What to look for in a Boarding Facility.
One of the most stressful things for pet parents when looking to travel is figuring out who will care for their pets. Although every boarding facility is different, here are a few key things to consider when you are looking around.
Ask for recommendations from friends, check Google reviews, ask your Vet Clinic, or ask around on social media. (People love giving their opinion!)
Although marketing can go a long way towards making you comfortable with your decision, most often your friends know your preferences WAY better! Checking where others are comfortable…or weren’t, narrows down the search considerably and gives you a great starting point.
Call and speak with the staff at a few facilities.
It’s not a hard and fast rule, but if people treat people with respect and kindness, they will likely treat your pets the same. Ask the questions you have and see what answers you get. Ask about staff training, where your pet will stay, what their activity will be like through the day, and what types of special treatment they will receive. You also need to ask about vaccines required If your pets don’t require them, others don’t either and put yours at risk for picking up something from a new friend. If you are comfortable with the staff, it will make you more comfortable leaving your precious pets in their care.
Ask if you can have a tour of the facility.
I often recommend to our clients to “just pop by and see if they can show you around.” I’m not sure if this is the method preferred by boarding facilities, but I feel like you will get an accurate representation of how things are run. In any case, if you are a visual person like me, you will want to be able to picture where your pet is staying, what the yards look like, and even visualize them in their room or playing while you enjoy your trip. Some facilities even have special perks like video feeds you can check into if you want to have a puppy fix.
Have a trial run or meet and greet.
Unless you are in a big hurry to get away, see if you can have a few friendly visits where you stop in for a few minutes, or even a day of boarding to see what vibe your pet gets from the facility and staff. Remember, it takes a bit for them to get used to being anywhere without you, but if they have met some of their new friends and gained a treat or two, it might make the experience better for all.
Once you find a facility you are comfortable with, make sure to ask how far ahead you should be looking for the time you need. There is nothing worse than finding somewhere you are comfortable with and then finding out they don’t have space for your pooch when you need it. Plan, and book accordingly.
Remember, you need to be comfortable with your choice so you can relax on your trip. Take the time to research. And if you can’t wrap your head around leaving them away from home, ask about pet sitters, or in-home facilities as an alternative.
Written by: Stacey Gilbert, VT