Going on Vacation? Find the Best Pet Boarding Facility

| October 25, 2012

boarding facility for cat

Even if you don’t have a trusted friend or family member to leave a pet with, you can still go on vacation. Let DexKnows help you find the best pet boarding facilities available so you can vacation without your pet but with peace of mind. Once you have a list of options in your area, use the following checklist to choose the right one.

License and good standing with Better Business Bureau

Licensure varies by state, and your state’s agriculture website will include this information. Expect any pet boarding facility you consider to have the appropriate license. Also search the Better Business Bureau, and cross off your list any facility with multiple complaints against it.

Convenient location

Stick as close to home as possible when choosing a pet boarding facility because you want to make dropping off and picking up your pet as convenient as possible. Also, proximity to home likely means closeness to your veterinarian, which will come in handy if your pet has any health issues needing attention while you are away. Excellent pet boarding facilities exist near major airports, as well, and one may prove just as convenient an option when flying if it meets all of your other requirements.

Caring staff

When touring a facility, bring up every item on this checklist and ask any other questions you have. If the staff of a pet boarding facility cannot easily answer your questions or seems bothered by your desire for detailed information, move on to the next facility on your list. Also watch how the staff members interact with the dogs and cats in their care.

24/7 staffing and emergency planning

The best pet boarding facilities have someone on site at night and that person has experience with pet first aid. The staff member showing you around also must be able to tell you how the facility handles emergencies and the location of the closest 24-hour animal care clinic.


Pets make a mess and it can happen indoors. When you tour a pet boarding facility, look for messes left to sit, and take a deep breath through your nose. If you don’t like what you see or smell, move on to the next option.

Like-home comforts

Make sure the area in which your pet will stay includes plenty of space and a cozy place to sleep. The temperature must be comfortable, as well. Also ask the staff member giving you a tour how often your pet will be walked and interacted with on a daily basis. If you have more than one pet, ensure they can be boarded together if they get along even when unsupervised. Also make sure your pet has ready access to water.

Vaccination requirements

A pet boarding facility must only accept pets current on all vaccinations, including Bordetella, a canine kennel cough that spreads quickly in facilities such as these. Be sure that any facility you are seriously considering will not let this vaccine slide. If the staffer says it’s no big deal or they don’t enforce it, move on to the next boarding place on your list.

Ease of contact

The best pet boarding facilities keep their clients in the loop, if desired, sending text messages and/or emails to provide updates on a pet’s stay. Certain facilities even have live web cams that allow pet owners to check in whenever they like. At a minimum, you must be able to call, no matter the time, and speak to someone about your pet.

Do not leave your beloved pet at any facility that does not meet all of the items on this checklist, many of which you can determine via pet boarding facility listings and reviews on DexKnows. Some facilities will offer more features than others, such as scheduled play dates and access to live web cam feeds, and these options will cost more per day than kennels with more basic facilities. Splurge if you can, as this will be a vacation for your pet, too.

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Category: Pet Day Care & Boarding, Pets, Travel

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.