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Going on a well-deserved vacation? This is something we all look forward to, but it also often means having to leave our fur babies behind! That doesn’t mean they don’t deserve their own fur-cation though, too!

When choosing the right vacation spot for your pet, ensure that your pet has a secure, comfortable, & affordable place to stay that also provides quality care, & manages their physical, as well as mental, wellbeing.

So, let’s take a closer look at how to pick the right cat or dog-boarding facilities (such as dog hotels or catteries) that your furry companion will love, all the while you’re on holiday.

What is pet-boarding?

Pet-boarding generally refers to facilities that provide a temporary home for your pets while you’re away. An example may be a dog-boarding, cattery, kennel or hotel.

These facilities typically provide food, water, shelter, & exercise for pets as well as administering special medication or care when required. Some providers may also offer grooming services or training while your pet is under their supervision. Some have vets on hand, & encourage socialisation. Some host events, celebrations, & parties even!

There are various considerations you can keep in mind to ensure you pick the right dog hotel or cattery for your individual pet.

How to choose a dog hotel or cattery using these 7 considerations

When choosing a petcare provider to look after your four-legged companion, there are several factors to consider to ensure that your pet is safe, happy, & comfortable while you’re away.

Here are 7 steps we encourage pet-owners to follow when finding the right dog hotel or cattery.

1. Ask pet care providers about their pet safety standards, & quality of care

A pet-boarding facility that prioritises safety, security & quality of care can give you the peace-of-mind you need to enjoy your holiday, without worrying about your pet’s well-being.

When it comes to safety & security, a provider that offers boarding for dogs or cats should have secure, & well-maintained facilities that are designed to prevent any potential risks to your pet’s safety. This includes features such as secure fencing, gating, & locking systems to prevent unauthorised access.

Imagine leaving your pet in the care of highly trained, animal-loving, professional, qualified staff members who are dedicated to providing personalised attention to your pet’s individual needs, ensuring that they receive the best possible care and attention…Sounds like a vacation for everybody!

In addition, a dog hotel or cattery with qualified, & experienced staff members can ensure that your pet is receiving the best possible care, & attention. This may include attending to unique dietary requirements, exercise routines, monitoring pet health, administering regular medication, & more. It’s important to get an understanding of when these tasks are managed by staff on a daily basis.

For owners of senior pets with medical ailments, it’s important to ask about any special or personalised care that can be provided to ensure your cat or dog stays happy, & healthy.

2. Consider the space, comfort, & facilities provided for your pet

Your best friend deserves the best possible accommodation.

Look for a facility that offers spacious, & comfortable accommodation, with plenty of room for your pet to play, rest, & explore. It’s important to ensure your furry companion has a “home-away-from-home” environment that provides balance of stimulation, peace, & relaxation.

After all, you need a pet-kennel or boarding provider that can give you with complete peace-of-mind, & eliminate additional stress about your pet while you’re away.

In addition to spacious accommodation (depending on pet size, age & breed), the quality of facilities is also important to consider. Look for a pet-boarding providers with well-maintained facilities that are clean, & hygienic. Your pet deserves a safe, & healthy environment, with access to suitable exercise equipment, & other amenities that are suitable for their physical, & mental wellbeing.

3. Enquire about socialisation, & exercise routines

Choosing a dog hotel or cattery that provides ample opportunities for socialisation, exercise, & outdoor activities is not only important for your pet’s physical, & mental health, but it can also make their stay more enjoyable, & memorable.

Imagine your furry baby running around in a beautiful dog park, playing fetch with their new furry friends, or exploring a nature reserve with a dedicated, & trained pet caregiver by their side. These experiences can not only provide your pet with the exercise they need but also boost their confidence, reduce anxiety, & improve their overall mood, & well-being.

Many cats & dogs suffer with anxiety when separate from their owners for a few hours, let alone a weekend or longer period of time. This can lead to many destructive behaviours, & stress while you are away.

To help alleviate these issues, providers need to be able to provide exercise, attention, & socialisation for pets to ensure their receive ample stimulation. These routines can also be important for building positive experiences for your pet, & build familiarity with their surroundings. This could be useful when it comes time to take your dog or cat to pet-boarding when you travel again in the future.

4. Consider budget, alongside a provider’s value & quality of care

By balancing cost with quality of care, you can ensure that your pet receives the best possible care, & attention while you’re away. With affordable, & high-quality pet care, you can enjoy your vacation with peace-of-mind, knowing that your pet is in good hands.

While affordability is a key consideration, it’s important not to sacrifice quality of care just because it’s cheaper.

Research a provider’s services, & their reputation to develop a well-rounded understanding of the essential care, & special care a dog or cat boarding facility can provide. Compare them to other providers to find a pet-boarding provider that offers competitive pricing, while delivering quality care, & facilities. Word-of-mouth is also a good indicator or reputation, established quality of care, & reliability.

It’s also essential to read the fine print carefully before selecting a dog hotel or cattery to ensure there are no hidden costs, or excessive fees associated with cancellation (which may be important if something goes awry, & your pet’s stay has to be cut short or even cancelled).

Look for dog or cat hotels that are transparent about their pricing, & fees and ask all of the questions you need to make an informed decision about the best facility for your four-legged best friend.

5. Pick a pet boarding facility in a convenient location for easier travel planning

It’s important to find a dog hotel or cattery in a convenient location as you will need to factor dropping off, & fetching your pet into your travel plans, perhaps even at odd hours.

Luckily, many pet boarding providers understand the importance of convenience, & offer flexible drop-off, & pick-up options to accommodate your travel schedule. Some even go the extra mile, & provide transportation services, making the process even more seamless. This can be especially helpful if you’re short on time or if you’re travelling a long distance, even at odd hours.

If your chosen pet-boarding facility is positioned further away than you would like, you could always plan to drop your pet off the day before you leave, & select an appropriate time to fetch your four-legged friend. A stress-free departure is crucial to give your pet assurance, & instil trust in their new, temporary home.

6. Develop an understanding of a provider’s communication, & customer service

When it comes to choosing a cattery or dog boarding facility, don’t underestimate the importance of quality service, & communication.

A pet boarding provider that is responsive, available, & willing to address your concerns in a timely manner can make all the difference in ensuring your peace-of-mind while you’re not with your pet. Look for a provider that offers updates , & communicates effectively, so you can stay informed about your pet’s well-being.

The availability of staff to answer your questions, & address your concerns is also crucial. Try to gain an understanding of when you can expect to receive updates about your pet, & whether it’s concerning their behaviour, eating habits or overall well-being.

Choosing a dog hotel or cattery that prioritises quality service, & communication can help you ensure your fur baby is well-looked after, & you get the rest your deserve.

7. Explore a pet boarding provider’s online reviews, & reputation

Finding the perfect cattery or dog kennel for the holidays can be daunting, but with a little research (& even word-of-mouth), you can ensure your pet is cared for with love.

While you are online looking at pet-boarding providers’ websites, it’s also a good idea to check out reviews provided by previous customers. Explore a provider’s ratings, & reviews via sources such as HelloPeter, Google reviews, Facebook, your vet or trainer, & also consult other reputable online forums you can find.

This can help you understand a provider’s approach from a customer perspective, & provide insight into positives, & red flags associated with their service. These factors may help you make an informed, final choice.

In addition, recommendations from friends, & family members are important. Consulting friends & family may help you gain a much deeper understanding into real-life experience you are likely to receive from a provider.

A trusted veterinarian or qualified provider in the vet industry may also be able to recommend a handful of reliable pet-boarding providers, & may have vetted these facilities for their clients already based on past experiences.

You can use the combination of the sources covered above to help you feel confident in making a your final decision with a well-rounded understanding.

Take the time to research, & compare options, & don’t hesitate to ask questions or voice any concerns you may have. Your pet deserves the best care possible, & finding a trustworthy & reliable pet-care provider is essential for their health, & happiness.

Consider trying an alternative to pet-boarding: Pet-sitting

Pet-sitting is viable alternative option for some pet owners, & involves a responsible person staying at their house to ensure their dog or cat is cared for while they are away.

Sometimes a friend or family member can recommend a friend, or you can find a variety of pet-sitting services online.

When looking into pet-sitting services, it’s important to explore their online reviews, glean insights from experiences of friends, & family, or get references. Also ask about how the company vets their pet-sitters, & the level of service provided.

Setting up an initial interview with the pet-sitter assigned to care for your dog or cat can help you make completely sure that you are leaving your fur-baby in trusted hands, & show you that they can connect with your pet.

Depending on your needs, pet-sitting in your pet’s own familiar home might be a better fit for your four-legged friend, meanwhile also providing you with a greater level of assurance they are safe, comfortable, & of course, reassured of your return.

Final tips on choosing pet-boarding for your dog or cat

Let’s wrap up with a summary of some of the key points you can use to help you choose the right pet-boarding facility for your dog or cat:

  • Assess quality of care
  • Consider space comfort, & facilities
  • Account for exercise, & socialisation
  • Consider budget versus quality of care
  • Find a facility in a convenient location for better travel logisitics
  • Explore a provider’s level of communication/customer service
  • Learn about a provider’s reputation through online reviews, word-of-mouth, & recommendations from your vet

Making an informed choice using the points above can help you guarantee a worry-free holiday, & a happy, healthy, furry family member when you get home.

If you found this post helpful, you may enjoying exploring our other content for cat, & dog owners, including guides on Winter Pet Safety, How To Take Care Of A Puppy, Dog Poisoning & Pet Insurance.

Medipet Animal Health Insurance Brokers (Pty) Ltd (MediPet) (FSP Licence No: 15491) is underwritten by Renasa licensed non-life insurer & FSP.