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Pets Last Updated: Jul 2nd, 2008 - 21:15:22

Pet Boarding: Choose A Kennel With Care
Apr 22, 2007, 01:18

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Article Translations: English German Spanish French Italian Portuguese Japanese Korean Chinese
(NAPSI)-Although your pet may seem like part of the family, it's not always best-or even possible-to bring him or her along on family vacations. Boarding your furry friend at a kennel that specializes in care and overnight accommodations may be the best option. All kennels, however, are not created equal-it's important to do your research first.

Melissa Brookshire, DVM, director of veterinary services for Diamond Pet Foods, says pets can benefit in many ways from staying at a licensed boarding facility, as it is often better for their physical and emotional health than extensive travel.

"Long car or airplane rides can stress an animal," she explains. "Diet and exercise routines are disrupted and dehydration may be a risk, especially in the summer. At a caring kennel, your pet's needs are the priority and trained staff will quickly notice any behavioral changes or health problems and be able to address them."

Comfort And Quality Checklist

Before you drop off Fluffy or Fido at the kennel, do background research on the facility and stop in for a visit to make sure the staff is willing and able to give your pet the level of care you expect. Tour all areas where animals are kept and make sure of the following:

• The facility looks and smells clean and offers sufficient ventilation and light.

• A comfortable temperature is maintained.

• Staff seems knowledgeable and caring.

• Pets are required to be current on their vaccinations, including the vaccine for canine kennel cough (Bordetella). Such a requirement helps protect your animal and others.

• Each dog has his or her own adequately sized indoor-outdoor run or an indoor run and a schedule for exercise.

• Outdoor runs and exercise areas are protected from wind, rain and snow.

• Resting boards and bedding are provided to allow dogs to rest off the concrete floor.

• Cats are housed away from dogs.

• There is enough space for cats to move around comfortably and enough space between the litter box and food bowls.

• Each animal has his or her own water bowl.

What's For Dinner?

Dr. Brookshire adds that proper nutrition is critical to maintaining your pet's health while he or she is being boarded. "If the kennel does not feed the same food your pet usually eats, bring in a supply of his regular food to prevent digestive upset caused by a sudden change in diet.

"Even if you bring in food, you should notify the kennel if your pet is on a special diet or has any known food or drug sensitivities, since the kennel might offer treats containing inappropriate ingredients."

Find out, too, how often and how long pets are exercised, particularly if cats are allowed any time out of their cage for exercise.

And finally, make sure all your pet's vaccinations and medications are up-to-date and that he or she is healthy and flea-free. This is for your own peace of mind as well as for the health and safety of the other animals at the kennel. When boarding your pet, ask the kennel if you can bring a familiar blanket or favorite toy to remind your pet of home.

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