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Pet boarding: What to consider

A sleeping dog close upKim O’Meara - K9 Magazine

As Xmas approaches, many pet owners have to decide what to do with their pet when they go on holiday. And with more Brits choosing to take a break over the Xmas period, the issue of pet boarding becomes more important.

Many pet owners decide not to leave their pet with friends or relatives over Xmas because they don’t want to create a burden during a hectic time of year. So how do responsible pet owners get the best for their pet when they go away?

Costs of boarding

The average price of a boarding kennel for dogs is around £30 per day, while cat owners pay around £15 a day for a good quality facility, according to research by K9 Magazine. Pet owners are advised to take into account the facilities on offer when choosing boarding options. The cost often reflects the size of the exercise area and the relative 'luxury' of the property. But for owners of old dogs who aren't used to the finer things in life and require less exercise, this may be an unnecessary expense. Consider the needs of your dog and match them to what the boarding property offers. Don't be swayed by claims of luxury - dogs are unlikely to be interested in the quality of the carpet.

Boarding home essentials

All boarding facilities should be clean, well ventilated, well heated, and safe. Check the place out yourself before you commit and make sure it has a high ratio of staff to pets; that way you know your pet will get the care and attention it needs. Remember reputation is everything, so check online and speak to friends for recommendations.

Making the best of boarding

Everybody misses their pet when they go abroad, but sometimes it's simply not practical to holiday with your dog or cat. So help the boarding process along by ensuring your pet has access to his or her favourite toys, and preferred food. If your pet is really sentimental, leave something carrying your scent with them for their stay, such as a blanket or an old jacket. Your scent will be familiar and comforting and could help them adjust to the separation.

Insurance considerations

While your pet is in the care of another person, risk management is essential. Although boarding staff are likely to be caring and professional individuals, nobody knows the needs of your pet quite like you do. Pet insurance is a wise investment, especially if you board your pet. Staff in a boarding home can often be over cautious and it's not uncommon for them to refer even the mildest sniffle to a vet to be on the safe side, which could land you with a vet bill when you return.

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