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Holiday Pet Boarding Tips

December 8, 2023

Are you going to be visiting friends or family over the next few weeks? This is the busiest month of the year for it. While some of our furry patients will no doubt be accompanying their humans on some short trips, Fido and Fluffy can’t go everywhere with us. Many people will be making arrangements for others to care for pets. A local San Antonio, TX vet offers some insight into boarding your pet over the holidays in this article.

Book Holiday Pet Boarding Early

December is the busiest travel time of the year. Kennels often fill up early, as people start planning their trips. If you want to bring your furry friend to a hotel, don’t wait until the last minute to reserve the spot. Needless to say, many places are already full for this season, but it’s something to keep in mind going forward.

Pack Small Comforts For Your Pet

Pets get very, very attached to their humans. We’re the apple of Fido and Fluffy’s eyes, and the center of their worlds! Understandably, our furry pals can get quite distressed when separated from us. After all, they don’t know what’s happening, or when you’re coming back. (Sadly, pets that were adopted from shelters often struggle even more with separation than others, as so many of them have been separated from—or worse, abandoned by—their former owners.)

One thing that can help is to bring a small item from home. Familiar objects and smells can go a long way towards soothing anxious pets. This can be a toy, a small blanket, or perhaps a tee shirt you slept in.

Try A New Kennel Out With A One-Day Run First

Most people tend to find a kennel they like and stay there. This makes sense: it’s easier for everyone—especially Fido and Fluffy—when that pet hotel is familiar. Before you head off on your travels, arrange for a shorter stay. 

This is helpful for a few reasons. For one, it will give your four legged friend a chance to become familiar with his home away from home. Fido will likely be very relieved when you go to pick him up the next day, which can help keep him from getting as nervous. That trial run is also helpful to give you an idea of the dropoff and pickup process and time required.

Be Choosy About Your Pet’s Kennel

The vast majority of kennels are professionally run, and prioritize the comfort, care, and safety of their furry wards. Unfortunately, others are more focused on profits. It’s important to choose a place that you know you can trust with your four-legged friend. After all, you literally are putting your beloved pet’s life in someone else’s hands!

Some due diligence is definitely in order. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers for recommendations. Your vet may also be able to suggest a place. We’d also advise reading reviews.

It’s worth noting that this is even more important than usual this year, because of the outbreak of a new canine respiratory illness. While there’s no need to panic, it’s something to be aware of. Ask your San Antonio, TX vet for more information.

Consider Boarding With Your Vet

To be fair, we are tooting our own horn here. However, there really are some very clear benefits to boarding with your vet. For one thing, this is a great choice for anyone whose pet has medical issues. It’s also just good to have your furry friend’s doctor nearby, in case anything happens.

Another benefit of boarding with your vet? It can make for easy one-stop shopping!

Provide Your Pet’s Kennel With All Necessary Information

Our furry companions are all unique, and they all have their own quirks, preferences, phobias, and care needs. Be very clear and concise when providing information about your pet. You don’t have to tell the kennel about how you found Fluffy shivering in a bush as a kitten, or give them the details about the time Fido rolled in that mud puddle and then ran inside and flopped on your brand new rug. However, they would definitely need to know if your canine pal is allergic to chicken, terrified of thunderstorms, or reactive around other dogs.

Always provide information both verbally and in written form. (If your handwriting isn’t easy to decipher, opt for a printout or email.)

Ask The Kennel About Perks

Kennels offer a variety of options and services. Some may also provide day care or training, while others may have options for extra walks, treats, or playtime. Find out about all and any perks that are available. You may even be able to have Fido bathed while he’s at the hotel, so you can pick up a clean, fresh smelling pup.

Provide The Kennel Contact Information

Kennels will usually confirm your information when making or finalizing your reservation. However, it’s good to provide a backup contact. This is something to revisit during the holidays. Your brother may usually be your go-to secondary contact, but he may also be headed out of town. Choose someone local, reliable, and trustworthy.

If you’re traveling to more than one place, we would also recommend providing an itinerary with additional numbers or contacts.

Read All Kennel Documentation Before Boarding Your Pet

Understanding procedures and protocols is very important. What is the standard for emergency procedures? Will the kennel seek emergency care if something happens, or try to contact you first? You may need to state your preferences for certain things. Read all paperwork carefully, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about things that aren’t clear.

Holiday Pet Boarding – What To Pack For Your Pet

One area where kennels vary quite a bit is when it comes to what people are allowed to bring for their pets. Some kennels prefer to use their own supplies. (This is usually so they can ensure that everything is properly cleaned and disinfected between uses.) Others allow you to bring things from home. Find out exactly what you can and can not bring for your furry buddy.  

If you’re packing food, treats, or medication, always bring a few days’ extra, just in case you are delayed. That way, if a holiday blizzard grounds your return flight, you’ll know your four-legged buddy will be just fine.

Be Clear About Kennel’s Dropoff/Pickup Times

Another thing you’ll want to be clear on is the hours of business for dropping off and picking up. There may be someone at the kennel over the weekend, but the front desk may be closed. You also don’t want to discover at the last minute that you can’t bring your pet in or pick them up on the way to or from the airport.

Speaking of drop-offs, here’s another tip: avoid long goodbyes. Fido will just get distressed as he realizes you’re leaving him behind, which will ultimately make it harder on you both. Make the goodbyes short and sweet. There will be plenty of time for cuddles later!

Relax And Enjoy Your Trip!

It can be very difficult leaving your animal friend behind. However, boarding is by far the safest option. You’ll know that your furry companion is safe and sound, and being cared for by professionals.

In conclusion: Boarding is often the safest option for people who are traveling over the winter holidays, and can’t take their pets with them. These tips can help ensure that you and your pet both have a smooth and positive experience.Happy Holidays from all of us here at North Star Animal Hospital, your San Antonio, TX pet hospital! Please contact us if you need to schedule boarding or grooming!

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North Star Animal Hospital