Plan early if boarding Fluffy or Fido

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 20, 2013

If you are traveling over the holidays, be sure to make plans early for Fido and Fluffy because top-notch boarding facilities book up fast for the holidays.
“Whether you choose an in-home pet sitter or a boarding kennel,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy, “the BBB has advice to help you pick the best care for your four-legged family members.”
The BBB has these guidelines for hiring a pet sitter:
Recommendations — Ask friends, neighbors or your veterinarian if they can recommend a professional pet care giver.
Training — Services can vary widely. Interview prospective pet sitters to find out what services they will provide and whether they are trained to administer any necessary medications or emergency first aid.
Fees and services — Find out what their fee includes and what their payment requirements are. Some pet sitters are willing to do non-pet related chores, such as bringing in the mail, watering plants, turning lights on or off or even staying overnight.
References — Ask the pet sitter for personal references and call them to inquire about the quality of pet care they received.
Security — The pet sitter will have access to your home, so you should find out if they are bonded and if they have commercial liability insurance coverage. You may also want to check the N.C. Dept. of Corrections Offender Search to see if your pet sitter has a criminal history.
Boarding — If you are boarding your pets at a kennel, the BBB has these tips:
Recommendations — Get recommendations from your veterinarian or check American Boarding Kennels Association.
Personal visit — Check the facility for cleanliness and safety of the kennel and cages.
Licensing — Ask if the kennel is properly licensed and does it meet specific animal-to-staff ratios as well as animal-to-square footage requirements set by some states.
Staff — Ask if the kennel has someone on-site 24 hours per day. Many kennels do not have anyone in the facility overnight.
Vaccinations — Make sure the facility requires all pets to have proof of immunizations and ask about their procedures for flea and tick control.
Drop-off and pick-up policies — Facilities may not allow you to drop off or pick up your pet on weekend days which may extend the stay of your pet and increase the cost.
Regular updates — Find out how the facility will keep you updated. Many top-notch facilities offer live web cams so you can see your pet via their internet website.
Emergencies — Ask about procedures in case your pet has a medical emergency.