Leaving your pet behind when you travel can be stressful, but choosing the right facility and preparing for your pet’s stay will help ease the process. Dove Mountain Veterinary offers boarding services in our veterinary facility, which should give you peace of mind that your pet will be promptly cared for should a medical need arise. Whether you board your pet with us or choose another local kennel, here are some tips to help you prepare for your pet’s stay.

#1: Tour boarding facilities to choose the best one for your pet

Choosing a facility is the most important step in preparing for a boarding stay. Consider your pet’s personality, exercise requirements, social sensibilities, and medical needs while you evaluate each business. Discuss pricing, optional services, mandatory services, and pre-boarding requirements directly with an employee. Ask them how the facility runs on a daily basis. What will your pet’s typical day look like? Will they interact with other pets, or be kept in a separate room or location? How many pets are in the facility at one time?

After this discussion, ask for a facility tour and look for:

  • Cleanliness — Stressed pets frequently have accidents in their kennels, but the staff should constantly circulate and clean the spaces so that pets are always comfortable. The food prep area should be spacious, organized, temperature-controlled, and clean.
  • Boarding accommodation — Accommodations can vary widely from plain steel cages to large luxury suites and condos. Your pet will be confined for most of the day and needs enough space to move and stretch. The facility should provide sturdy, comfortable beds and food bowls, and each kennel or condo should have floor drains for easy cleaning.
  • Pet density — Be wary of boarding kennels that increase their capacity with temporary pet housing such as crates or X-pens, which likely is a violation of their zoning. Also, overloading the facility means each pet receives less attention.
  • General layout — Most facilities separate pets according to temperament, species, and size. Look for a location with multiple rooms or wards that accommodate each pet’s individual needs, and ensure cats are kept away from barking dogs.
  • Extra services — Which extras are important to you and your pet? One-on-one playtime, extra walks and exercise, food-filled treats, dog-safe ice cream, brushing and grooming, training, and group pet play are a few of the possibilities. Some facilities also offer cameras so you can check in on your pet anytime.

#2: Schedule a vaccine visit and health check before your departure

Check with your chosen facility to determine your pet’s health requirements well before your trip—a vaccination series that your pet needs for the first time can take about a month to complete. Discuss the following common boarding requirements with our veterinary team:

  • Canine or feline distemper combination vaccine
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Kennel cough and/or canine influenza vaccine
  • Leptospirosis vaccine
  • Fecal testing
  • Flea and tick prevention

#3: Ensure your pet will be comfortable in your chosen boarding facility

Ask your boarding kennel if your pet can stay for a half-day, play session, or overnight stay as a trial run before the main event. Most facilities can accommodate this need, and many offer a free first overnight stay or daycare session. They should also offer a temperament test to evaluate your pet’s suitability for various play groups. If kennel staff note your pet was stressed during their stay, ask our team about anti-anxiety medications or helpful training strategies. Alternatively, our Fear-Free facility focuses on reducing stress in every pet who walks through our doors, which may benefit some nervous pets.

#4: Pack your pet’s necessities

Packing is crucial before you take a vacation or trip, and the same goes for your pet. Here are the essential items you should pack for your pet:

  • Regular food, portioned in individual, labeled baggies
  • Medications
  • Detailed care instructions related to feeding, medications, and quirks the facility should know about your pet
  • Bedding or a T-shirt that smells like home and safe toys (i.e., no stuffed toys or edible chews your pet could ingest or choke on while unattended)

#5: Plan for emergency pet care

When you check in, provide the boarding facility staff with multiple contact numbers so they can reach you should your pet become injured or ill, or they have a question regarding your pet’s care. Appoint a local, trusted friend or family member who will be available during your pet’s stay as a backup contact person if you are unreachable.

Your pet is in good hands when you board them at Dove Mountain Veterinary or another reputable facility. Contact us to schedule your pet’s pre-boarding health checkup and vaccination visit, book a boarding stay, or to learn how our Fear Free and AAHA certifications elevate patient care, boarding, and grooming protocols in our unique facility.