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Boarding a Pet
Sometimes, you may find yourself in the position of needing to
leave your animals for a few days. If you cannot find a sitter to
care for your pets in your home, you may want to consider boarding
them at a kennel. And since there are more than 9,000 boarding
kennels in the United States and Canada, there is probably one near
Fees can range from $12 to $45 a day, depending on the facility,
the type of services offered, and other factors. While boarding a
pet may seem like a simple procedure, there are still some
questions you might want to ask, says Dr. Alice Blue-McLendon,
Clinical Assistant Professor at the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
"A good way to find out who the best boarders are is usually by
word of mouth," Blue-McLendon believes. "People tend to be picky
about their pets, and they know who the good boarders are and which
ones to avoid."
Blue-McLendon says a prospective boarder should try to tour a
facility before boarding the pet.
"Look to see if the facility is clean," she advises. "Also,
inquire about temperature control, whether 24-hour care is
available and if the facility allows multiple animals from the same
household to be in the same holding area."
Also, are cats kept in a separate area away from dogs? If not,
they could experience some trauma. In addition, is there proper
security at the facility to keep intruders out and your pet from
Is there adequate lighting at the facility, and is the bedding
for the animal sufficient for its needs?
If the owner is to be away for an extended time, Blue-McLendon
says it's a good idea to ask how often the animals get exercise or
some form of entertainment. Dogs will usually enjoy a brisk walk,
she says, but some facilities may not have the manpower for such
Parasites can often be a problem for some boarding facilities,
and the diseases they carry can be harmful to your pet,
A common ailment associated with boarding of animals is
bordetella, commonly known as "kennel cough." Although usually not
serious, the ailment can be a nagging problem and is caused by the
pet's close proximity with other animals. Vaccinations are
available to prevent it, Blue-McLendon says.
Once the animal has been picked up at the boarding facility, you
may want to see the log kept during its stay. Most facilities
keep daily records of how often the pet was fed, exercised or
"Boarding a pet can be a tough time for some animals, especially
if they are not used to it," Blue-McLendon says. "The best solution
is usually to keep the animal at home and have someone care for it
in its own environment. But if that isn't possible, boarding is
necessary and that's when the owner needs to do a little
homework. Most facilities are properly run, but it's always
best to do a little checking around before you board your pet."
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