Most pet owners don't stress traveling for themselves; they stress on behalf of their pets, the significant others who need to be boarded and cared for while the owners are gone. That means the owners will investigate kennels. Finding a boarding kennel isn't really all that difficult, but leaving the pet behind often is. That is why a number of owners take the more expensive option of hiring an in-home caregiver for their pet, an especially viable choice if the pet prefers its home environment and doesn't easily socialize with other animals. If the pet has a special condition such as diabetes or arthritis, this is also a consideration that may make one lean towards in-home care.
An in-home caregiver should not just be a friendly neighbor or acquaintance, or even a family member with an investment in the pet. There have been horror stories of pets in kennels, but also about in-care specialists who wound up doing damage to the animal.
If one does go that route, the in-care specialist should be recommended by a trusted veterinarian; in fact, most veterinarians keep lists of in-care specialists whom they trust, so the circle of acquaintance is much more secure. Most veterinary offices will have brochures available about individuals who are especially qualified or trustworthy.
If one does hire home-care, there should be an introductory meeting where that individual presents references and interacts with the pet; the home-care specialist should be prompt, knowledgeable and know the schedules for pet care and for emergency procedures.
If that idea will not work for the owner, he/she will have to investigate a boarding kennel. On the contrary, kennels are not terrible places to leave a pet; they are, in fact, the best possible solution to get pets with other animals to learn and re-learn training and socialization skills necessary for well-rounded lives. In fact, many pets come alive to a degree their owners thought impossible when they are kenneled with other animals, in the noise, activity and shared the company of numerous animals.
Obviously, in choosing a proper kennel, one should consult a veterinarian for his recommendations, but one can also ask friends and acquaintances if there are special boarding facilities they have had success with.
If the customer is still in doubt, the online Better Business Bureau will rate good and bad kennels in his/her immediate area. Also, the kennel personnel should be happy to allow the pet owner a tour of the facilities, to be sure they are clean and orderly, that the staff is friendly and knowledgeable about your breed of pets, that feeding and exercise schedules are suitable and regular, and the special needs the kennel will accommodate. Emergencies should also be discussed, and the customer should leave the tour completely satisfied with the facility.
When the pet gets left at the kennel, its vaccinations should be up to date and documented (do not vaccinate the day of departure, as it is not optimal for the pets health). Give the kennel a pre-determined feeding and diet schedule and specify amounts or special diet needs; some people prefer to place the meals pre-proportioned in sandwich bags or plastic containers.
In addition, both the kennel and home-care specialist should have a written schedule of the pets medications, and, if desired, an exercise schedule, all of which acclimates the pet to the new environment when the owner is away.
Finally, it is usually best if the owner brings the pets own food to the kennel; the animal thus gets more used to the surroundings, and avoids upset stomach or diarrhea as a result of being left in a new environment. If an in-care specialist is not for the owner, the kennels are the next best thing to the pet being home again.