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Style Magazine

Who’s Gonna Watch the Fur Kids?

Jul 30, 2013 07:46AM ● By Style

Being a pet parent can be stressful— especially when it comes to leaving them behind when you travel.

Yet finding someone to take care of our pets as well as we do can be a tough job. However, with some thoughtful preparation you can ensure a safe and comfortable trip for everyone! Style Magazine consulted with Karin Klessig at Granite Bay Pet Pro* to compile 10 know-before-you-go tips for stress-free pet boarding:

  • Do your research. Decide if a boarding kennel or in-home caregiver is more appropriate for your pet (and you). Would your pet prefer the activity and company of other pets in a kennel situation, or does your pet do better in the comfort of their own home? Ask your veterinarian, friends, and family whom they recommend for pet care. Follow up and call them to find out if they are satisfied, and if there is anything that you should address or watch out for.
  • Follow up. If using an in-home pet care provider, follow up on personal references and schedule an introductory meeting at your home so they can meet your pet(s) and discuss specific care and schedule arrangements. Some things to look for: promptness, interaction with your pet, basic knowledge of animal care, willingness to accommodate your pet's schedule and care needs, and what protocol is followed in the event of an emergency.
  • Visit the kennel first. It's a good idea to visit the kennel first, without your pet, to be sure that you feel comfortable with the facilities and the staff. Check for overall cleanliness, staff friendliness and knowledge, feeding and exercise schedules, and how willing the staff is to accommodate any special pet needs. Also, be sure to ask what their policy is for emergency situations.
  • Plan ahead. Once the type of pet care is determined, let your veterinarian know the name and phone number of who is taking care of your pet (as well as leaving complete contact information of your veterinarian with the care giver). You may also want to discuss what type of payment coverage will be arranged in the event of an emergency while you are away. Determine diet and feeding schedules in advance. You should also prepare a written schedule of any medications that are to be administered.
  • Do a dry run. If your pet has never been away overnight, plan a special one-night stay before your vacation. This will help get you and your pet accustomed to his or her being away from home. When you do leave for your planned vacation, you will be comfortable knowing that your pet is in good hands and in a familiar place.
  • Don't forget your pet's identification. Your pet should wear a collar with identification tags. You can also take the extra precaution of getting your pet a microchip before being boarded. Collars and tags can get lost, but if your pet has a microchip, it will be much easier to find if it happens to get misplaced while you are traveling.
  • Keep goodbyes short. Leave your pet in the car while checking in. It is easiest on your pet and you to leave your pet in the car during the check-in process. Bring in all necessary paperwork and belongings and let the kennel attendant know all pertinent information including feeding schedule and medication schedule if necessary. It is much easier to fill out paperwork or sign any forms without your pet struggling to investigate all the new smells in the office. Once that is completed then go back to your car to get your pet, keeping your farewell short and sweet so that your pet doesn’t sense any stress on your part.
  • Home away from home. If the kennel allows it, plan to bring your pet's regular food. A diet change can be stressful for a pet, resulting in poor digestion and loose stool. Keeping your pet on his or her regular diet can go along way to alleviating stress when away from home. If you can, bring something familiar from home such as a favorite toy, blanket, or even one of your unwashed T-shirts that still has your scent on it.
  • Check in. If you’re planning on being gone for a substantial amount of time, call and check on your pet, but don’t be a nuisance. In general, calling once or twice during your trip to check on your dog or cat is fine (and probably a good idea). Just don’t be that obsessive mom or dad who calls every day or more than once a day! Trust that the staff members are doing a good job. Remember, they are pet lovers too!
  • Say thank you. It’s important to remember to thank your caregiver for a job well done. If you boarded your pet at a kennel, tip the person who walks your dog out to you and the person who bathed him. Send a thank you or even just say thank you and mean it. Showing any kind of gratitude can go a long way. Remember, these people are taking care of your pet! You want them to feel appreciated so they will continue to do a good job.

Remember, if you are comfortable with where your pet will be staying while away from home, you will be less anxious on the day you drop him or her off. The more relaxed you are, the less stress your pet will feel when you leave— which translates into a better vacay for all parties involved.

*Contact Karin Klessig at Overnight Pet Setting by Granite Bay Pet Pro, 916-708-0875,