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Tips on Choosing a “Home Away From Home” for Your Dog

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traveldogDo’s and Don’ts of Travel Planning for Pets

So you have big plans for travel this year… Your flights have been booked; you’ve reserved a rental car, and your hotel reservations are in order.  You are really looking forward to getting “off the rock” and enjoying some time on the mainland.

But have you also made arrangements for your dog’s “home away from home” while you’re away?  First choice, of course, is to have a family friend housesit (and dogsit) for you, but if no one is available to stay in your home and keep your canine company, a quality dog boarding service can help your dog have an enjoyable vacation, too. Tradewinds Pet Suites, located on Oahu’s Leeward Coast, offers practical tips on choosing a quality boarding service.

  1. Do some research of the available accommodations in your area. Start by asking around among your friends and at work. Checking with your veterinarian is a great place to start.
  2. Online research can also be great, but be sure to call the facility and ask questions. How large are the kennels? How much exercise will your dog get? How often are the kennels cleaned? Are you allowed to bring “comfort items” from home for your dog? Can a friend come and visit your dog while you’re away?
  3. Schedule a visit to the boarding facility ahead of time. If possible, it’s a good idea to “test drive” the facility by leaving your dog there for a day or two before you go away for an extended period of time. That way your dog knows the facility and the caretakers there – and she also knows that you’ll be coming back for her.dogs
  4. When visiting a facility, use your senses. Does the kennel appear clean and orderly? Does it smell fresh and clean? Be aware also of the play yards, runs and other areas where your dog may spend time. Is there adequate ventilation? Are there offensive odors?
  5. The kennels, runs and play areas should all be very secure. Many dogs will try to escape, so if you’re concerned that your dog might, be sure to mention it to the kennel owners.
  6. If the kennel has an outside play yard, will your dog be sharing it with other dogs, or will he get the yard to himself. If playtime is shared, what steps are taken to prevent doggie disagreements and even fights?
  7. Ask what is required in the way of veterinary records and vaccinations. If the kennel does not require written records from your vet, find another kennel. According to the American Kennel Club, “all responsible kennel owners and operators will ask about your dog’s vaccinations and will require proof of certain shots.”
  8. Does your dog have special medical needs? If so, discuss them ahead of time with the kennel owner and find out if there is an additional charge to give medications.
  9. Ask for references, and check them out.
  10. On “check-in” day, bring along your dog’s bed or favorite toys. If possible bring a piece of clothing that you’ve worn or a blanket that you’ve used. Having your scent on a garment or other piece of material may help calm and comfort your dog while you’re away.
  11. Don’t linger over your “good-byes.” Be positive and upbeat and keep it short and sweet, says the American Kennel Club. You may return to discover that your pet had as much fun on her “vacation” as you did on yours.

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