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You’re going out of town and have decided it’s best to leave your fur-baby behind. Maybe your hotel doesn’t allow dogs. Maybe the nieces and nephews are allergic to dogs. Maybe you just want a couple days without a fur festival happening on your black trousers. Whatever the reason, you’ve chosen probably the least stressful option for your dog. Finding the right boarding for your dog is just as tricky as finding the right child care. You want to ensure it’s a safe, friendly environment that can accommodate your dog’s needs and give you peace of mind. You have some homework to do. There are a few options to consider and we’ll outline them here.
Reputable Boarding Kennels
This could be a great option for your dog. Most offer indoor and outdoor play, group time, one-on-one play, comfy beds, TVs tuned to Animal Planet, special treats and cameras so you can check in on your baby while you’re gone. You may also have the option of cage-free lodging with all the comforts of home. Read reviews, ask your friends and neighbors who they use, tour the facilities and talk to the owner. You’ll want to ask several questions about the facility and the options available for your pet. Cleanliness is really important. Ask how they keep the facility clean and ensure they are using non-toxic chemicals to do it. Trust your peepers and your sniffer when you visit. Good ventilation should be a given. If your dog has a specific diet, ensure that your instructions can and will be followed. It’s important to maintain your pet’s diet; this is especially critical if you are feeding raw foods. Make certain that they know what’s required at meal time. Additionally, if your pet needs medications or other special care, ask if they can accommodate and, if so, the costs involved. A list of really great questions to ask and what to look for can be found at Whole Dog Journal. If you choose this option, ensure your dog’s immunizations are up to date. Check with the kennel to see what is required well before your dog’s stay. Holidays fill up fast, so book early!
Services like Rover.com offer sitters in your area. You simply plug in your zip code, info on your dog(s) and away you go. Many of the sitters are background checked, list their pricing and are reviewed right there on the site. You can get the level of service you need from drop-in feed and potty to overnight stays and even house-sitting-type stuff like watering the plants. Bonus: The one-on-one attention comes naturally here as your dog can be in the sitter’s home or your home and they are part of the family; sitting on the couch, sleeping on the bed and so on. Your dog in a home (or better still – your home) equals less stress for your dog. The sitters are dog lovers and will probably have dogs of their own. If your dog isn’t well socialized with other dogs, talk about this with your sitter. The best bet in this case would be for the sitter to hang out at your place. You’ll also likely get text photos of your dog having fun while you’re at Grandma’s house. Check with your sitter for specifics.
Friend or Neighbor
Sometimes the least costly and most comfortable option is having your dog sleep over at a neighbor or friend’s house or have them stay at your place to spend some quality time with your pup. They have their own dish, their own bed and toys, they are in their own place. We’ve done this many times ourselves. The benefit here is you already know and trust this person and can pay in different currencies. We’ve paid in cash. We’ve paid in food. We’ve even paid in adult beverages (for the adult sitters, of course!)
If the holidays require you to travel, consider leaving your dog behind. These are some great options and if you do your homework before you choose, you will have a great time away knowing your dog is in good hands. He’ll probably enjoy the vacation as much as you! Share your favorite boarding option and experience with us!