Leaving the house is hard when you have companion animals, especially if they’re clingy or they have separation anxiety. They can make you worry if you know they’re ill at ease without you around.
Things get worse, however, if you have to leave them for a long time.
Choosing a person to look after your companion animal while you’re away for days or weeks can be overwhelming: You need to make sure the person can be trusted to take care of your fur-baby.
Thankfully, there are boarding facilities that ensure you and your companion animals are safe and comfy while you’re away from each other.
Pet boarding: Animal hotel?
Boarding facilities are designed to keep companion animals for a specific period of time while making sure that they are well cared for, comfortable, and happy. In a way, they’re just like hotels.
Buwi Comia, animal rights advocate and owner of Clowder Bay Cat Boarding, gives us a few tips on prepping for a stress-fee boarding.
When looking for a high-quality boarding facility, it is important to ask yourself what your companion animals need for them to be comfortable in a different place that houses other animals while you’re away.
“Ask questions to yourself, like does your cat need medical attention? Can my pet tolerate strange noises like dog barking?”
Research is key
Research the facility’s requirements, rules, and services. “Look for a boarding facility with good reviews from actual pet parents. Don’t settle for less [because] paying less doesn’t guarantee good results.”
See for yourself
“Take the time to meet the owners of the boarding facility [and] ask as many questions as possible. Observe the behavior of the people in charge of [animal] care. Check if your pets have enough space to room more comfortably.
“Good ventilation and enough water sources are also things to consider. Visit their kennels and catteries.”
Boarding can be stressful to companion animals, so check their health and behavioral needs, including medications and dietary needs or restrictions.
Bring them their favorite toy, blanket or treat, so they feel at home. Don’t make any changes in their routine before boarding to lessen their stress.
Things to look out for
Not all facilities are created equal. “Red flags are dirty and smelly rooms, uncaring and clueless staff, no access to a vet or veterinary clinic, and [facilities] that don’t ask for boarding requirements,” says Comia.
Be honest with the boarding facility staff to make sure that your companion animal stays happy and healthy.
Provide your companion animal’s up-to-date medical history and their veterinarian’s contact information, just in case health concerns arise. Tell the staff about your companion animal’s quirks, eating habits, special care needs, and potential reactions to new people and other animals.
Let your companion animal feel that they are also on a vacation! If you can splurge on your companion animal to make them enjoy their stay even more, don’t hesitate to acquire special services such as animal daycare, private suites, and delicious animal-friendly treats.
Some boarding facilities also provide a long-stay discount – this gives you more money to pamper your fur-baby.
Try boarding your animal companion the next time you’re leaving town!
This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s June 2019 issue.