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It's hard to believe that the holidays are just weeks away! At this time of year, we often need to find our pet a home away from home as we travel to visit family or holiday destinations. If you've never boarded your pet, or even if you have, here are some boarding tips to help make it easy.

Update vaccinations ahead of time. You should try to update your pet's vaccinations, if necessary, at least a week before boarding. Dogs receiving the Kennel Cough (Bordetella) vaccine may shed the virus for several days after vaccination and can cause other dogs to become mildly infected. It also takes up to 4 days after vaccination for dogs to develop protection from the virus. Earlier vaccination provides optimum protection for everyone!

Keep up with a flea preventative. Any quality boarding facility will require you to treat your pet for fleas with a monthly preventative – or the facility will do it for you. If you have flea medication for your pet, save your money and apply it at home.

Be clear about medications. Double check that your pet's medications are adequate in quantity. Write out dosing instructions and bring all medications, both over and under the counter, in their original containers.

Bring your pet's food from home, particularly if it's on a prescription diet. Boarding is often a stressful time for a pet and sensitive digestive systems can get touchy. An abrupt change in food may only exacerbate the problem. Label the food bag or container with your pet's name and the amount of food your pet receives at each meal. If you can bring your pet food measuring utensil (labeled, of course!) – well, that's all the better!

Speak up about any special needs your pet may have. If your pet is prone to anxiety, aggression, fearfulness, has a habit of bolting, etc...don't be shy about letting the kennel staff know. The more information provided, the better your pet's stay will be. For instance, a fearful or shy cat, when the condition is brought to the attention of the staff, may be provided with an enclosed bed or plenty of blankets for hiding in order to make the stay as peaceful as possible.

Consider a “warm-up” stay. If your pet hasn't boarded in a while or is new to the facility, consider leaving your pet for a short stay prior to your vacation. This can help your pet become familiar with the surroundings, the kennel staff, and the boarding “routine”.

At Animal Care Clinic we offer comfortable and compassionate boarding for cats as well as dogs of every breed and size. We also offer medical boarding if your pet needs daily medication or monitoring. You can take comfort in knowing that all of your pet's needs are being served by our caring veterinary staff while you are away from your furry friend. Have a good trip!