Regardless of how much you love your pooch, there will come a time when you’ll have to leave them behind, be it for travel, emergencies, or illness. Your first instinct may be to bring them along with you, only to find out that your hotel has a no-pets policy, or your dog has suddenly become violently ill in the middle of your vacation.
Not to mention, pet travel isn’t exactly cheap. Instead, some pet owners resort to leaving them with neighbors who, unfortunately, may not even be able to tell the difference between dog food and cat food. Home dog boarding is often a better alternative if you can find a good candidate for the job.
Owners who are in need of capable hands may also entrust their pets to professional dog-boarding kennels. More than 30 million pet owners recognize the knowledge and experience boarding facilities provide for pets. Before you drop off your pet at the nearest kennel, ask around; your vet may have someone tried-and-tested in mind.
Contact more than one professional about which kennels are the best. In the United States alone, there are over 8,500 dog-friendly boarding kennels for you to choose from. These kennels are operated so that pets have a safe and secure place to call their home away from home while their owners are away. Different from breeding kennels, which are primarily for producing puppies, the task of housing dogs is sometimes accompanied by other services, such as dog training and even pampering services such as massages.
However, not all boarding services are dog-centered. They may house other animals such as birds, cats, and snakes as well.
One of the most important things to consider is where your dog will stay while you are gone. Tour the living quarters before leaving him for an extended period of time. Make sure it is clean, orderly and safe.
Keep in mind that your dog may feel anxious staying in a foreign place so placing her in a small, enclosed area may not be the best idea. Crate-free dog boarding is ideal in making pets feel more at home. The working staff at boarding kennels and hosts should always have a pet-friendly attitude to put even the most anxious dogs at ease.
A sitter listed on Rover will offer dog boarding in the comfort of their home, which is often preferable for anxious dogs. However, just as with a facility, be sure to ask the sitter about other pets in the home and what your dog’s indoor and outdoor environment will be like. Take advantage of the “Meet & Greet” before a stay so that you feel comfortable about working with the particular sitter you’ve chosen, and don’t hesitate to contact another sitter in order to compare fit.
The nice thing about a pet sitter coming to your house, whether for drop-in or for overnight stays, is that you don’t have to change anything about your dog’s environment. This is a real advantage for anxious dogs or dogs who otherwise thrive on a familiar routine.
For trips of shorter duration or simply extra-long workdays, a drop-in pet sitter can provide peace of mind for busy pet parents. Booking a drop-in sitter ensures that your pet gets at least 30 minutes of dedicated attention, not to mention a potty break and a water bowl top-up.
As with in-home boarding, with pet sitting at your house, it’s important to meet a few candidates first to find out whether they’re a good fit. Be sure to walk them through your dog’s routine and show them where essentials are located. They’ll need to know how your dog reacts to new arrivals at the front door, too.
For more lavish accommodations, there are upscale dog boarding facilities that act as “pet hotels,” with a comfortable bed and other amenities to simulate a more comforting environment, while other dog boarding kennels act as doggy daycares, with fun activities your pooch can take part in. Playtime with other dogs should always be supervised to reduce the risk of injury or spread of disease.
How much exercise does your pet require? Some facilities only have dog walking once daily for about half an hour, whereas home boarding can offer your dog more attention. If your dog is used to being free to roam around, half an hour a day may not be enough for him. Make sure your host allows ample time for your pooch to go for walks.
Take into account your pet’s interests before settling on a host or boarding facility. For example, dogs that enjoy a good swim would probably enjoy a host with a beach house in Carlsbad, San Diego, California, while dogs that are used to an urban setting may find downtown L.A. closer to home.
Analyze the immediate environment and determine whether it is suitable for your pet or not. At the end of the day, you want your pet to remain happy and healthy despite living temporarily in another facility or person’s care, so take time in researching the best boarding or pet sitting option for you.