As warmer spring weather approaches, millions of people across the country are finalizing their travel plans and deciding if they should leave their pet at a professional boarding facility. They aren’t alone — according to a study from the Family Travel Association, 47 percent of families take a vacation during the spring months. I’ve found that traveling with an animal along can be sometimes be cumbersome, and depending on the pet and the pet owner, it’s not always the right decision.
If you’re planning a trip and are hesitant about leaving your dog or cat at a boarding facility, here are six tips that can make you feel more comfortable:
- 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. Some luxury pet boarding facilities offer add-on items for pets such as daily playgroup time, in-suite webcams and specialty treats like doggy ice cream or grilled sirloin steak.
- 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.
- 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?
- Send them with something familiar: It’s especially important to leave them with small items that will remind them of home and make them feel more comfortable in a new environment. Familiar scents of their favorite bed, blanket, toy or even one of your old pieces of clothing can make them feel more comfortable throughout their stay, so consider sending one or a couple of items with your pet.
- 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. The Tomlyn 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. To find a store near you, visit www.tomlyn.com/our-locations.
- 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.
If you still have questions about boarding your cat or dog, you can consult your veterinarian or the staff at your local boarding facility.
For more tips from Dr. Jen Kasten, you can read our other pet-related articles here on the Tomlyn blog.