Whether you are going away for the weekend or taking a long vacation with loved ones, bringing your pet along is not always possible. While boarding can be a wonderful option, it can often bring fear and anxiety to pet owners. The mix of not being in contact with your animal and the guilt of leaving them behind can hinder an otherwise amazing trip. To keep you calm and your pet comfortable while you’re away, we’ve put together this guide to boarding your pet at a Vancouver animal hospital or kennel.

Take time choosing a boarding facility. You can discover accredited kennels by searching the Yellow Pages or online — but even better is getting a recommendation from someone you know. Ask friends and neighbors where they take their pets. It is always reassuring knowing someone else has had a positive experience, and doesn’t force you to try a new place out for the first time. Another good source is your veterinarian. Many veterinary hospitals in Vancouver also have a boarding facility, and if they don’t they should be able to put you in contact with a trusted kennel nearby.

Consider an in-home pet sitter. There are some great people out there who love to pet sit. Your best way to find one of these people is to ask around and get a referral. Sometimes your pet is just happier in their own environment and it makes preparations for going away a lot less stressful.

Tour the facilities beforehand. As soon as you know you are going to be away, plan a visit to the facility and request a tour. Most kennels and hospitals will be happy to show you around and this will give you a chance to see where your pet will be staying and playing. Look to see that the floors are clean, the smell is pleasant, and that the cages and equipment are in good condition — and don’t forget to check the outdoor area. You should leave with a basic idea of the facilities cleanliness and upkeep.

Ask the right questions. Don’t just look around — take this time to ask important questions. How is the facility secured? One common concern about boarding is that an animal could escape or even be hurt inside. Animals should be separated properly and the facility should be locked at all points of entry. How often are dogs walked? You will want your animal to maintain somewhat of the same routine while boarding, which usually includes being walked at least three times a day. If your animal follows a specific diet, or takes medication, this is a good time to discuss those concerns.

Plan ahead. Finding a place you like and trust is a great feeling and makes boarding your pet a much calmer experience. However, knowing where you want to board your pet in Vancouver becomes irrelevant if that facility can’t accommodate your pet. If you plan to travel during holidays or busy seasons like summer, reserve a spot as far in advance as possible. Some kennels get fully booked around these times and, to avoid overcrowding, will turn you away.

Here at Amherst we are not only a Vancouver Animal Hospital but we also have boarding accommodations for your pet. Keep in mind that priority for boarding at our hospital is given to our in-hospital patients and there is limited space. Click here to learn more about our facility.

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