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Is Your Pet Ready for Summer Vacation?

Fourth of July weekend means summer vacation season has arrived. You’ve made your hotel reservations, booked your air travel, cancelled mail delivery, and packed your suitcase. What have you forgotten?


Quality boarding kennels book up quickly for the busy summer vacation months. Yet, in the flurry of booking travel arrangements for themselves, many vacationers forget to plan ahead the family pet’s vacation, too.

The pet care experts at Best Friends offer the following advice for making sure that your family pets enjoy their summer vacation as much as you do yours:

Step 1: Find a Quality Kennel

Look for a kennel that offers a structured routine, round-the-clock monitoring of eating, play and elimination behaviors, and frequent contact with caring, warm humans. Before you book, visit any facility you are considering:

  • Use your eyes, ears and nose to evaluate it. Does the place look and smell clean? Are the quarters large enough for your pet to move about?
  • Observe the staff: Do they interact with their pet guests?
  • Ask questions. Is there exercise or play time available? What about bathing services? Will they feed special diets and give medication? Is there 24-hour on-call veterinarian care?

Step 2: Prepare Your Pet

In addition to making reservations, you need to:

  • Update your pet’s vaccinations. A top-quality kennel will require proof that they are up-to-date. Take your pet to the veterinarian one to two weeks in advance of your departure date.
  • Purchase a supply of your pet’s medications and special food (if any). Pack a familiar toy for your pet’s stay, but don’t bring his favorite in case of possible loss.
  • Prepare a list of contacts. Include your veterinarian’s phone number, your contact information at your vacation destination, and a local contact to serve as your "backup" in an emergency if you can’t be reached.

Step 3: Enjoy your vacation

When you deliver your pet to the boarding kennel, give him an affectionate good-bye and leave. Use a happy tone of voice, and he will feel reassured. Don’t linger or cause a prolonged farewell scene; this will only create anxiety for your pet.

If this is your pet’s first time boarding, and you are anxious, make arrangements with the kennel staff to call and check on how he’s doing. At Best Friends, associates understand that pets are part of the family and will be happy to take a call from a worried pet owner.

For more information, see the Boarding section of our Questions and Answers page.