Summer is around the corner, and there’s a chance you have some great trips planned. Unfortunately, it’s possible that your beloved furry companion can’t come with you, which leaves you with the task of finding a boarding facility or similar accommodation for your pet while you are away. Of course, as pet parents, you have concerns about leaving your fur baby behind.
“Traveling with an animal along can be cumbersome, and depending on the pet, it’s not always the right decision,” said Dr. Jen Kasten, technical services veterinarian at Tomlyn Veterinary Science.
To help you feel more comfortable leaving your dogs or cats at a boarding facility, follow these six tips from Dr. Kasten:
1. Find a boarding facility that meets your needs: Just like most things, boarding facilities have changed over the years. Do your research to find a facility that meshes well with you and your animal’s needs before making a commitment. For dogs and cats, you might be surprised to find that some luxury pet boarding facilities offer add-on items such as daily playgroup time, in-suite web cams and specialty treats like doggy ice cream or grilled sirloin steak.
2. Introduce them to the facility before their stay: If your pet has never stayed overnight in a new location, call the boarding facility to see if you can schedule a walk-through, or even a trial one-night stay. While there, provide your animal with positive reinforcement so they view it as an experience that is safe and enjoyable.
3. Ask questions: During your visit to the facility, ease your mind and ensure you’re selecting the best place for your animal by asking important questions such as:
- Who is responsible for the daily care?
- Is someone available 24/7 to check on the welfare of the animals in boarding?
- What is their protocol in the event of emergencies?
- Are any vaccinations and medical records required for a stay?
- Is there time provided for socialization and/or training?
4. Send them with something familiar: It’s especially important to leave pets with small items that will remind them of home and make them feel more comfortable in a new environment. Consider bringing their favorite bed, blanket, toy or even one of your old pieces of clothing. The familiar scents on these items can make them feel more comfortable throughout their stay.
5. Provide them with peace of mind: To help alleviate any stress that’s associated with being away from home, consider instructing the person caring for your pet to provide them with a calming supplement as needed. Tomlyn’s Relax & Calm chews are easy to administer and can help dogs and cats cope with stressful situations. Tomlyn products can be found at pet stores, feed stores and online.
6. Make your departure as painless as possible: Leaving your pet is the most difficult part, but try to make a quick departure. Animals can sense our stress, so if you remain calm it will help them feel more comfortable in their new temporary environment.