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Maybe you are going on a trip, or maybe you just have long work hours and no one at home to keep an eye on the dog. Either way, you need a dog boarding facility that you and your dog feel comfortable with. There a number of options to choose from depending on your needs, and with a little bit of footwork, you can find the perfect pet boarding facility for your dog. In all cases, make sure to send your dog out with a care package, including a collar and tags, familiar toys or a blanket, special foods, and a list of contact numbers for you.
The first thing to consider when looking for a dog boarding option is what your needs are. Think about how long you are going to be gone: if you need daycare, a quick overnight stay, or a long term dog boarding option because you are taking an extended trip. Different dog boarding options are more suitable than others, especially for long term care. Also think about the needs of your dog: special dog boarding choices are available for small dogs, dogs who need medical care, dogs who need behavioral correction and training, or multiple dogs from the same household.
If you just need a place for your dog to be during the day, look into doggy day day care. Many pet camps offer doggy day care as part of their services, and a number of pet sitters also offer day care services where your dog can romp with other dogs in a clean, safe environment. Some companies also offer doggy day care in tandem with corporations, or in downtown areas so that busy workers can take advantage of convenient locations. When you go to check out a doggy day care, bring your dog to see how he or she interacts with other dogs, and how the staff handles your pet.
For short term dog boarding consisting of a few nights, kennels are an excellent option. Most kennels have very basic facilities which include a sheltered indoor space and a dog run. Kennels should also clean your dog's area daily, and offer a minimum of one walk a day to exercise your pet. If you prefer that your animal have a more comfortable environment, or be able to mix with other dogs, look into pet hotels. Pet hotels are also good choices for long term boarding because they provide a rich environment and lots of fun to keep your dogs busy and happy while you are gone. Pet hotels also offer accommodation to multiple dogs from the same household, and usually have a special area for small or toy dogs that is secured from larger breeds.
If you want your pet to have more fun, or you want to play with your pet, doggy camp is probably a good choice. Doggy camps focus on providing structured, fun activities for dogs of all sizes and ages, along with comfortable pet houses for naps, and an assortment of foods and toys. Pet camps also often offer dog training, so you can return from your trip to a more well behaved dog. In some cases, doggy camps offer accommodation to pets and owners, so you can take a training course or just have a fun weekend together with other dogs and pet owners.
If your dog has unique medical needs, medical dog boarding options can be recommended to you by your veterinarian. Most veterinarians offer medical dog boarding, or can refer you to a facility which will be able to handle your dog. If your dog does need medical care, make sure to go over your dog's needs carefully with the staff, and make sure that everything involving your dog's care is thoroughly outlined so that there can be no confusion. It is also important to make sure that you have adequate medical supplies including medication in the original bottle, fresh needles, and any other necessities.
If you are going away for a week or longer, or you have an anxious or older dog, getting a pet sitter or a house sitter is an alternative to dog boarding kennels. You can find pet sitters that are accredited by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). The NAPPS website offers information about picking a pet sitter, and resources for finding an accredited pet sitter.
You can find qualified people to care for all the needs of your pet while they are away, without taking your pet out of its element. Your pet may still miss you, but you will lessen the stress of the animal. You are also reducing the chances of your pet contracting kennel diseases like kennel cough and parvo virus.
What options do I have if I do not want to kennel my pet with a dog boarding service? I have two cats, a dog, a fish tank, and hermit crabs. We are planning a family vacation for a couple of weeks and I can't take them with me (obviously). I don't want to be that person that tries to inconvenience my friends by hiring them to take care of my animals. I also don't think it will be feasible to move all of the animals out of my house to boarding facilities.
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