Boarding 101: What to Look for When Boarding Your Cat or Dog

The holidays are an excellent time to take some time away from work to enjoy the company of your friends and family. Many people travel during the holidays, which can present some issues in regards to their pets. Especially if traveling long distances that require a flight or a long drive, many pet owners decide to board their pets while they’re away.

Boarding your pet is a great solution to your holiday travel. A boarding facility will ensure that your pet is getting fed regularly and is receiving the proper amount of attention. But, choosing a boarder to take care of your beloved dog or cat during the holidays is another question altogether. While it’s incredibly rare to find a bad boarder, some are better than others. While you’re enjoying your holiday vacation, you’ll want to make sure your pet is having a good time at their boarding facility.

How do pet owners decide where to board their pets during the holidays? We put together a crash course for what to look for and what questions to ask. Because boarding cats and dogs offer different situations, we’re going to approach each separately.

What to Ask and Look for at a Dog Kennel

When searching for a place to board your dog during the holidays, run a quick search online for

‘Dog boarding’ or ‘dog kennels’. Though the amount will vary based upon the area you live in, usually there will be a good chunk of dog kennel services in your area. Get a list of three or four and then start looking into each. Most places will list the rates on their websites, but if they don’t give them a call to get that information.

Narrow your list down to one or two kennel services and then request to make a personal visit to the facility. A dog kennel’s website is a great resource for collecting some information, but an in-person visit to the kennel will give you the best idea on whether or not you want to board your dog there during the holidays. On your visit, ask to see all the different places your pet may be during their stay at the kennel. Some questions to ask and observe for yourself while you’re there include:

  • How clean is the facility?  
  • Is a comfortable temperature maintained?
  • How friendly and knowledgeable is the staff?
  • How clean is the individual area your dog will be staying in?
  • What are the vaccination requirements for dogs?
  • How often are the dogs taken outside?
  • Are outdoor runs and exercise areas protected from wind, rain, and snow?
  • Are cats housed away from dogs?

By reviewing these questions at the kennel, you’ll have a great idea for what type of stay your dog will have.

What to Ask and Look for at a Cat Boarding Facility

While cat boarding facilities are not as common as dog kennels, you still will hopefully have a few different facilities to choose from when selecting where to board your cat this holiday season. When you find a few places that offer cat boarding, request to visit them in person. While on site, ask and personally observe the following questions:

  • Is there enough space for cats to move around comfortably in their kennels?
  • What’s the litter box situation? Is it separated from their food bowls?
  • How often are the cats fed?
  • Can you provide your own cat food? (Wet food vs. Dry food)
  • How often will the cats get played with?
  • Do the cats intermingle with one another?
  • Is there a resident veterinarian on site?
  • If dogs are also boarded there, are they kept away from cats?

The answers to these questions will help you make your decision. Especially the questions about your cat socializing with other cats or dogs. Not all cats play well with others. If you have a cat that is aggressive towards other cats or dogs, you’ll want to make sure the boarding facility know that, and has a plan in place to make sure your little fur ball is going to be comfortably isolated.

More Holiday Tips From PetPlace

Another thing to keep in mind before you board your pet during the holidays is to make sure they’re up to date on their vaccinations. Keeping your pet current on their vaccinations is not only good for their own health, but for the health of any other pets that they might be interacting with at the boarding facility. Here is a review of the vaccinations your cat may need.

While the holidays provide plenty of entertainment for people, it’s not always the easiest time for our pets. Whether it’s time away from their owners, traveling long distances with their owners, unsafe food and decorations, or simply being introduced to a bunch of strangers, there’s plenty for pet owners to think about when it comes to their pets wellbeing and the holidays.

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