With the holidays fast approaching, many of us are making travel plans to celebrate with relatives and friends…plans that may not include our pets. Boarding your pet at a trusted kennel or veterinary facility can be a really good option. Here are 5 tips to help ensure your pet’s “vacation” is as happy as yours!

Contact Information and Instructions
Make sure your boarding facility has a fool-proof way to contact you if they have questions or if your pet becomes ill. Cell phone numbers, local contact people, and clear instructions as to how to proceed in the event the facility can’t get ahold of you will go a long way to ensure your pet will receive uninterrupted care.

Familiar items
Your pet will feel more at home if they have some of their own “stuff” with them! A favorite blanket, a toy and perhaps an article of clothing that smells like you will be a comfort to them.

Diet and Probiotics
Ideally, your pet should eat the same food while boarding as they do at home. Since it is unlikely the boarding facility will have your brand, consider bringing enough of their regular diet to last through their stay. Using probiotics such as Proviable Forte or Forti Flora on their food while boarding will also help prevent diarrhea from “stress colitis”.

Calming Pheromones and Supplements

Using calming pheromones such as Nurture Calm collars, Feliway and supplements such as Zylkene can really reduce your pet’s anxiety during their boarding stay without the use of drugs.

Most boarding facilities require pets to be up to date on at least the basic vaccinations such as Rabies, Distemper, Parvo, and Bordetella for dogs and Rabies, Panleukopenia, and the Upper Respiratory Viruses for cats. The most common infectious disease your dog could pick up at a boarding facility is Bordetella, commonly known as Kennel Cough, and a simple, oral vaccination is now available! Bordetella vaccinations should be given annually in most dogs but twice yearly in dogs that board frequently.

-Dr. Chris Wilson