Important Pet Boarding Tips for Pet Owners in Clifton Park, NY
It’s always hard to leave your furry friend when going on vacation. Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, so here are some pet boarding tips for cat and dog owners in Clifton Park, NY.
Decide What Boarding Situation is Best for Your Pet
Is your dog a social butterfly and would love a kennel with doggie daycare? Does your cat long for alone time as long as someone feeds them and cleans their litterbox daily? Does your older kitty need twice daily meds and would benefit from someone with medical experience watching her?
After booking your trip, your next step should be to think about what boarding or care situation would benefit your pet best. Would your pet like a stay-cation best? If your pet would prefer to stay in their own home and is perfectly fine being left to their own devices most of the time, maybe having a friend or neighbor check on them several times a day would be best.
Would your pet prefer a sleepover? If you have someone who can watch your pet in their home, this may be ideal. Does your pet have medical problems or is older and needs extra attention? Many veterinary clinics offer medical boarding which allows easy access to veterinarians and veterinary nurses.
Does your animal like their housemates but not other animals so much? A boarding facility with individual play times for pets that know each other could be the best match. Does your pet love to play with other animals? A combo doggie daycare and boarding kennel could be a perfect fit.
Could your pup use a tune up on their training? Some facilities offer boarding and training as packages. If you adopted a rescue animal that may be an escape artist or have other issues known to their rescue, the rescue may ask you to bring the animal back and board with them, so no surprises happen. Take some time and consider which situation would best benefit your pet, keep them happy, and that you feel confident with.
Check Out the Pet Boarding Facility Before Booking
If you decide to board your pet in Clifton Park, NY, start by getting recommendations from friends, family, and your veterinarian. Also look online for reviews of the facility. When you have a few options, ask to visit the facility. Some boarding kennels have busy hours when they are feeding or medicating the animals, and during these times they will not be able to provide a tour or answer questions.
Always call ahead and, if you have many questions, ask to make an appointment so you will have enough dedicated time. When visiting the facility, first impressions can be helpful. Is the facility clean? Do the animals look happy and not anxious? Does the building have good ventilation? What are the kennels like?
Questions to ask the boarding facility can include:
- What vaccinations are required?
- Dogs: Rabies, distemper/parvo combo (DHPP), Leptospirosis, Bordetella, canine influenza, negative heartworm/tick screening within the last year, negative fecal exam within the last 6 months
- Cats: Rabies, feline distemper (FVRCP), negative fecal exam with the last 6 months
- What kind of play time your pet will receive?
- What facilities your pet will have access to aside from their kennel?
- What cleaning protocols they follow?
- What schedule they follow for feeding and play time?
- When will the pets be alone without anyone on site?
How Do They Monitor Your Pet?
Some facilities now have webcams so you can check up on your pet remotely. Ask how the facility handles feeding (can you bring your pet’s food?) and medication times. It is also very important to look at the type of kennels used, especially if you have a dog or cat that is a known escape artist.
Does your pup jump out of even tall kennels? Ask if the facility can put them in a run with a top.
Ask About the Cages/Kennels/Runs
Does your kitty hate cages? As if there is a room or larger run that could be used instead.Many boarding kennels have choices for rooms, runs, and socialization.
If your animals are bonded and would do best together, ask if you can board them in the same run or room.
Are There Any Additional Services They Offer?
Lots of boarding facilities also have “add ons” where you can choose grooming services, extra walks, or extra play time so it is worth asking what is available. Also ask the cost for these, some may be free while most will be an added expense.
Get Ready for Pet Boarding in Clifton Park, NY
The first step for leaving your pet (whether with a friend or in a facility) is to ensure you leave your contact numbers, the name of an alternate person and their contact information authorized to make medical decisions for your pet in case you cannot be reached, your veterinarian’s contact information, and your travel dates.
It may also be worthwhile to leave the name of a person authorized to pick up your pet in case your flight gets delayed or other plans change.
Make Sure Your Pet is Up to Date on Shots
Make sure your pet has all vaccinations needed, nothing is worse than dropping off your pet to be turned away because they are behind on their rabies shot.If you forgot your proof of vaccines, ask the facility to call your vet (or call them for the facility).
Many places will place your animal in a holding area until they can get proof of vaccination, so they do not spread illness. Some facilities allow the pet’s own bedding to be used but be aware this may mean it could be lost if it needs laundering.
A better strategy may be to send your pet with a toy or piece of your clothing that will stay with the pet. Just know if this gets soiled it may be laundered or separated from your pet.
What to Do About Pet Food?
If at all possible, it is best to send your pet with their usual food. This will help eliminate upset stomachs and diarrhea from changing food. Be sure you send enough food! A bin with a strong seal is bet for this, and you can write names and instructions on with a sharpie.
Be sure to include how much food your pet gets and how often. You can also add in some treats for your pet to get with meals.
Bring Any Meds Your Pet Needs
If your pet is on medication, be sure to send it with them and clearly label it. Sending enough for a few extra days is smart, just in case something happens, and you are not able to meet your planned pickup time. Placing meds in a baggie with their name, medication name, dose, and times is perfect.
If your pet is on many meds, a day by day pill box can be helpful to ensure they get what they need. If you use a pill box, clearly put the pet’s name on the container. An added sheet with what medications are included, doses, and times is always helpful, and you can as for it to be hung on the pet’s kennel for easy access.
The More Information, the Better
Be thorough when leaving any information, it is always better to have more information than not enough. Even if your pet is not on medication, it is smart to type up a sheet with contact information, any personality quirks (does your Shepherd growl to communicate but never bites? Tell the kennel!), food amounts, and any other instructions you want to include. Ask if this can be hung on the front of their kennel.
Any change in situation (especially without their owners) can be stressful for an animal. Usually, the first time your pet visits a new place is the hardest. The more they go, they know what to expect and feel more comfortable.
If you feel your pet may be overly anxious, talk to your vet before boarding. They can prescribe anti-anxiety medications or suggestions for the kennel. If your animal may do best in a quiet room with soothing music because they get so stressed, find a facility that will be able to provide this.
Get Ready for Your Reunion!
It is normal to miss your pet when you’re away from them. Never feel bad about calling to check on them, many boarding facilities love involved owners as they can ask questions that will make their jobs easier too!
When you arrive home and prepare to pick up your pet, call ahead to the kennel if you can to let them know you are on the way. This will allow them to gather your animal’s supplies, prepare a “report card” with information on the visit, and get your pet ready to meet you.
It will also reduce your wait time. The facility should let you know upon pick up how your pet ate, if there were any concerns, and when they last had a meal or meds.
Your pet will be happy to see you, but don’t overdo it on the treats or food once you’re home. Give your pet a big hug and try to keep their normal schedule as to not upset their stomachs or trigger vomiting from gulping food or water.
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Cornerstone Veterinary Hospital of Clifton Park was founded in 1989 as Animal Care Hospital of Clifton Park. We began with 10 employees, 4 of whom are still working with us today. The name “Cornerstone” has special meaning to Dr. Knott and his family, both because it symbolizes their commitment to “faith, family, and then everything else,” and because it promotes the animal hospital as a cornerstone of the Clifton Park community.