PRE-BOARDING CHECK LIST
Boarding a pet can be nerve-racking for both the owner and the animal. Here are ten simple tips to help keep things smooth and simple:
- Interview the Facility – Call the boarding facility and ask them questions like how long they have been in business and what their references are. Kennels will let you tour them as well. Pay a surprise visit to one before you schedule your pet for boarding. Make mental notes on whether the place is clean, if there are any bad odors, and if there are messes left in the cages. Remember to ask to see where the animals are walked and look for signs that they seem happy and comfortable.
- Ask for Recommendations – Call around and talk to different places. Don’t just go for the cheapest kennel. Sometimes you get what you pay for. Ask friends and family if they’ve even boarded their pets, their experiences, and what they think of the one they go to.
- Find Out Kennel Requirements – Be prepared and ask about any vaccines required for boarding and if they need a copy of vaccine records. Also find out if they allow you bring your own treats or food. See if they allow you to leave any personal items like a favorite bed or blanket, or toys.
- Learn About the Kennel Staff – Find out if the attendant is the same one that will be seeing your pet for most of their stay and see what experience they have with animals. Are they just doing a job or do they care about your pet?
- The Kennel Schedule – Ask the staff how often pets are normally walked, fed, or played with. See if your pet will have any kind of interaction with other animals. You may or may not want that.
- Feeding Options – It may be a good idea to bring in your pets regular food and request that the staff feed the usual amount you feed them. A sudden change in diet may upset your pet’s stomach, causing diarrhea or vomiting. Being boarded can already cause stress enough to create a bit of gastrointestinal upset. It’s good to make sure you don’t change anything else you don’t have to.
- Your Contact Information – Plan for the unexpected. Make sure the facility has the most accurate information to be able to get in contact with you in case of an emergency.
- Emergency Instructions – Give the kennel the appropriate instructions in case an emergency does occur. Some kennels will bring pets to certain veterinarians or hospitals in an emergency situation. If you want them to use your regular veterinarian, you need to let them know and give them the proper information to get in contact with your vet, such as name, hours, and phone number. If care is required and the kennel can’t get in contact with you, make sure they have the authorization to make charges if necessary. You don’t want your pet “waiting” for emergency medical attention because the doctor requires credit card authorization.
- Medical History – Get a copy of your pets past medical records, such as shots, medications, medical problems, diagnosed conditions, tags and microchip numbers. It’s also good to let the staff know of any personality issues like cage aggression, dog/cat aggression, and a tendency to bolt.
- Special Instructions – If your pet has any special instructions, such as medical treatment when boarding and dietary restrictions, make sure you communicate this clearly with the staff. Leave written instructions as well to avoid any confusion. As always, give them your most updated contact information so you can be reached for any questions regarding your pets care.