Whether you’re going for a camping weekend right here in San Diego County or you’re flying across the country to visit relatives, if you’re planning a summer vacation for the humans in your household taking care of dog boarding is an important item to check off your to-do list. Advanced planning can ensure that your pet is staying at a good kennel and that you aren’t scrambling for last-minute accommodations (or vet appointments). Here are some important things to consider when you’re choosing a pet boarding facility.
Especially if your trip includes a big travel weekend (hello, Labor Day!), you need to do your research as soon as possible so that you can book your reservation. Top dog boarding facilities from San Ysidro to Oceanside can fill up fast, and you don’t want your pup left in the lurch. If you have more than one dog, or if you also need cat boarding, you’ll have even more to consider.
See the Vet
You will want your dog’s vaccinations to be up-to-date, as any good dog hotel will require all animals to have current inoculations. While all licensed dogs in San Diego County are vaccinated against rabies, not everyone keeps up with regular bordetella (canine cough) shots. You’ll need to have this done at least a week before you head off for vacay, so don’t wait until the last minute! You’ll likely need to hand over a copy of your dog’s veterinary records, so it’s important to get that printed out while you’re at the doggie doc. If you have this info on hand when you’re touring a potential dog boarding facility, you’ll be one step ahead in getting your dog signed up.
Take a Tour
You could put your trust in Yelp reviewers, but it’s safer to trust your gut. If you have time, go and take a tour of the facility and talk to the staff. You should feel comfortable with the place and the people there. A pet boarding facility that is hesitant to let you see what goes on behind the scenes is not somewhere you want to leave Fido, even for just the weekend. Make sure that you’re familiar with all of the kennel’s policies, both for the dog (like what you can and can’t leave with him) and for you (e.g., the terms for reservation cancellations, pick-up and drop-off times).
Learn the Schedule
Find out what your pup will be up to all day while you’re gone. Being apart from their regular surroundings (and from you!) can be stressful for dogs, and dog boarding that also offers a dog daycare environment can help minimize anxiety. If your dog is a social animal—as most of them are—regular interaction with other pooches and with people can keep them relaxed and happy. Got a dog who’s not really a social butterfly? Ask how much one-on-one time your pup will have with the staff. For example, at Fon Jon Pet Care and at our Oceanside Pet Hotel, “campers” have the option of daytime play in a yard with other social dogs and technicians or private play with just one staffer.
Do a Trial Run
When you’re trying out a new dog boarding facility or if your dog hasn’t spent time without you in an unfamiliar place, it’s a good idea to do a test run before committing to a longer-term situation. Your pooch doesn’t necessarily have to spend the night: A day in doggy daycare can give you info on how your dog reacts to the new place, as well as giving the technicians a little time to get to know your pooch. Who knows, when you go for the big drop-off, your dog might be more excited to go back than worried that you’re leaving!
Make a Packing Checklist
Don’t worry, your dog won’t need as much luggage as you will! You just want to be sure that you’ve provided the boarding staff with what they need to ensure your dog is comfortable and safe. In addition to vet records, you should leave your veterinarian’s contact information, as well as contact info for a responsible friend or relative who will be in the area while you’re away. If your pet is on any medication that needs to be administered or has any allergies, make sure the kennel staff knows. Pets on a special diet should bring their own food with them, but even if your dog doesn’t have any particular dietary needs, it can be good to bring food from home so that they maintain a consistent diet. Last, it’s a good idea to tip off the staff to any of your dog’s quirks. You don’t need to give an inventory of every adorable thing your pet does, but if for example, your dog can be food aggressive, they should know that.
Say Bye for Now!
When you’re dropping off your dog before you leave for your trip, try to make it as stress-free as possible. Double-check your list, and confirm anything that you’re unsure about with the staff. Try not to seem anxious or excited—if you’re giddy or tearing up, your dog is going to pick up on your mood and become agitated. It’s hard, but just hand over the leash and head out. You’ve done your homework, so now you can trust that you’re not the only one getting a vacation—your dog is, too.
Are you looking for pet-focused dog boarding in San Diego? Come visit Fon Jon Pet Care Center, trusted by San Diegans for over 60 years. Give us a call at 858-490-2117 to learn more!