For many dog and cat owners around Williamsburg, VA, leaving their pet behind for a trip can be a real source of anxiety – especially during the holiday season! Often times, pet owners are unsure of whether or not to board their pets, and if so, how to choose the right facility for their pet’s needs. That’s precisely why we wrote this article. In the content below, you will learn 7 important questions to ask before choosing your preferred pet boarding partner.

1) How much personal attention will my pet receive?

Often times, dogs can suffer from separation anxiety. This is especially the case for pets who are used to getting plenty of affection from their family. This is why it’s really important to ask the boarding facility about how your pet’s personal attention will be handled. You may want to ask about the ratio between staff members to pets, and how the staff will be interacting with your pet throughout the day. Ask about the frequency of walks, bathroom visits, and playtime. You’ll want to look for evidence that the boarding facility thinks a lot about how to minimize stress throughout the experience.


2) Are the runs/kennels climate controlled?

In older or poorly equipped boarding facilities, the living areas may not be climate controlled. This can be very uncomfortable for a pet, and can even be dangerous in certain situations. You’ll want to make sure that the boarding facility has equipped the runs/kennels with central air conditioning and heating, and has taken steps to ensure the comfort of your pet during their stay.


3) How are emergencies handled?

Nobody ever expects an emergency, but if one occurs, your boarding facility needs to have a good plan in place. One large advantage would be a boarding facility that is run in tandem with a veterinary hospital. This way, if something happens, they can receive immediate access to veterinary care. This can make a big difference in an emergency.


4) How do you customize the experience for pets with specific needs?

Dogs and cats are all unique – they all have their own “personalities” and preferences. It’s important to find a boarding facility that doesn’t offer a “one size fits all” approach. You will want to ask about how they determine what’s right for a pet, and what kind of flexibility they offer in customizing a pet’s experience. This can mean the difference between an enjoyable visit and a visit filled with stress.


5) What vaccinations/tests are required?

Most boarding facilities will require proof of vaccinations (such as rabies and kennel cough), along with up to date tests or veterinary exams. The mark of a good boarding facility is one who requires proof that pets are vaccinated and healthy. This is a sign that the boarding facility’s management is responsible, and wants to make sure that all pets are healthy and cared for.


6) What food/toys should I bring?

We’d encourage you to ask how you can make your pet’s experience more enjoyable. Usually, it’s good to bring your pet’s normal food to the boarding facility, as changes in diet can upset your pet’s stomach. Ask about what treats are offered to pets there. And ask what toys would be appropriate to bring as well – often times, bringing familiar comforts from home can ease any anxiety your pet may feel during their stay.


7) What type of hours do you have?

You’ll want to make sure the boarding facility has pick up/drop off hours that work well with your trip plans. For example, often times boarding facilities don’t allow Sunday pick ups or drop offs, which can be an unpleasant surprise for pet owners. You’ll also want to ask about what supervision hours the staff maintains for pets. A good sign is when the boarding facility maintains a full work day of boarding hours.

These are all important questions for you to ask before you consider a boarding facility. And as a full disclosure – if you’re near Williamsburg, we actually maintain a state-of-the-art boarding facility right here at Noah’s Ark Veterinary Hospital! We’d encourage you to ask us all about your pet’s stay – you can reach us at (757) 564-9815. Happy travels!