Let’s be honest. As fun as vacations are, it can be super stressful leading up to them. Why add worries about pet boarding on top of it all?
If you want to feel good about your pet being in good hands while you’re away, keep reading for 6 cat and dog boarding tips every pet parent should know.
You’ll find that with a dash of due diligence, a sprinkle of home, and a pat of preparation, you’ll have the perfect recipe to give your pet a pawsitive stay at the “pet hotel.” In fact, they may even look forward to your next vacation!
6 Tips for Stress-Free Pet Boarding
1. The Early Bird Gets the Worm (or Cat Condo)
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in planning our epic vacay that we let time slip away from us. But beware! Pet boarding facilities fill up fast during prime travel months, so if you wait, you could miss out.
Also, you’ll need to make sure your dog or cat is up-to-date on their vaccinations in order to be accepted as a “tenant.” Because some vaccinations take 10–14 days to kick in, you’ll want to be ahead of the game in getting your pet into the vet.
2. Ask Your Pet Pals
Just like you wouldn’t book the first hotel you see online, you’ll want to do a little digging to find the best boarding facility for your dog or cat. A great starting point is to just ask around. Post on Facebook to see who your friends recommend, talk to your pals at the dog park, ask your vet for recommendations, or go look at Yelp reviews.
3. Take a Tour
When selecting a boarding facility, schedule a tour and get to know the staff. Come with a list of boarding questions to ask. A tour will give you an idea of how clean and well run the place is. You can also bring your pet along for a “meet n’ greet.”
4. Do a Trial Run at Puppy Daycare
Many dog boarding facilities double as puppy daycares. Get your pup in for a few days of doggy daycare to see if he has a tail-wagging good time in their care. This will help you feel a lot more confident when it’s time to say good-bye for a few days.
Er – that’s “Bring Your Own Blanket.” If your pet has a favorite blankie or snuggle buddy, take it to the boarding facility so they’ll have a comforting reminder of home. You can also bring their own food and water dishes, so their routine is as normal as possible.
6. New Diet? Don’t Try It.
We admit, it wouldn’t be super exciting to eat the same thing. Every. Single. Day. But the weeks leading up to pet boarding aren’t the time to switch up your pet’s diet. Boarding can already be a bit stressful … which can sometimes manifest itself as an stomach upset. New diets, especially if not introduced slowly, can make an upset stomach even worse.
On the Fence About Cat or Dog Boarding?
If you just can’t get yourself on board with the idea of pet boarding, here are some alternatives.
- Hire a trusted house sitter. Many people love the convenience of just having someone come to their home without packing up their pet’s things. This is often a great option for cat owners, as most cats don’t like to ride in the car and may not take to boarding as well as dogs.
- Hire a dog walker. If your dog doesn’t have separation anxiety and you’ll only be gone for a few days, hire a dog walker who can also do potty breaks, feeding and watering … and of course, belly rubs. Long walks will be fun for the dog and help curb any loneliness until you get back.
- Take your pet with you. Dog-friendly hotels and home rentals are everywhere, so you may just want to consider bringing your pet along for the ride.
P.S. If your pet is smelly after boarding, do this …
Even at the cleanest of places, pets can often be a bit, well, stinky after being boarded. Between unpacking, laundry and weeding out the hundreds of photos on your phone, you’ll likely have a ton to do after you get home. If you don’t have time to give your dog or cat a bath, just spray them – and their belongings – with Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer.
This is a favorite deodorizer of veterinarian offices and boarding facilities because it wipes out odors without polluting the indoor air environment which, according to a new report by the EPA, is 2–5 times more polluted than the outdoor air.
A true breath of fresh air, Oxyfresh Pet Deodorizer is 100% non-toxic and completely dissolves odorous molecules instead of simply masking them with overpowering fragrance and chemicals.
Pets, vets and groomers love it, and you will too!
Want more odor-fighting tips? Check out: How to De-stink Your Smell Dog & Keep Your Home Fresh.