BBB tips for boarding your pet during vacation

Summer is here, which means many are taking vacations. Planning a trip can be stressful, and adding pets into the mix can make it even more hectic.

Families often have to decide between having a sitter watch their pet at home while they’re gone or boarding their animal at a kennel. Finding a trustworthy business to take care of your four-legged friend can be a worrisome task.

Common complaints about the industry include disputes over billing and misleading contracts and/or poor treatment of the pet. Some owners reported pets being returned severely dehydrated/malnourished or infested with fleas and ticks. Worst-case scenario: pets became ill from their stay.

Whether your pet is going to be staying at a facility, cared for at home by a pet sitter or just watched by a friend, it’s important to ensure your pet is in the best hands possible. Here are some tips on boarding your pet:

Ask friends, family and your veterinarian if they recommend any pet sitter or pet boarding facilities.

Check out all the available options and compare prices to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Keep the quality of service in mind. If employees are happy, friendly and do a good job, that shows the employees care about the work they're doing.

Keep in mind things like cleanliness and ratio of animals to staff.

Find out if all the animals at the boarding facility are required to have their immunizations to ensure the health of your animal stays intact.

Get references and gauge their experience.

Find out what services will be provided and whether they are trained to administer any necessary medications or emergency first aid.

Find out how the facility will keep you updated. Some facilities offer live web cams so you can see your pet in action.

Visit the facilities or interview the sitter. At the facility, check for cleanliness and offensive odors, and note the overall safety.

Ask how your pet may come in contact with other animals. Some kennels let animals play together while others keep them separate.

Inquire about feeding schedule, water accessibility and frequency of – and/or fees related to exercise.

Ask about the hours for drop off and pick up and make sure you understand the billing policy.

Tell the staff about any medical or behavioral problems your pet has.

If you need more information on pet boarding or have any other questions, contact your BBB at or call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301. BBB can provide you with a list of BBB Accredited Businesses in the industry and Business Profiles on ones you’re considering.

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