Once you have found a suitable option for your pet, book a time to go visit ahead of your trip. It can be helpful to speak with the staff before committing, and give yourself peace of mind that your pet will get the best possible care while you’re away.
Check to see what vaccinations the kennel requires, the kind of facility your dog or cat will have access to, what kind of exercise your dog will receive, the number of staff available to care for and play with your pet daily and the company’s protocol for handling medical emergencies. It is also helpful to confirm that the kennel does not have a history of its dogs escaping or getting into fights.
Ask to take a tour, and make sure the boarding facility is clean and well-ventilated. In addition to kennel cough, a common respiratory infection highly contagious in dogs, there are quite a few common disease risks for pets in social settings, so hygiene is key, notes Lippman. “You should absolutely keep an eye out for mentions of canine distemper, canine influenza (commonly referred to as “dog flu”), canine parvovirus (“parvo”), ticks, fleas and scabies,” Lippman notes. “For cats, upper respiratory disease is seen most commonly, but panleukopenia (distemper), and FeLV/FIV are potential transmittable diseases. But again, appropriate staff hygiene and proper cleaning and disinfection can prevent the spread of most of these diseases.”