably need to leave your furkids behind while you travel. Though it is not easy to leave them, you want to be sure your furkids has a safe, comfortable place to stay while you are gone. If you are considering boarding your furkids, ask your friends and your vet who they recommend. Then, call several boarding kennels to learn more. Here are some questions furkids owners commonly have about boarding. Be sure to ask the facility these questions before you make a boarding reservation for your furkids.

Where will my furkids stay?
It is important to know what your furkids’s temporary living space will be like. Ask for a tour of the facility to ensure that the environment is neat, organized and odor-free. Consider the cages or runs. While it might be fine for a crate-trained furkids, boarding in a cage can cause anxiety for a furkids not accustomed to it. Plus, older furkids with arthritis need more room to move around. If you don’t like the idea of your furkids staying in a small cage the whole time, look for a boarding facility that offers upscale boarding, eg. home boarding. These "pet hotels" often have small rooms that mimic the home environment.

How often will my furkids be walked?
Some boarding facilities only let furkids out for a few minutes at a time. If this is something your furkids is used to, then it might not be a problem. However, if you want your furkids to get a bit more time to stretch, you should look for a place that walks furkids more times daily. Ask if they have a fenced-in area where your furkids can roam a bit. If not, find out if the attendants walk furkids around for several minutes rather than just letting them relieve themselves quickly and go back in the cage.

What will my furkids eat?
Boarding can be stressful for your furkids, even if he/she is accustomed to it. A change in diet can add to the stress on their body, possibly resulting in diarrhea or vomiting. Bringing your furkids’ regular food is the best way to prevent this. Find out if there is an extra fee to feed a special diet. Be sure to stress the importance of feeding your furkids’ regular food. Some furkids will not eat well while boarding, so you may want to bring along something healthy that can be added to him/her food to make it more palatable. Be sure to leave specific instructions with the boarding facility regarding what your furkids can and cannot eat.

Will my furkids be allowed to interact with other furkids?
Some boarding facilities offer daily sessions where furkids are permitted to play together off-leash. While this is great exercise and can be fun for your furkids, it can also be risky. Even furkids that get along with other furkids can become over-stimulated in a group environment. If furkids are allowed to play together, attendants should heavily monitor the furkids and only allow a few furkids to play together at a time. Ask the facility about their policies regarding furkids playtime, including their established protocol if an injury occurs.

What happens if my furkids becomes sick or injured?
Every boarding facility should monitor the daily habits of boarders. Most keep a log of appetite, water intake, urination and defecation. Vomiting, diarrhea or other abnormal activity should be noted also. Some boarding facilities will perform a daily “once-over” on boarders to make sure there have been no changes in their physical condition, especially if the boarding facility is part of a veterinary hospital. If the boarding facility is not part of a veterinary hospital, find out where they take furkids that become sick. Ask if it is possible to have your furkids transported to your own vet if he/she needs medical attention.

How much is this going to cost?
Part of planning for a vacation includes budgeting for your furkids’s accommodations. Be direct with the boarding facilities up-front. Ask about the base boarding fee per day based on the size and type of furkids you have. Find out if there are any hidden costs or add-ons, such as fees to feed your furkids a special diet, administer medications or take your furkids for extra walks. Try to get a written estimate in advance if possible.

So you found a great boarding facility. Now what?

  • · Make a reservation well in advance. If you wait too long, the facility may become fully booked. Especially during peak
  •   season like public holidays. 

  • · When you bring your furkids in for boarding, remember her food, special instructions, and any other permitted items.

  • · Do not bring items that you absolutely need to get back, as they could become lost or damaged. Bear in mind that many
  •   facilities limit personal items for this reason.

  • · Make sure the boarding facility has contact numbers for you on your trip, plus local emergency contacts in case you
  •   cannot be reached.

  • · Relax! You’ve done your research and your furkids will be in good hands. Enjoy your vacation!