While we can all admit to wishing we could take our pets with us everywhere we go, sadly it is not always possible, particularly when heading off on Summer holidays. Leaving your pet in a boarding kennel, whilst often unsettling for all involved, is a sometimes-unavoidable aspect of responsible pet ownership. To best ensure your pet receives top quality care in your absence, and to appease your nerves and/or worry about not being their primary caregiver for a while, your best bet is to ensure that you find the ideal facility to meet your pets’ needs.
So, what do we need to look for in sourcing the ideal boarding services for your best mate?
Short-list your recommended kennels
The first place we recommend you start is to gather recommendations of kennels from fellow pet owners, your vet or online reviews (bear in mind these are not always written by balanced individuals so be a little open minded 😊). Having someone who has previously used a facility gives you greater insight in to how the operation is run, how satisfied the user was, and whether they’d use the service again. Your vet be able to steer you in the right direction of a handful of reputable, tested care providers in your local area.
Ask Lots of Questions!
Give the boarding lodge you are interested in a call, armed with your list of questions. We generally recommend that, as a minimum, you enquire about –
- Kennels/crates – how large/spacious are the individual quarters, what materials are they made from and how accessible are they to other animals
- Routines/interactions – asking about things like social arrangements and their regularity, toileting and outdoor enrichment area access, and feeding practices are great places to start. Do they have play sessions available?
- Vet care and affiliations – your chosen boarding kennel should have an ongoing relationship with a reputable, local vet, in the case of care required or an emergency.
- Rates – While it can be expensive to board your pet, you generally do get what you pay for. Providing great staff ratios, extended opening and supervised hours and greater emphasis placed on enrichment programs and health care can all prove to be costly. Do your research and compare prices, but keep in mind the quality of care you are hoping your pet will receive during their stay.
Take A Day Trip
Once you’ve spoken to your boarding facility over the phone, you may like to pay them a visit in person. Visit your short-listed locations armed with a list of must-haves to check off as you go.
Some of our clients and staff have suggested that they found the following to be important upon meeting –
- Take note of the staff’s demeanor – are they interested in chatting with you? Are they reassuring and attentive when answering your questions? Are they interested in the animals they are currently caring for? This may help to alleviate any apprehensions you have about leaving your pet in the care of someone else, and will give you some insight into how much care and attention your pet will receive in your absence.
- Cleanliness – while it is natural for dogs and cats to make a mess, your chosen facility to should generally odour-free (smelling like ‘animal’ is very different to smelling like waste). Lodgings should be tidy, well-lit and attended to regularly by staff.
Once you’ve selected your preferred kennel, there are responsibilities on your part to ensure all goes well during your pet’s stay.
- Firstly, ensure that your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date prior to boarding. This is crucial for your pet’s health, as well as the animals your pooch or cat will be boarding alongside. Most reputable boarding services will require documentation as proof of immunisation prior to accepting your booking.
- Bring along a favourite toy, bedding or bowl that your pet will enjoy and find comfort in while you are away, if your service allows it.
- Share contact means like your phone number and email address so that you are contactable at all times during your absence. Details of “back-up” persons who are able to make decisions regarding your pet’s care, just incase you are not able to be contacted as also handy.
Being confident in your selection of care-giver while you go away these holidays will help both you and you dog/cat to relax and enjoy the getaway. While there is certainly much to consider, you’ll be able to enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your pet is receiving the highest standard of care, second only to yours.
In home care
If you feel that your best mate would be more comfortable in the home there are an abundance of care providers in the market these days.
When deciding if this is right for you there are a couple of things to bear in mind.
- Do they have police clearance and all of the right insurances in place that you are confident in giving them access to your property?
- How many times a day will they attend and how long will they stay and play?
- Is a ‘live-in’ option better for your pet?
- Will your bestie be happy to let strangers into the house/yard and importantly let them out again? I’m sure many of you have heard the ‘urban myths’ of the burglar being able to gain access to the house and then being bailed up by the dog, stuck on top of a wardrobe for days on end or face being bitten.
- Is your yard definitely escape proof?
- Is your best mate happy to be left alone for long periods and not do rogue destroying the yard or better still the backdoor, just to make sure you are not hiding inside?
If you’re a Point Cook local and would like to discuss Direct Vet Services recommended boarding kennels, give us a call on (03) 9369 1822. To ensure you pet’s vaccinations are up to date before you set off, you can book in an appointment here.