Dog-Gone Travel

As I get ready to board my 4-year-old basset hound for the second time in a month, thoughts of his health and safety are top of mind. Especially since he’s had some recurring health issues since his last boarding, I have some concerns about leaving him again.

But… ‘tis the season for graduations and weddings. So, off we go. I tell myself to be as prepared as possible, and then just enjoy our time away.

It can be hard to leave your pet in someone else’s hands, however. Have you ever wondered how to find a reliable pet boarding facility near you? Of course, word of mouth is an excellent source of referrals if you’ve got a network of fellow pet owners.

If you’re new to an area, new to pet ownership, or just want a place to start, the International Boarding & Pet Services Association (IBPSA) recommends some questions to ask. Such as:

As you tour the facility, is it clean, sanitary, and secure?
Does the facility have a fire abatement program? And if so, how often is it checked?
Does the facility have someone on-site at all times?
Do they monitor how much your pet eats and if your pet’s eliminations are normal?
If housed in a crate, how often are the dogs let out for exercise and elimination?
If your pet requires medication during its stay, how will those be administered?

For the full list of questions, click here.

For those who like to travel with their pets, there are resources to help you do that more easily. Bring Fido, a website providing travel information related to dogs, lists everything from pet-friendly accommodations and restaurants to parks, beaches, boarding, and other services around the world.

For country regulations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture website offers a country drop-down list providing specifics about bringing your pet to more than 120 countries.

Air Animal and IPATA (International Pet and Animal Transportation Organization) are other excellent resources.

Coming back closer to my home: Pet grooming and boarding is a $7 billion industry in the United States. Given what we are spending just on dog boarding for these two trips, it’s not hard to believe. But trust in our beloved pet’s welfare is worth every penny.

Written by Ellen Harris, GMS – International Product Director, Living Abroad