TAMPA - Spring break and summer vacations are right around the corner and if you have a pet, you're faced with a dilemma. Where is Fluffy or Fido going to hang while you're out of town? Angie's List recommends a good quality boarding kennel. “If you are going to be traveling and you are not looking to take your pet with you, one great options is actually to use a boarding kennel, but it’s important to research the kennel before you leave town," said Angie's List founder, Angie Hicks.
Pet boarding is a service lots of pet parents end up needing. Boarding you pets overnight or for a longer stay can help them avoid the stress of a long car or plane trip to your destination. But how do you make sure your pet’s needs are handled properly and the experience is safe and appropriate for your pet? “It’s important to do your research about the kennel before you use them," Hicks said. "You want to find out whether it’s going to be the right fit for your pet. Are they use to dealing with elderly pets if that’s the case in your scenario or if you have an overly active pet that likes to be outside all the time, are they going to get an opportunity to be outside? These are important questions to be sure you pick the kennel that is right for your pet”
Angie's List offers these 10 questions to ask before you board your pet:
- Are your facilities a doggie daycare or kennel? There is a difference in most cases. Doggie daycares offer more time outside of cages and dogs interact and play together. Kennels keep dogs inside separate enclosures most of the time and may allow for exercise at scheduled intervals.
- Are you a member of the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA)? PCSA members must commit to quality pet care, comply with all applicable laws and ordinances, and follow the PCSA Code of Ethics.
- Do you offer cageless options? Most dog owners don’t want their pets cooped up in a cage for extended periods while they’re away.
- If pets are primarily caged, how often are they let out for exercise? It’s likely that your pet will not have the same freedom you allow him or her at home. But it’s important that pets are let out at least a couple of times daily.
- Are all the facilities outdoors, or do you have indoor facilities? You don’t want your pets exposed to the elements all the time.
- If there are inside facilities, is there climate control? Chances are if your pet stays indoors with you at home, he or she may be used to climate control.
- How often are the cages or rooms cleaned? Your pet’s kennel space needs to be cleaned.
- How are emergency situations handled? You want to know that the kennel has access to veterinary services and that you’ll be notified if something goes wrong.
- Do you have webcam access? You may want to check in on your pet while you’re gone, and webcams allow you to monitor what’s going on.
- Are you really for my pet? Even though a kennel or daycare might seem great to you as a human, keep in mind that animals’ wants and needs are different. Check if the facility is really catering to you, the pet parent, or to your pet who is the one who really needs care and attention while you are away.
3 Cat-specific questions:
- Are cats housed away from dogs?
- Is there enough space for cats to move around comfortably?
- Is there enough space between the litter box and food bowls?
“It’s very important that you actually visit the kennel before you choose which one," said Hicks. "So once you have it narrowed down to a couple of kennels you like go visit even take your pet with you to visit so you can find out whether it’s going to be a good match for your pet. Also, be sure you understand exactly how the fees are going to work. Understand is the price going they’re quoting for just staying at the kennel and are there extra charges for play times and things like that so you know exactly how much you are going to pay for your visit.” As always, get three estimates; check animal boarding kennel reviews on Angie's List; and verify a kennel's insurance and, if necessary, licensure information before hiring.
Angie’s List Tips: Choosing a pet boarding facility:
- Take a look: A reputable facility will ask that you bring your pet in to gauge how he/she reacts to the other pets. Use this time to get to know the staff and introduce your pet to the staff. The facility should look and smell clean. Do employees regularly clean up? How is the facility set up? Is it safe for your pet? Are indoor/outdoor runs available? Is there enough space in the sleeping areas? Is the bedding clean and dry?
- Check their license/certification: Check if your state requires boarding kennel inspections. If so, the facility should display this information.
- Make sure they offer proper supervision: Ask how many pets the facility accommodates. Do they have enough staff to ensure proper supervision? Do they staff the area 24/7? Do they have a veterinarian on staff?
- Food and water: Do pets have plenty of fresh water? Food bowls