1. Make A Reservation
More than once I have called to make a boarding reservation for my senior cat Greta (now 21 years old, photo here) and just squeaked in on available space. Greta doesn't travel well, and gets lonely even with a regular visiting pet caretaker. She loves the company at the veterinary boarding center and all of the attention the staff lavish on her.
Holidays and vacation times often fill up weeks in advance, which can complicate things for a procrastinator like me. Make those reservations early.
2. Check on the Vaccinations
Because boarding involves many animals from many backgrounds in a small space, pets should also be current on core vaccinations (dog and cat distemper combination vaccinations) and dogs will usually be required to be current on Bordatella vaccination, commonly known as kennel cough.
The key is to make sure that the necessary vaccinations are up to date at least 1-2 weeks before boarding. While it may "meet the requirements," a vaccine given on the way back to the kennel is not protective for your dog for this stay.
3. Don't Miss A Medication
Writing out daily medication instructions in addition to providing a way to keep track of the medication(s) is best, especially when more than one person will be taking care of your pets. I prefer to use the daily medication pill boxes to avoid any confusion over medication administration. A chart is also helpful, especially for non-pill situations such as insulin injections for a diabetic patient.
4. Food and Treats
If you bring treats for your pet, include instructions for feeding treats, too. If your pets are housed together, make sure they are fine with eating food and treats together in a small space.
5. Blankets, Beds, and Toys
If your pet has a favorite bed or toy, ask the kennel what is acceptable to leave with your pet. Be warned that pets may behave differently than they do at home, and shred or soil these items. I rarely board my dogs, but if I do, I bring an older blanket for this reason.
6. Phone Numbers and Identification
Be sure to include your pet's veterinarian's contact information with the rest of your pet's caretaking information. It is also a good idea to let your vet know who is taking care of your pets, especially if your pets require daily medical care or you will be away for a prolonged time.
7. Smooth Travel: DAP and Feliway
For pets that experience anxiety in the car, these products would be worth a try to keep them calm and reduce car sickness.