10 Things You Should Do Before You Board Your Pet

As much as you love your pet there are situations that require you to leave Fido or Fifi behind. Finding your companion a safe place to stay in your absence can be challenging. Non-profit organizations, such as the American Boarding Kennels Association, maintain a list of accredited facilities.

Now you may be thinking, “how do I select the right facility for my pet”  and “what do I need to do before boarding begins.”  Relax! We’ve got the 10 things you need to know to make it a positive experience for you both!

1. Interview

Call the kennel and find out how long they have been in business and ask for references. Contact the references and plan to tour the facility before scheduling the boarding. While there, take notice of the cleanliness, smell, boarding location and outdoor area in which pets are walked. Most of all, look to see if the pets there appear to be happy!

2. Recommendations 

Check in with friends and neighbors that have pets and ask them where they have boarded their pets in the past and what their experience has been.

3. Determine Kennel Requirements

Some kennels require animals to have special vaccines. Find out if they do and what records are required. You will also want to know if you need to supply your own food and treats or if they will be providing it. Many pets have a favorite toy or blanket, so it’s a good idea to ask if you can leave it with them.

4. Kennel Staff

Find out about the consistency with the staff. Ask if the same person will be tending to your pet each day or if it will be different. You will also want to know if that person is someone who is professionally trained or a high school student shoveling food into the cages. While touring the facility, look to see if the staff appears to be competent and enjoying their work.

5. Schedule

The kennel schedule may be different than what your pet is used to. Understanding how often your pet will be walked and fed in your absence will help you determine if this facility will work for your situation.

6. Feeding Instructions

If the kennel allows, consider taking your own food and requesting they only use that. Often times, when fed other foods and treats, pets can develop gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhea. Your pet is already in a new environment which can be stressful enough so avoiding unnecessary change is best for your pet’s well-being.

7. Contact Information

Ensure that the kennel has the number where you can be reached in the case of an emergency. Plan for the unexpected by including your cell number and emergency contact information.

8. Emergency Instructions

Be prepared by leaving instructions on how to proceed. If you want your pet seen by a specific veterinarian or emergency hospital, leave their information as well as a credit card and authorization for emergency medical care. You don’t want your pet waiting for medical care if you are unable to be reached.

9. Medical History

Obtain a copy of your pet’s pertinent medical record from your vet for the kennel. This record should contain any medications currently being taken, diagnosed conditions and problems. Any behavioral quirks such as aggressive behavior toward other animals should also be noted. If your pet is microchipped, it is a good idea to leave that information with them as well.

10. Special Instructions

Clearly indicate all special instructions you have before leaving your pet at the kennel. This includes medication information and dietary restrictions. Keep the instructions as simple as possible to understand.


Your ultimate goal is to ensure your pet has a positive experience while you are apart. Be sure you are confident that this will happen before leaving your pet.

What have your boarding experiences been like?