Boarding Pets for the Holidays: Thanksgiving travel sometimes requires pet boardingBoarding Pets for the Holidays: Thanksgiving travel sometimes requires pet boarding

 

So, you're traveling for the holidays, and for whatever reason you can't take your pets along; what to do? Many people are wary of boarding their animals, and often times those concerns are completely legitimate. The questions of what they will experience, how they will be treated, what is supplied and will they be properly exercised or get any playtime in are all fair queries to ask.

Well, as the pet care industry has grown by billions of dollars, there are plenty of first-rate facilities cropping up specifically for boarding and pampering your pets, and some of them are quite reputable. If you're looking for places to entrust your pet or pets to this holiday season, you might want to consider all-inclusive pet boarding options that take a majority of the worry out of the decision.

 

Pet Boarding for the Holidays: Christmas is a busy time of year for boarding facilitiesPet Boarding for the Holidays: Christmas is a busy time of year for boarding facilities

 

PetSmart

PetSmart began pet boarding services for pet daycare sometime ago, but not that many people are aware that they now provide overnight pet boarding at what they're calling the PetSmart Pets Hotel. Not only do they claim to offer "all the comforts of home," but this holiday season the well-known purveyor of pet goods is offering all-inclusive packages for keeping your "kids" in a safe environment while wallowing in the lap of luxury.

The program accepts dogs and cats and features a variety of options for animals with specific needs. For instance, individual care during the day is available for animals in a separate atrium away from other pets and distractions for older animals that prefer to be alone. This feature also applies to puppies not quite old enough yet to safely play with other dogs, if you prefer it. Daycare for dogs includes up to 30 minutes of supervised group playtime — again, if you desire.

 

Boarding Pets of Various Ages & Sizes: Older dogs & puppies require different careBoarding Pets of Various Ages & Sizes: Older dogs & puppies require different care

 

All-Inclusive Pet Boarding Packages

Their all-inclusive boarding packages for dogs include guest rooms or a private suite with lambskin pillows and in-room entertainment, a full day of what they call Doggie Day Camp, healthy treats, 24/7 supervision by safety-certified associates and access to medical attention by board certified veterinarians, should the need arise. If you really want your pet to live it up, PetsMart Pets Hotels also offer grooming services to complete the spa-like experience.

If obedience is an issue, they even have training programs available for improving command skills or learning a few new tricks while you're away. Cats are boarded in what's termed "custom kitty condos" during their stay, and they all look safe and pleasantly inviting. While rooms and condos for pets are fairly minimalistic in appearance (for the sake of sterility or cleanliness), they're by no means Spartan and are sanitized regularly.

 

Pet Boarding for the Holidays: Grooming options for dogs & cats are availablePet Boarding for the Holidays: Grooming options for dogs & cats are available

 

Pet Care

If you're inclined to want to give the Pets Hotel a try but you're worried because your pet requires a special diet or medication, the facility is more than happy to accommodate you and your pet. The need for pet medications is the main reason a lot of pet parents choose to board their pets at a veterinarian's office when they go away. Kennels like those may give some folks added peace of mind due to their proximity to a familiar vet, but they're not under a large parent company with a strict governing board which insists that consistent guidelines be met.

There are probably far more acceptable vet kennels than not, but there are also plenty of horror stories to the contrary. This is a judgment call on your part. Only you know your veterinarian well enough to make that decision. If your vet doesn't offer boarding services but you'd still prefer to leave your dog or cat with a kennel operated by one, ask him or her for recommendations.

 

Boarding Cats: Finding desirable boarding facilities for cats can be challengingBoarding Cats: Finding desirable boarding facilities for cats can be challenging

 

Pet Boarding Requirements

Of course there are some requirements that must be met for boarding your pets at a Pets Hotel, as there should be. First off, proof of current vaccinations is required before boarding your pet at either the Doggie Day Camp or the overnight Pets Hotel. This is to be expected and a requirement of all quality boarding facilities. As a pet owner, you probably wouldn't want it any other way. Your pets also need to be free of fleas and ticks.

For anyone who's ever brought an animal home from a kennel and found them to be infested with these pesky parasites, this is probably just as important to you. Believe it or not, fleas and ticks are a year-round problem. Another requirement for dogs is that before they are able to partake in group play, they must pass a "Pawsitively" safe health and behavior assessment before being granted access to the Doggie Day Camp area. This is for everyone's safety and in the best interest of everyone involved.

 

Boarding Pets: Some kennels can seem more like jails than pet boarding facilitiesBoarding Pets: Some kennels can seem more like jails than pet boarding facilities

 

Pet Perks

Besides top-notch accommodations, access to health care and grooming and training programs, a stay at the Pets Hotel includes being able to keep in touch with your pets via the "Bone Booth," where pets are brought to a phone for a little one-on-one talk time between the two of you. You can't get service like that at your veterinarian's kennel — unless you're related or maybe they owe you a favor. You'll also receive a "Pawgress" report upon your departure, because each guest goes home with a personalized note about their stay that includes feedings, playtime and other activities.

If you request it, they'll also bathe your pet right before you pick them up. Another really nice thing about using these facilities is the convenience of proximity. There are PetsMarts everywhere. Chances are there's one very near your own home, so it's not like hunting down some obscure place nobody's ever heard of miles and miles away.

 

Holiday Pet Boarding: Putting on the Ritz for New Year's EveHoliday Pet Boarding: Putting on the Ritz for New Year's Eve

 

Holiday Boarding Packages

The all-inclusive holiday boarding packages for pets are valid from 11/19/15 through 1/3/16, so it's perfect for trips from Thanksgiving through New Year's. Guests staying in suites will save 15 percent with bundled packages. It's important to note this offer is available at PetSmart PetsHotel or Doggie Day Camp stores only and while occupancy lasts. Just like not every PetSmart has a separate veterinarian or grooming section, not all of them have the hotels and day camps either, but nowadays most of them do.

If you're interested, check out the video below for a better idea of what they have to offer. No matter where you decide to board your pets during the holidays (if you really must), make sure they can offer them a safe, healthy and stress-free environment. Separation is hard enough for most animals, and you want to avoid making it worse, if at all possible.

 

 

 

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