Holiday Hazards 3: Boarding and Pet Sitters


Are you traveling for the holidays and leaving your pets behind? Make sure you have made the following preparations for your pets to keep them safe, happy and healthy while you are away!

Boarding your pets?

  • Boarding facilities are a great option when owners need to travel. There are a variety of kennel options available in the Greensboro area. Some facilities offer boarding alone, while other facilities are encompassed in a veterinary facility. Did you know Lawndale offers boarding?
  • Boarding kennels typically require a current immunization status. This is meant to protect your pet, as well as the other boarders, from preventable diseases. Be sure to check your pet’s vaccine status before the travel time arrives. With vaccinations, the body takes a few weeks to reach maximum protection after a vaccine is administered.

Canine Vaccines Important for Boarding:

  • Bordetella (Kennel Cough) vaccine
  • Distemper/Adenovirus / Parainfluenza / Parvovirus combination vaccine
  • Rabies vaccine

Feline Vaccines Important for Boarding:

  • Panleukopenia / Rhinotracheitis / Calici / Chlamydia combination vaccine
  • Rabies vaccine
  • Since pets can transmit parasites in the stool, kennels will also often require that fecal checks be current (and shown not to have any intestinal parasites).
  • When boarding your pet, consider what diet they will be eating while boarding. You always have the option of bringing your pet’s regular food along for the stay. Kennel facilities will also offer to feed the ‘in house’ food if you do not bring your pet’s food. At Lawndale, our ‘in house’ food is chosen to minimize the impact of diet change or stress while boarding. However, if your pet has a sensitive stomach, specific chronic health issues being managed with diet, or is on a prescription diet, we highly recommend you bring that diet with you when your pet comes in for boarding.
  • Be sure to notify the kennel of any chronic health problems your pet has – this way they can monitor the pet closely for any problems related to the condition.
  • Some animals become stressed when boarding. We encourage you to discuss this with one of our doctors prior to boarding so that we can formulate a plan that will work best for your pet.
  • Finally, if your pet is on medications, these should be brought with your pet to the boarding facility so that the medications can be continued during the boarding stay.

Getting a Pet Sitter Instead?

  • Many owners will choose pet sitting services instead of boarding kennels. For animals that do not do well boarding due to stress, age, or chronic medical conditions, a pet sitter may be the best option. The above suggestions can certainly apply to animals that are being cared for by a pet sitter.
  • If your pet has never met the pet sitter, consider a greeting time prior to the travel date so your pet is not surprised the first time the pet sitter shows up to care for the animal.
  • Try and have the pet sitter keep a routine for the pet that is similar to what they normally experience. For example, similar feeding and walk times. For cats in particular, making sure the litter box still gets scooped regularly can prevent inappropriate urination accidents in the house during your absence!
  • Another important consideration when obtaining a pet sitter is to have an emergency plan in place. If your pet becomes ill and needs to visit a veterinarian, it is helpful for your pet sitter to know which clinic you use regularly. Consider leaving a note that expresses what level of treatment you would want the clinic to pursue if you are not able to be reached by phone when an event occurs. Additionally, indicate whether or not you would give permission to your pet sitter to make level of care decisions in your absence.
  • Not sure where to find a pet sitter? Talk with our staff for some local recommendations!

Happy and safe holiday travels!

Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS