I have an ex-Sister-in-Law who once made an infamous statement that “It’s not a vacation unless it’s nicer than my house.” Maybe that’s one of the reasons she’s no longer my sister-in-law. Our extended family likes to go camping in New England.
We also were boaters, and at one point in our lives had a 28-foot Luhrs cabin cruiser. We frequently took one-week vacations and our ports-of-call included Newport and Block Island Rhode Island; Sag Harbor, Montauk, Shelter Island and Greenport, NY as well as through the Shinnecock canal and down through the Inter Coastal Waterway to the National Seashore at Fire Island, NY.
With 2 young kiddos in small quarters, we weren’t able to take our precious Black Lab with us. So we chose the best boarding facility we could afford.
If you find you must choose a boarding facility for your favorite pet, here’s some things to keep in mind.
Boarding Your Pet
Check out the kennel in person and take a look around. Do they clean up after the animals on a regular basis? Are the dogs at the kennel doing a lot of scratching at fleas? Do all the areas, for both animals and humans look clean? Most facilities require dogs to have their Rabies and Bordatella vacination shots up to date. This is a good thing as it’s for your pet’s protection, and helps to avoid your pet returning with “kennel cough.”
Many people must sign up for their vacation dates at work at the beginning of the year. If the kennel is popular then you might have to book your pet’s stay a well in advance. This doesn’t work so well for you if you’re a spontaneous vacation taker. Keep this in mind and have a back up kennel if your first choice isn’t available, or start planning your trips far enough in advance. We always had a “Plan B” just in case.
Hours of Operation
It’s important to know the boarding kennel’s hours of operation as this can affect your planning as well as your wallet. Check to see if the kennel is closed for picking up or dropping off on any of the days, such as Sunday. If this is the case, you can’t pick up your dog or cat until Monday and you’ll have to pay for an extra day. This could actually tack an extra day on the front and back ends of your trip and you’ll need to decide if your pet will be OK with that extra time away from home.
Check to see if there’s a set exercise schedule. Do the employees exercise the dogs or give them a chance to run in an outside exercise area with other dogs? Will your dog’s kennel be both inside and outside so they can sit out and enjoy the world around them? Ask questions and get answers.
It’s also important to find out if the boarding facility will feed pets a high quality food or if they allow you to bring along your own pet food. Also, will they be feeding your pet twice a day or will they allow your pet to graze if they’re a grazer at home? Can you bring along any favorite toys or articles of clothing with your scent? If your pet’s on medication, will they be able to administer the dosage correctly and at appropriate times?
Boarding your pet may not always be the most practical or cost-effective solution; it depends on your pet’s temperament, health, and other factors. However, when you can’t bring your pet with you on your trip, a well-run, clean kennel can be an excellent alternative to home-sweet-home.
My daughter and her family travel to see my charming son-in-law’s parents frequently. Usually I get to babysit the Granddog. When I’m invited to go along on the road trip to Vermont, I’m relegated to the backseat with Fido. At least I’m not strapped to the top of the car like Granny Moses from my favorite Beverly Hillbillies, or experiencing a National Lampoon Vacation!
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