Where to Leave Your Dog

Rarely people will think about who will take care of their pets if they could no longer do so. You and your pet both will be more comfortable if the plan is made ahead of time.

The first step in choosing a place to board your dog is thinking about what kind of care you want him to receive. Is your dog the outdoorsy type or is he happiest in the comfort of your warm den? Does he eat a special diet or have special medical needs? Must he have his special blanket, toy and treat to be happy (or at least you think so)?

Once you’ve decided what you want for your pet’s happiness, start looking for a caregiver.

Most people begin with their veterinarian because he or she is someone they know and trust. Vets usually offer boarding as a service to their clients and it is not their primary focus. There are pros and cons to this option. Yes, you can rest assured knowing that your pet is in the care of qualified vets and their staff, but they may not have as many opportunities to run and play or receive the personal attention by the facility’s employees. Another thing to consider in a veterinarian clinic is that your pet will be surrounded by other sick or hurt animals, which may not be the most nurturing environment for a healthy animal.

While you still may choose the familiar over the unfamiliar, many people prefer to find a boarding kennel where the focus is on meeting their pet’s everyday needs. Let your fingers do the walking as the saying goes, and check out different kennels on the web. Some have elaborate sites while others good kennels are listed only in phone directories. An online directory of boarding facilities listed by state and town can also be found at www.dogboarding.com, where listed facilities can provide some information about their kennels as well as their address and phone number and a link to their website.

It also pays to ask the kennel staff to describe an average day at their facility. Then follow-up with an unannounced visit to see for yourself if they described the place accurately. You might also want to take your dog to see how he reacts to the staff or other dogs there. When you have settled on the kennel where you feel your pet will be most contented, do a trial run and have him stay for a night or even a whole weekend. This is an especially good idea if you’re planning a long trip, as it gives your pet the chance to realize that you will return for him. You may not be happy with the first place that you visit, so don’t be afraid to keep looking.

Planning ahead to find a facility that makes you comfortable, even though you have no trips scheduled, is necessary to your peace of mind. Then, if an emergency happens, you’ll know what to do with your beloved pet.

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