Pet Boarding Facility Preparation Checklist

Sometimes it’s better to leave our furry friends at home when we go on vacation. While some of us have the option of keeping our pets with a friend or family member while away, others need to choose boarding to keep their pet happy and safe while away. We’ve compiled a checklist for you to consider when preparing to have your pet boarded and recommend starting the planning process at least 30 days before you leave for your trip. Depending on the time of year many boarding facilities can fill up quickly. In addition, many boarders are now requiring more vaccinations in order for your pet to stay at various facilities. Some will even require proof of up-to-date vaccinations 10 days before the pet enters the facility.

1. Visit the facility prior to making arrangements.
This is your chance to meet the staff, tour the facility and see where your pet could be calling home during their stay. Some facilities may even need to meet your pet and do an evaluation to see how they behave.

2. Check that your pet meets the requirements of the facility.
Many facilities have initial requirements that must be met in order to consider your pet. It’s important to read these rules and regulations when choosing a facility so you don’t run into any issues when leaving for your trip.

Here are some examples of pet requirements you may run into:

  • Must be a certain minimum age (i.e. some facilities don’t want dogs under 8 months)
  • Pet must be potty trained
  • Pet must be spayed/neutered
  • Pet must have up-to-date registration through the county
  • Proper identification tags
  • Here are some examples of behavior requirements you may run into:

  • Pet must be non-aggressive with both pets and people
  • Pet must be non food or toy protective
  • Pet must be socialized with other pets and people
  • Pet cannot have harmed another pet previously
  • 3. Breed restrictions.
    Many facilities will not allow certain breeds, mainly dogs, in their facility, so check your local boarding facility for restrictions.

    4. Health requirements.
    Written proof of up-to-date vaccinations, including:

  • Rabies
  • Canine Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvovirus
  • Bordetella
  • Canine influenza
  • Feline distemper
  • Fecal test
  • Pet must be in good health and has not had any contagious illnesses in the last 30 days.
    Pets must be flea and tick free AND be on flea/tick protection before and during boarding stay.

    5. Pack your pet’s personal items.
    Here are some examples of items you should have ready to pack for your pet. Please note, these are only examples and may not apply to all facilities.

  • Enough food to last for the duration of your vacation
  • Food and water bowl, and instructions on how your pet should be fed
  • Cage/housing/bedding
  • Special medications or other special care needs
  • Toys
  • Please note, some locations ask that you do not bring certain personal items that can get lost or damaged. If you do bring personal items they should be properly labeled so they can be returned to you when you pick up your pet.

    6. Other items and information to have prepared.

  • Local veterinary hospital information
  • Contact information for where you will be staying (e.g. hotel, cruise ship, etc.)
  • Local emergency contact. This person may be authorized to visit your pet, if allowed, pick your pet up, or make medical decisions for your pet while you are away.
  • Does your facility offer additional services you wish to take advantage of while your pet is staying there? Examples include:

  • Dental cleanings
  • Exams
  • Blood work
  • Grooming