If you have travel plans and can’t bring your pet along, consider booking a stay for your furry friend at a reputable boarding facility. While the idea of leaving your pet behind may feel overwhelming, boarding them can have many benefits for both of you. Boarding provides a secure environment for your pet while you are away because trained staff can ensure their safety and wellbeing until your return. Boarding can be a fun adventure for your pet, and you can ensure they enjoy a comfortable and safe experience by preparing in advance. Our team at Veterinary Medical Center of Indian River County shares tips to prepare your pet for a successful boarding experience.

#1: Choose a boarding facility that meets your pet’s needs

You know your pet and the kind of boarding environment that will be best for them. Consider your pet’s unique needs, and use these tips to choose a boarding facility that will be the right fit:

  • Do your research — If this will be your pet’s first time being boarded, start by asking friends, family, and your veterinarian for recommendations. Then research and compare  boarding facilities in your area. Look for facilities that are licensed and have positive reviews from other pet owners. Learn about the services they offer, and find information on their staff training, safety protocols, and the types of pets they accommodate. 
  • Take a tour — Before choosing a boarding facility, schedule a visit. This will give you an opportunity to meet the staff, tour the facility, and see where your pet will be staying. Observe how the staff interacts with the pets and ask about their daily routine.
  • Give your pet a trial run — Familiarize your pet with the boarding facility by having them stay for a half-day or one-night visit ahead of their longer stay. This will help your pet feel more comfortable with their surroundings and the facility staff who will be caring for them when they are boarded for a longer period.

Taking the time to research boarding facilities will ease your pet’s anxiety—and your own—by ensuring they feel comfortable and receive appropriate care during their stay. 

#2: Book your pet’s stay in advance 

Boarding facilities often have limited availability, especially during peak travel seasons and  holidays. Once you have decided on a facility, book your pet’s spot in advance to ensure that they have a space reserved and that you won’t have to scramble to find another option at the last minute. Booking your pet’s boarding spot in advance also allows you to plan and prepare for their stay and complete the necessary paperwork and vaccination requirements. 

#3: Schedule a veterinary visit for your pet 

Schedule a pre-boarding veterinary visit for your pet to ensure they are in good health and up to date on their vaccinations and parasite preventives. Most reputable boarding facilities only take pets who receive veterinary-approved parasite control products and whose vaccinations are current. So, do your homework before your pet’s wellness examination to ensure they receive all the vaccinations a potential boarding facility might require. If your pet has anxiety, your veterinarian may suggest medication, such as trazodone (i.e., anti-anxiety medication), to help them manage while you are away. If your pet needs any special medication, tell the boarding facility in advance and provide them with clear instructions on dosage and administration.

#4: Make a pet packing list 

Pack your pet’s essentials so they will feel comfortable and happy while you are away. Put together a list early and take your time getting organized. Examples of items to consider for your pet’s stay include:

  • Food — Sudden changes in diet can result in gastrointestinal upset, so provide enough food for your pet’s stay at the boarding facility. 
  • Medications — Provide the boarding facility with an ample supply of your pet’s medication in the original prescription bottle, and leave clear dosage instructions.
  • Leash and collar — Ensure your pet has current ID tags attached to their collar, and leash your furry pal when you bring them into the facility to keep them safe in the parking lot. 
  • Favorite toy Pack your pet’s favorite toy so they will feel more comfortable while you are gone. 
  • Something with your scent — Provide the boarding facility with a small blanket or towel that smells like you to give your pet a comforting reminder of home. 

#5: Keep your pet’s goodbye quick

When it’s time to say “goodbye,” be strong for your pet. They can sense your emotions, so do your best to stay positive and calm when dropping them off at the boarding facility. Keep your goodbyes short and sweet, and avoid lingering. If you are nervous or upset, your pet will sense it and may become anxious.

Preparing your pet in advance for boarding will help ensure a safe, comfortable, and stress-free stay for them while you are away. For more information about boarding or to schedule your pet’s pre-boarding visit and vaccinations, contact our Veterinary Medical Center of Indian River County team to schedule an appointment.