While you want to be surrounded by your family for the holidays, sometimes your four-legged family members don’t make the best traveling companions. If your travel plans don’t include your furry friend, make other arrangements in advance to ensure your pet is cared for over the holiday season. Ease potential boarding pitfalls and minimize stress with the following tips:

#1: Ensure your pet is current on required vaccinations.
Any quality boarding facility will require that your pet is current on vaccinations, but each facility will have their own vaccine requirements, so do your homework before you attempt to drop your dog off. Take a copy of the vaccination records for the facility to keep on file, and include our phone number in case there are questions.

#2: Tour the facility.
When you make your own hotel reservations, you likely check out the reviews and photo gallery of the accommodations. Do the same thing for your pet, but take it a step further and ask for a tour of the boarding facility. When checking out your pet’s resort, consider what’s important for your pet’s comfort and safety:
Is there a foul odor, or does the facility appear clean and sanitary?
Do the dogs play together, and is their play supervised?
What is the exercise and playtime protocol?
How are cats housed?
What is your dog’s outdoor access like?
How much interaction does your pet receive? How long is she left alone?
What is the protocol if something happens to your pet?

#3: Book reservations in advance.
The holiday season is the busiest time of the year for boarding facilities, and spots fill quickly. Check with the boarding facility to see how far in advance you should book your pet’s stay.

#4: Pack your pet’s bags.
Dropping your pet off at a new place can be frightening for both of you, but ease the transition with comforts from home. Pack her favorite toys and treats, a cozy bed, and other familiar items. Don’t forget to include medications and supplements, checking to ensure she has plenty for her stay. Avoid upsetting your pet’s gastrointestinal system by also packing her food. A sudden switch to the boarding facility’s food can cause vomiting or diarrhea.

#5: Keep goodbyes brief.
Although it’s difficult to say goodbye, and leave your pet behind, ease her anxiety by making your goodbye brief and upbeat. Use a happy tone of voice and skip the overly dramatic, tearful goodbye. A peppy “see you soon,” and a pat on the head before strolling out the door will do more for your pet’s happiness than 10 minutes of hugs and kisses.

Is your pet ready for her stay at a pooch palace or kitty condo? Schedule an appointment to ensure she is current on her vaccinations and is in tip-top shape.