How to Choose the Best Pet Boarding Facility in Massachusetts

Long and short trips away from home can sometimes require the professional services of a kennel or boarding service for your pet. Before just picking the closest facility or the one that you remember seeing advertised on television, take some time to choose the best location for your pet. Your local Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian wants to help you make the best choice for your cat or dog. Before you leave on any trip, make sure to visit Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth for a veterinary check-up. We can make sure that your pet has all the vaccinations, preventive treatments, and care to have a successful boarding experience. Whether you are concerned about separation anxiety issues in dogs or social problems with cats, our team of highly trained veterinarians and technicians can give you the tools you need to keep your pets happy and healthy.

Get a Referral
You can start your search for the best kennel or boarding facility by asking your local veterinarian. Who would know best than someone who works with pets all day long? You can also ask other local dog owners, such as the people that you see each day at the dog park or even neighbors who also walk their dogs in the neighborhood. One of the best ways to find out which facility is best for your pet is to talk with someone who has had experience using these services in the past. Even if they can’t tell you which one is best, chances are you will at least hear about negative experiences to know which ones to avoid.

Check Certifications
While not a mandatory requirement for kennels in the United States, many boarding facilities go above and beyond to become certified by the Pet Care Services Association (PCSA), which evaluates these services according to 250 unique standards within 17 specific areas to ensure that quality care is being provided. This certification can be a difficult and costly process, which is why many boarding services do not submit to it. However, those that do can rightfully brag that they have passed such a stringent series of tests to become certified. You can verify certification by asking to see the certificate.

See It Yourself
Don’t just look at photos or video tours online, actually get out and see the kennel or boarding facility for yourself. Contrary to popular belief, a kennel should not smell or sound like a dog pound. The animals should be clean and well cared for during their stay. It should not be constant barking, which is a sign of distress and anxiety. Sanitation is extremely important, but so are subtle details, such as lighting, the appearance of staff, smell, and the animal to staff ratio. Make sure to ask about how many animals are typically boarded at one time and the number of workers that are on staff each day. The maximum ratio should be one worker for every ten pets to ensure proper care.

Evaluating the Staff
A clean and neat facility is one thing, but you want your pets to be cared for while you are out of town. When you visit, think of it as performing an interview of the staff. Are they friendly and attentive? How do they greet you and your pet? Can they answer questions about the facility confidently? Do they take notes about your requirements for feeding and care? Workers should be friendly, interested or concerned about your pet’s needs, and they should be patient while you describe your situation. A facility should allow you to bring your pet’s bedding, medications, food, toys, and anything else that they might need during their stay. If you want any “extras” during their stay, such as grooming or training, make sure to ask during this initial interview.

The Details
Make sure to ask about staffing policies, whether someone is on-site 24 hours a day or if the pets are monitored remotely via web cam, and find out about play time or exercise outside of the kennel areas. Many facilities will walk dogs throughout the day and offer some play time, especially if the owner requests it. Find out if you need something from your local Southeastern Massachusetts veterinarian about your pet’s health status and vaccinations. You can obtain these during a routine veterinary check-up at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth. Describe any concerns you might have or medications that are being provided for ongoing conditions that could be a problem, such as separation anxiety or other anxiety issues in dogs. The more they know, the better equipped they will be to care for your pet.

Visit Anchor Animal Hospital
If you are planning a trip and require the use of boarding services, schedule a veterinary check-up for your pet today at Anchor Animal Hospital in Dartmouth. We can help you with vaccinations, boosters, preventive treatments, and even help with behavioral issues. Give us a call at 508-996-3731 to schedule an appointment or to ask about any of the veterinary services we provide to our clients right here in Southeastern Massachusetts.