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Articles and Advice from our Pet Expert

5 Great Holiday Lodging Options for Your Pet

Ready or not, the holidays are just around the corner. And that means many people are starting to make plans to go “over the river and through the woods” to visit family and friends.

While a growing number of pet parents take their furry family members along, this may not be practical or possible for others. If you’re unable to pack Fido or Fluffy into your sleigh, it’s a good idea to plan now for where they will stay while you’re gone. Luckily, there are several options available these days, including:

Doggie Daycare/Boarding Facility

For dogs that are well socialized and love to play, a daycare facility may end up being the perfect choice. In fact, they may be too busy having fun to miss you! (Sorry about that.) Be sure to tour the facility ahead of time, find out where your dog will sleep, ask plenty of questions, and observe how the staff and dogs interact with each other.

In-Home Boarding

Some professional pet sitters offer the option of taking care of your pet in their home. Usually, this means that there will be less animals than in a typical boarding or daycare setting and more individual attention. Visit the home, check for cleanliness and safety, and carefully observe the animals in their care. Do they seem happy, clean and relaxed?

Veterinary Clinic

Not that long ago this was the only place to board a pet, and it’s still a good, relatively low-cost option for many people. Your cat or dog may not get as much attention or exercise as they would in daycare, but you can rest easy knowing that your pet is in capable hands, especially if a health concern arises.

Pet Sitter in Your Home

Some dogs and most cats become anxious or afraid when taken out of familiar surroundings and routines. Others may not get along well in a group settings, like a daycare. If this describes your pet, having a sitter or walker come to your home may be the way to go. Some even offer overnight stays! Locate a good sitter by asking pet-loving friends for referrals. You can also check out general review sites like Angie’s List or dedicated pet sites like Pet Sitters International, or

Neighbor or Friend

This can be a great option, but keep in mind that these individuals probably have their own plans over the holidays. This may mean that they won’t be able to devote as much attention to your pet as a professional pet sitter would. To avoid straining your relationship, make sure that they have the time and that taking care of your pet won’t add to their stress during this busy season. If you do go this route, offer to pay them or return the favor some day.

When deciding on the best option for your pet, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Is your pet comfortable with their potential caregiver?
  2. How is the caregiver with your pet?
  3. Are you comfortable with the caregiver?
  4. Does the facility appear well managed, clean and sanitary (if applicable)?
  5. Do they require up-to-date vaccinations, including Bordatella (kennel cough)?
  6. Do they have a plan in place should an emergency arise with your pet?
  7. For individual pet sitters, do they have a back-up in case they are unable to check on your pet?
  8. For doggie daycares, boarding facilities and veterinary clinics, do they have a person onsite around the clock? If not, do they have a monitoring/security system and how often is it checked?
  9. Do they want to know as much information about your pet as possible? Are you required to fill out forms about your pet, their history, any special needs, etc.?
  10. Ask for and then check referrals.

For more ways to live happier and healthier with pets, visit my website, Kristen Levine Pet Living.

Kristen Buck60x60

Written by:
Kristen Levine, pet living expert

November 1, 2015

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