As we approach the season of vacation getaways, pet parents start thinking about what to do with the cat, dog, bird, fish, etc., while they’re out of town. Not all pets are portable, and some prefer routine over travel. Some do better at home, with a sitter who sleeps over or periodically checks in on them. Others fare better in a facility with full-time staff, which may even include overnight (check with your facility to see if someone is on duty at night). Your pet’s personality and needs should be carefully considered when you make your decision about what to do with him while you travel.
You may prefer professional pet boarding because for you, it eliminates some of the “what-ifs” that are on your mind. Safe-keeping pets in a facility that is designed specifically for animals, with their tendencies and capabilities in mind, may make the most sense to you for your pet. The staff will be on guard to prevent escapes, anxiety and defensive behaviors, and at a reputable pet boarding facility, health care and safety are given the utmost priority. Some facilities are species-specific, helping them to be even more specialized in the care of your pet. An example is the growing number of accommodations designed for felines only that many cat owners are choosing.
In making your choice of pet care, be sure to consider your pet’s behavior, either at home or at a boarding facility. Some pets, if they remain at home while their parents are away, actually get more anxious because they are in the environment where they expect their owners to be on hand. When they’re not, they experience anxiety that shows up as unwanted behaviors, such as anxiety, fear of strangers, uncontrollable vocalization, or destructive tendencies. These pets may feel more secure in a pet hotel, because they’re in an environment where they aren’t expecting to see their pet parents and so they show fewer signs of “missing” them. And, with staff always at the ready, their needs are met, and even high-energy animals can exert themselves safely.
In a respected kennel, sanitation, nutrition, digestion, and protection from harm—health and safety—are top priorities. Some pet hotels can offer individual accommodations with no group interaction. For some owners, this brings peace of mind, without the worry of any potential aggressive encounters. Medications are administered on time, and caregivers are specially trained for this.
In emergencies, trained staff are there to quickly react. You have a legally binding contract with the facility and they have policies in place to deal swiftly with any emergent health issues. One common concern during the summer months—heat-related illness—is carefully monitored, with shaded grass and indoor play offered.
Planning ahead for your pet’s care is important, so if your pet is not familiar with the facility, be sure to schedule a “trial” day before you leave to make sure both you and your pet are comfortable with the environment. Book early, as boarding facilities can fill up fast, especially during popular vacation times.