For the Love of Pets: Tips on boarding your pets – The Mercury News


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Are you planning a trip and wondering where you can safely board your pet? To give yourself peace of mind that your pet is being properly cared for during your absence, here are a few things to consider in looking for your furry friend’s home away from home.
First, make sure you visit the facility in person. You’ll know immediately if the site is worth considering given the cleanliness of the facility, as well as the professionalism of the staff who run it.
Other options to consider:
When visiting the facility you’ll want to check that it’s clean, has good ventilation, comfortable temperature, and is relatively odor-free. Ask how often the kennels, rooms and litter boxes are cleaned, and how often they refresh pets’ water bowls.
If your pet becomes ill or injured while at the boarding facility, will there be a veterinarian on-call to treat your pet promptly? Be sure to ask if they work with your veterinarian in case your pet needs emergency care during their stay, or inquire about their relationships with other area veterinarians.
Ask about the staffing schedules — will there be someone onsite with the pets overnight? How many staffers are onsite at one time? Are they certified in pet first aid? What is their training philosophy?
It’s important to know which vaccinations are necessary for pets to be boarded at the facility. You’ll want to ensure your pet does not come in close contact with sick or unvaccinated animals during their stay.
Vaccines required for boarding may include: rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, leptospirosis, Bordetella (aka kennel cough), canine influenza, FVRCP (feline viral rhino tracheitis), calici virus, and panleukopenia.
Depending on your pets’ preferences, you may want to consider a site that offers enrichment activities such as group play, fetch, swimming, training classes such as obedience or agility, hide and seek, one-on-one time for walks or cuddle time, or access to a catio.
You’ll want to confirm the premises are secure and that your pet is safe. While you’re touring the facility, you can check to see if there are double gates and tall fencing to prevent pets from escaping. Do they have security cameras? Ask if they have active fire alarms and an emergency evacuation plan.
Some boarding facilities offer the royal treatment for pets. If you want your pet to be pampered during their stay, you can look for places that offer amenities such as a private suite with dog-friendly television programming, 24/7 camera in their room/kennel, premium beds, extra walks and playtime, nightly two-way video chat, customizable music, and so much more.
If you want to make sure your furry friend comes back looking and smelling good, ask if they offer grooming services such as basic or specialty baths, conditioning treatments, nail trimming, hair cuts, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, and more.
With a little planning, you can rest easy on your getaway knowing that your beloved pet is safe and cared for so you both return happy and refreshed.
Nicole Forsyth is president and CEO of RedRover, a non-profit organization that focuses on bringing animals out of crisis and strengthening the human-animal bond through emergency sheltering, disaster relief services, financial assistance and education. She writes For the Love of Pets for the Bay Area News Group. Send questions to
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