Things you need to know about boarding your pet for the holidays
posted on November 16, 2009
Before You Board Your Pet !
I am constantly asked questions about finding care for pets. Especially cats. Please keep in mind that there are a lot of great boarding facilities in the Austin area. I will cover that in a moment.
It is not so much the breed or type of the animal that creates a problem spreading germs as it is the waste. Dieses are transmited from some waste. Depending on the health of the animal that drops it.
It is the first thing in the morning and the dog want to go right NOW!, the cats are standing by their litter box waiting for some fresh kitty litter and your toddler is demanding a trip to the park to feed the ducks. While none of these activities sound like a major threat to the environment, animal waste are little resources of polution that can add up to big health problems. You have probably seen a lot of news regarding the closure of the leash free park at Bull Creek. My youngest used to call it "Dog Poop Park" and I had to agree. No one ever seemed to pick up after their dogs. It was a mess. The run off into Bull Creek must have contributed to a high count of bacteria. I can see why the park had or has issues.
With that being said, and you are probably wondering what that has to do with boarding your pet, the same bacteria can cause health issues at home, in your back yard and yes even at a kennel. I have talked to any number of pet owners who have written to me asking why their babies got sick while being boarded. It all depends on the responsibility the kennel managment takes to make sure that every thing is kept clean. From the pavement to the runs and not to forget bedding. All of those elements in an uncontrolled environment can make a pet sick. Sick Pets mean vet bills and that can add up to a pretty hefty figure.
I want to repeat, there are a lot of good kennels that are well managed. I am not a big fan of the big box pet stores. I don't believe in a pet being caged during boarding. Would you stuff your child in a cage at a day school. There is a lot of stress in that. The kennels that have an open excersie area and allow dogs to be dogs is the best. This again depends on the management. Dogs, not unlike us, have social issues. The folks at Dog Boy Dog Ranch are excellent at grouping dogs by there temperment. Remember, dogs are social animals. They are pack animals and a change in environment can cause emotional problems. They need to socialize and run off all of that energy. That keeps depression and anxiety down and makes a long stay much more enjoyable for your pet.
Cats on the other hand are home body's. Cats are not fond of change. If you have one you will know where I am coming from. My choice for the kitty... keep em' at home. They will be a lot better off. A cat in its home is a happy camper. Most could care less about socializing. It is a lot healthier for a cat to stay in its own environment but, don't think you can just put out several bowls of food and clean out the box an add fresh kitty litter. Cats need to know that everything is ok. They hate change of routine too. Get a good in-home pet sitter visit at least once a day. Some cats require special treatment either with meds or food. Cats hate dried up canned food. You would too if you slobbered and and licked your last piece of veal. Yuck!
Things to consider when you travel;
Never pack in front of your pet. Do they know what is going on? You bet! Another thing to think about is if you wish to board or have a professional pet sitter take care of your babies. A lot of people I talk to say.... "My dog gets really excited when I take him or her to the kennel. When I pick them up, they are so happy. Think about it, when is the last time your dogs didn't get excited about seeing the leash in your hand and going for a ride in the car? Of course they are happy, they are going to do something with the person they love the most, you! On the other hand, yes they are excited when you pick them up from the kennel. It is not always because they did arts and crafts, it is because they are excited to see YOU and thought that you had left them.
A good boarding facility can be an awesome place for most dogs. Some are just not suited for it. Depending on the social issues and health.
Don't make the care of your pets, while planning a trip, the last thing on your list. A couple of weeks before, visit a boarding kennel. Talk to the people that run it. Ask for a walk through. Even ask if you can see the laundry room. Yes, the laundry room. Ask questions so you will be happy when you drop off your friend.
The other alternative. Keep the pets at home. That is where they are the happiest. Hire a good in-home pet sitter. Interview a couple and ask question about how long they have been in the business, are the bonded and insured, do they know what to do in an emergency, do they mind if you call and check in and will they call you first thing when there is an issue. Remember, an experienced pet sitter is different than a kennel. You get one on one attention. Your pet should have the same sitter everytime when permitted.
I could cover a lot more but I think you get the picture. Your pet is a very important part of your family. Think about it this way. With a sitter there are no pre-kennel visits to the vet for shots. That can be a shot to your wallet. You don't have to rush home hoping your plane is on time in order to get to the kennel before is closes and most important your pet is not exposed to other pets bad habbits and waste.
If you have questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com or visit our website austincitypaws.com and have a great worry free holiday season. Either way, don't forget to book early.
Author: Gerry Harmon