Alternative care for your adorable pet is stressful on many levels, but it helps to think ahead!

It happens, you have to leave town! You have to be away on business, a family emergency, or even on vacation. You may be gone for a day, a week or two, or maybe even longer, so now comes the big question. Who will care for your kitty, dog, or other pet when you are away?

Your pet is an important part of your family and you want to make sure that they are safe while you are away from them. You also want to make sure they are as happy and content as possible. So take your time choosing a suitable place that will work for you and for them for the length of time you are away.

It may not be convenient to have a pet sitter. You also might not want someone in your home, or to have your pet in someone else’s home while you are away. If you are leaning towards a kennel stay, check it out first.

What to Consider when Choosing a Kennel

It is important to check out your kennel choices before deciding on one. Anyone can make their place look like a five-star resort in print ads and on websites. But “seeing is believing,” so don’t let that opportunity slip away!

corgi lying inside an open crate
Image Credit: Jus_Ol, Shutterstock

When you’ve made some selections, make an appointment to speak with the director of each potential facility and take a tour. Think of it this way, you are interviewing potential overnight care for a family member. While you are visiting, here are some things to evaluate:

Overall look of the place

  • During your tour, pay particular attention to the smells and the look of the area..
  • Is there a pervasive smell of urine or feces or does it smell clean?
  • Is everything neat and tidy or are there items blocking your passage, creating sort of an obstacle course?
  • Peek through available windows into animal areas if the facility doesn’t allow you to walk through.


  • Are pet supervised at all times?
  • Is the staff neat, tidy and professional at all times?
  • Are they trained in dealing with different breeds as well as grooming, play time and feeding?

What are their policies?

  • Does the facility require that all pets be immunized before their stay?
  • Is there a vet on site in case of medical problems?
  • Is there staff to handle special dietary concerns?
  • How do they deal with disciplinary issues?
  • Ask about administering meds if your pet is on a treatment plan.
brown dog lying in metal crate kennel
Image Credit: Ayla Verschueren, Unsplash


  • What are the particular selling points of this kennel? Some provide different options for bedding for pets as well as sleeping quarters.
  • Does your pet have access to outdoor time, good ventilation and lighting in their rooms?
  • Is there staff to handle special dietary concerns?
  • Ask about additional services that you might want to use and the cost.

Once you’ve narrowed down the list, try a dry run with your favorite boarding facility. Have your pet come and stay for a few hours to see how they get along with the staff and the other animals. Choose a place that you feel comfortable with and where you’re cat, dog or other pet is happy!

What are some tips you have to share on alternative care for your pet when you are away? Sign up on Pet Talk to share your stories and join in conversations about them… or any other animals!

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Clarice Brough is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

Featured Image Credit: Jagodka, Shutterstock