Boarding your Pet – What to Look For

Dog Boarding
Dog Boarding Does Not Have to Be Traumatic

While more common for pet owners to travel with their pets these days, there will always be times when taking them with you isn’t practical or possible.  When you need to go out of town and your pet needs to stay at home, using a boarding kennel is one of the best ways to ensure your pet is well cared for while you are gone.

A boarding kennel specializes in taking care of the animals entrusted to them while their owners are away.  Boarding your pet not only ensures they receive care, it can also be better for their wellbeing.  Instead of being stressed out and cooped up during a long car ride or plane trip, they will have room to play.  Rather than spending most of their time alone, they will have caregivers to interact and play with.   You won’t have to worry about coming home to a living room full of chewed up shoes, getting a call that your pet has escaped, or find out too late that he was ill and needed medical treatment.

In order to have the peace of mind you need to enjoy your vacation or focus on your work while you are away; you need to take the time to find the right kennel.  Here are some tips to help you find the right boarding kennel for your pet.




  1. Ask Around

Start by asking family members, friends, neighbors, and your veterinarian for recommendations of high quality boarding kennels where they have had positive experiences.  You can also look online and check review sites like Google or Angie’s List to find possible boarding kennels that come highly recommended.

  1. Make a Short List

Once you have a list of potential kennels, do a little more research to figure out if it would be a good fit for you logistically.  This may mean calling the kennel to find out what kind of pets they take, what kind of availability they have, and what their policies are for reservation, payment, animal housing, animal interaction, etc.   Use this information to narrow the list of options down to 2 or 3 that seem to be a good fit for you.

  1. Verify

Find out if your state requires boarding kennels to be licensed or inspected.  If so, make sure the kennels on your short list are properly licensed and up to date on any required inspections.  Call the Better Business Bureau to make sure they don’t have complaints from past clients lodged against them.

  1. Visit
Cat Boarding
Cats Being Boarded with Playmates

Once you feel confident that each of the boarding kennels on your short list would be a good option, call and schedule a visit.  It is important to see the facility and all areas where you pet will be kept during their stay.  Dr. Paul Sedlacek of Animal Clinic of Morris Plains recommends checking to ensure that each facility you visit provides a clean environment that is free of smells and has adequate staffing to care for the animals they board.  Additionally, Dr. Sedlacek suggests asking each kennel the following questions:

  • Do they maintain care sheets which log pet activity? Will they let you see one?
  • Is there someone on premises 24 hours a day?
  • What happens if your pet becomes ill while in their care?

Lastly, Dr. Sedlacek recommends taking the time to observe how the staff handle the animals and listen to how the pets are spoken to so that you can get a feel for how they will treat your pet.  He also advises pet owners to consider boarding at a veterinary facility, especially if your pet has health problems, so that they can receive care onsite if they become unwell while you’re away.

  1. Decide
Board Birding
Birds Can Also Be Boarded

After visiting the boarding kennels on your short list, you should have a good feel for which one provides the kind of care you would expect for your pet.  Once you have selected a kennel, consider signing your pet up for a short stay before any long trips so that they can get used to being away from home, become acclimated to the kennel environment, and understand that when you leave, you are coming back.




Our ACMP Boarding Facilities

One of the services we are proud to offer at our clinic is on site boarding. We offer high quality care while your pet is with us. There are two certified veterinary technicians who live on the premises, and boarding is supervised by our staff of veterinarians. Boarding highlights include:

Pet Boarding
Pet Boarding Facilities at Animal Clinic of Morris Plains

Large climate controlled indoor runs

–          A “Cat’s only Floor” room with condo options

–          Our exotic only room on the 2nd floor of the clinic where they are free from other animal noises

–          Outdoor fenced in area for our dogs to exercise

–          Your choice to send their food, or have us feed them at no extra charge

–          Grooming during their stay can usually be scheduled at the time you schedule your boarding reservation

–          Medical Boarding is always available for pets with special medications and needs