5 Pet Boarding Mistakes to Avoid
So far on the Puppy Love Pet Care Centre blog we’ve spent a fair amount of time helping pet owners by providing them with tips and tricks they can use to help maximize their pet’s experience when it comes to overnight boarding stays at our facilities.
We do this by highlighting all the things you can and should be doing—i.e., showing you how to choose the right facility, listing what items you ought to bring with you, and highlighting how young or old your pets should be before they are deemed suitable for boarding.
At this stage in the game, we thought we’d summarize a lot of that advice into one single post that goes over common pet boarding mistakes you’ll want to avoid at all costs!
While the thought of boarding your pets for the first time might be a stressful thought for you, boarding is actually a relatively straightforward process if you approach it in the right way. All it takes is a little research, planning, and patience. And sometimes just knowing what NOT to do is extremely helpful too.
Here are some of the biggest mistakes we see new pet owners making when it comes to boarding their cats and dogs:
- Ignoring Their Gut Feelings
We can’t stress this enough: research kennels ahead of time! Ask friends and family and read online reviews. You might find that the facility closest to you, while it is the most convenient to get to, is actually unsuitable for your animals. Look into other options, either in your city or in a neighbouring suburb that is on your way to the airport, for example.
In other words, don’t just go with that place you always pass on you way home from work until you’ve researched it. It might be worth the added effort it takes to find the place. A part of researching kennels is seeing something in person. This is your chance to inspect the facility and pay attention to what your gut feeling is telling you! If it’s saying something negative, don’t ignore this feeling just because the facility is the most affordable or is closest to home.
For example, if there are foul odours emanating from the buildings, or it’s extremely loud and seems chaotic, your gut should be telling you there is a problem here—the kennels aren’t being kept clean and the animals are likely feeling stressed or not getting enough activity.
- Not Planning Far Enough Ahead
One thing you’ll find with boarding kennels is that the good ones tend to fill up fast and frequently. That’s because the good ones place strong caps on the amount of animals they will take in in order to provide a great environment for each pet. It’s often a mistake to assume there is always going to be a spot open at your local kennel just when you need it to be open.
To avoid disappointment, whenever possible, book your pets into a facility as soon as the other parts of your trip are booked, especially if you’ll be travelling during the holiday season, during the summer months, or during any other long weekend. Many facilities have waitlists, so find out if that’s an option if your favourite place is already booked.
On the same topic, don’t forget to find out what their cancellation policy is—your timely cancellation will help someone land a coveted spot and will help you avoid unnecessary charges.
- Not Researching Pick Up and Drop Off Times
Often times a boarding kennel’s operational/office hours differ from their pick-up and drop-off times. This is similar to the check-in and check-out times of a hotel. For example, at Puppy Love we operate daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. At our kennel, you’re able to check-in anytime during regular hours, while check-out time is daily at 1:00 p.m. Checking out on time will prevent you from being charged extra $$$.
Knowing a kennel’s check-in and check-out schedules is very important when it comes to your own travel schedule. Quite often, a pet’s vacation is longer than ours, given the amount of time we have to factor in for transporting them to and from their accommodations.
So, when you book overnight kennel time for your animal, we recommend adding a day before your travel and a day after. This will also help in the event that flights are delayed and you can’t make it to check-out in time. Not only does this prevent unbudgeted-for expenses being added to your invoice, it will help the kennel better prepare for other animals’ comings and goings so everyone is happy!
For your convenience, you might also consider looking into having your pets picked up and dropped off on your behalf via the kennel’s delivery service if there is one offered. Puppy Love offers this special mobile service if you live within a certain distance to our facility on Lamont Road in Victoria, BC. Please give us a call or shoot us an email for rates.
- Not Being Up to Date On Their Vaccinations
This is a common theme on every kennel’s rules and regulations sheet: animals must be up to date on their shots and come with the paper work to prove it. We always ask for proof at Puppy Love, even if you’re a regular client of ours or are a friend of a friend. Yes, your word goes a long way, but sometimes pet owners lose track of time and don’t realize when these things expire. (How up to date are you on your car’s oil change? Your dental cleanings? See! It’s easy to fall behind on these maintenance steps from time to time.)
To recap from our earlier post, Why It’s Important to Vaccinate Your Pet,
Dogs staying at a boarding kennel must be up to date on their canine distemper vaccine that prevents distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus (DHLP). Most kennels prefer dogs to have the optional Bordetella and rabies vaccines as well.
For cats, the core vaccine known as the feline distemper vaccine is required for kennel stays, which prevents feline rhinotracheitis virus, calicivirus and panleukopenia (FVRCP).
Shots must be administered earlier than two weeks prior to boarding in order to ‘count’. Different kennels will have different policies regarding the wait times after booster shots, so call ahead if you’re concerned at all about the timing. The easiest thing to do is call your vet and say: “I’m planning on boarding Molly and Max for three days coming up in January, can you tell me if their shots will be up to date at that time?”
- Over or Under Packing
Alright, maybe over packing shouldn’t be considered a ‘mistake’, but under packing certainly can. If you didn’t pack enough days of your pet’s prescription medication and are miles high in the air on your way out of town, all is not lost! You should still be able to have the kennel’s on-site veterinarian re-write and fulfill a prescription on your behalf, but the bill for such a service will be quite costly, which is why under packing is considered a huge mistake. Avoid at all costs!
If you’re worried about being under prepared, simply aim for over packing (within reason). This means packing enough special dietary requirements, the entire pill bottle, two toys instead of one, etc. Items you’ll only need 1 of?
- 1 leash
- 1 collar (essential)
- 1 bed (optional)
- 1 grooming tool (less essential)
The idea behind this advice on packing is to be as prepared as possible without overdoing it—it’s just like how you pack your own bags, right?
If you can master this list of mistakes to avoid when it comes to preparing your animals for their trip to the kennel, you’ll be ensuring a happier experience for yourself, the animals, and the entire staff at the center.
Looking for the best kennel for your furry friend? We’d love to show you and your pet our facilities here at Puppy Love and show you what makes us stand out amongst others in Victoria and the surrounding area. Give us a call at 1-250-652-2301 any time of the week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. Better yet, simply drop by with your dog or cat and we’ll happily give you a tour. We love visitors!
Happy Back to School Season from all of us here at Puppy Love!