There are many instances where animals may need to stay at a boarding facility, such as when their owners are travelling or in hospital.
Preparing your animal for a stay at a boarding facility
Important preparation includes:
- Consider if a boarding facility is right for your companion animal – is your animal likely to cope in a boarding facility environment (e.g., do they get stressed by change or other animals)? If it is likely that they will find the boarding facility environment stressful, consider whether another option (e.g., a trusted and reputable pet sitter who will come and stay at your home with your animal) may be a better option for your companion animal.
- Identification – Make sure that your animal is registered with your council, microchipped, tagged, and your details are up to date so that you can be contacted if they accidentally become lost.
- Enrichment – Enrichment involves mentally and physically stimulating activities that engage an animal’s mind, body and senses (e.g., smell, taste, sound, smell, touch). Ensuring that your animal can engage with some of their favourite enrichment items and activities while you are away will help them have positive experiences, and cope with any potential stress.
- Health check – Make sure your animal has had a recent health check so any issues can be adequately managed while they are in boarding, and they are in the best shape possible to cope with any associated stress.
- Veterinary care – Make sure your animal will have access to veterinary care during their stay. Provide your veterinarian’s contact details, or make sure the boarding facility has access to veterinary services. Your animal will require up to date vaccinations, worming and external parasite control to stay at most facilities.
Finding a good boarding facility
To find a good boarding facility, ideally:
- Visit the facility in person, or ask a trusted person to check it out and talk to the staff (e.g., the space, conditions, hygiene, temperature control, airflow, and levels of care).
- Ask about daily procedures and routines (e.g., food and water, exercise, one-on-one human interactions, group activities, play time, enrichment, cleaning).
- Seek referrals from other companion animal owners who have used boarding facilities before.
- Test run, if possible, by arranging a short trial stay to familiarise your animal with the place and see how they like it.
Contact your local RSPCA – some RSPCA Care Centres provide boarding services for privately owned animals.
Contact veterinary clinics in your area – some vet clinics provide boarding services or may be able to provide advice about boarding facilities in the region.