Advantage Pet Center Post Archives
Taking a vacation requires a lot of planning, but one of the most important things you need to account for are your pets. Every pet is different and you need to take their personality into account when choosing whether to bring your pet to a boarder or hire a sitter. Boarding your pets often offers more options than hiring a sitter does, and can offer your pet a better experience while you’re away.
While there are many different options available when it comes to luxury in boarding, the one constant is expert level care for your pets. When you board your pet, you can rest assured that in case of emergency, staff are well trained and capable to handle the situation quickly. Another benefit of boarding is having peace of mind that there’s staff available from sunrise to sunset. With sitters you can’t always be sure your pet has a watchful eye on them during the day, but when you board, you know that someone will always be around to make sure your companion is happy and healthy.
Along with expert care, a huge advantage to choosing a boarder is knowing your pet will have plenty of play time. Often, sitters don’t provide enough physical and social interactions with your pet to keep them stimulated and happy. Most pet boarders will have amenities such as a large yard or even a pool which allow your dogs to stay active and tucker themselves out for a good night rest. While dogs get to run and swim, cats get to enjoy the luxury of climbing towers and winding walkways. For cats and dogs alike, older and non-social pets receive more personalized care including cuddles and personal beds.
While many boarders offer special additions which can raise prices, pet boarding can oftentimes be more affordable than hiring a sitter. Kennels typically offer fixed rates, whereas most pet sitters charge by visit which can really ramp up costs. If you’re working on a budget, pet boarding is the way to go, to get the most bang for your buck.
Prepare for Boarding
Once you decide boarding is the best option for you and your dog, the first step is to find a a place to board. Make sure you are comfortable with the location and the staff. Schedule a meet and greet and, if possible a trial boarding. Have them answer any questions you may have. You and your dog will be more prepared for boarding if you are comfortable with the environment.
Packing for Your Pup
You and your dog love the environment, but there are ways to make it feel a little more like home. Bring your dog’s own food if they have special diet needs. Pack a little extra in case your trip goes longer than expected. Puppies do not have a high tolerance for dietary changes. At Advantage Pet Center, we serve a premium lamb and rice dry food or a “good tasting” canned food for the picky eaters.
Is your dog on any medication? Pack a little extra to make sure there is enough for the duration of the stay, and in case your trip is extended. Do they have a favorite toy? Do they sleep in their own bed? Do they have a special blanket? Pack a few of these items to keep them happy and comfortable.
Before Your Trip
The boarding facility will ask for the following important information, so be prepared by writing it down in advance. Make sure to provide the most up to date contact information and an emergency contact, just in case. You’ll also be asked to provide the number of your dog’s veterinarian. This is especially important if your dog has any allergies or health issues, which the facility should be aware of as well. You should also let the facility know of any behavioral or attitude habits your dog may have. This will ensure the facility can make accommodations to fit your dog’s needs.
Handling the Drop Off
The best way to handle dropping your dog off is by keeping it positive. Try not to be upset or stressed when you drop your dog off because it will upset your dog. Make sure the drop off is quick and efficient with you in a positive mood. Set a happy tone and give your dog a happy and fast goodbye. Your dog will pick up on your attitude. If you are emotional and upset, your dog will be scared and might have a harder time adjusting. It’s normal to be sad when parting with your dog for a period of time, but don’t let your pup see that!
During Your Time Away
We know, you are probably having separation anxiety during your trip. Your dog misses you as much as you miss them. You may want to check in every now and then to make sure things are okay. Advantage Pet Center will provide updates (photos, texts, or even videos!) when the owner texts, emails, or calls or if they have made any special request.
We know you will be happy to reunite with your furry friend once you return from your trip. Your dog will be in good hands. Boarding allows your dog to get the mental, physical and social stimulation they need while you are away. If you follow these tips to prepare your dog for boarding, it will give you and your dog peace of mind.
When you love a dog, you’re likely to run into a time when you need to board your dog. Don’t wait until you actually need a boarding facility or kennel, research kennels and have one in your contacts before an emergency arises, or you want to take a trip where dogs are not allowed. Knowing you have a trustworthy kennel is essential and having the time to choose the right kennel for your dog will give you peace of mind. Having a kennel that you totally trust also increases your level of freedom. No longer do you have to worry about your dog or cat if you suddenly get the urge to run off for the weekend! Worrying about the dog and cat is no longer hanging in the back of your mind as you plan your next vacation. Also gone is the concern that you are over imposing on friends and relatives if you leave too frequently.
If you can find a kennel where your dog actually has fun and can do things that he cannot do at home (play with lots of other dogs, bark as much as he wants, dig holes, etc.) then you can also leave guilt free, knowing that your dog is having his own “vacation” while you are having yours.
People often select a dog boarding kennel because it’s the closest one to their home. It makes sense; if I live in Largo, Florida then I would look for a kennel in Largo, or maybe Tampa Bay or St. Petersburg.
But does that kennel have the amenities your dog needs? Is the staff reliable and caring?
When you’re getting ready to head out on a fabulous vacation or scrambling to get ready for an extended family visit, the last thing you want to do is drive 20, 30, 60 minutes or more to take Fido to the kennel.
That’s totally understandable, but what if that 20, 30, or 60 minutes of driving buys you some peace of mind? What if you knew that Fido loved going to the kennel and the staff loved Fido too? What if you didn’t have to think or worry at all about your dog while you are out of town? What’s that worth?
The bottom line is that you need to choose the right kennel for your dog – one that fits your family’s needs. That will be a bit different for each family but here’s a boarding kennel checklist to get you started in your selection process:
- Is the staff friendly and affectionate toward your dog? Are they knowledgeable?
- Do they ask for vaccination records, contact information and special needs details? Do they require a Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine?
- Can they accommodate any medications your pet needs?
- Is the building and outdoor area clean and does it smell clean?
- What’s the temperature like?
- Will your dog have its own area to rest? Is there an adequate attached run or ample opportunity for exercise? Will he have time outside?
- What is the feeding schedule like? Can you supply your own food?
- How do they handle medical concerns? Is a vet available? Will they transport your dog to the vet or emergency clinic if necessary?
- Do they provide other services such as training and grooming?
- What are the hours for drop off and pick up?
- How are fees calculated?
Start with these eleven items and add in anything else your family feels is important. Then ask friends, family and neighbors for recommendations, look online or in the phone book and create a list of kennels to review. Make the rounds, check them out and identify a few you would feel comfortable with. You may even want to take a test run with some doggy daycare or an overnight visit. Choosing a boarding kennel takes a bit of care but you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing you have a great place to leave your dog.
— Ann Stewart is the owner of Advantage Pet Center (http://advantagepetcenter.com/) in Largo, Florida, in the Tampa Bay region. She has owned and operated this kennel for over 17 years. Advantage Pet Center offers full-service boarding, grooming and doggie day care. The staff is knowledgeable, caring and passionate about the animals in their care and they love your pets like they love their own.