Pet ownership in the U.S. has tripled since the 1970s, with recent research indicating more than 62 percent of American households include at least one pet. As the economy improves and more families elect to travel, pet owners are left to decide what to do with their precious fur babies while away from home.

Of course, it’s not impossible to travel with your pets. Pet carriers and travel crates have made road trips significantly easier for dog and cat owners. A number of hotels are now pet-friendly as well, alleviating the hassle of finding a place to stay with your four-legged friends. Most airlines now have the ability to transport small animals as well.

For many, traveling with pets still may not be a feasible option. In such instances, it’s important you find qualified and experienced care for your fur babies. Depending on the area in which you live, the cost of hiring someone to watch your home and pets may be significantly cheaper than the alternatives. If the dog sitter stays home with your pets, you avoid putting your dog or cat at risk of contracting viral infections and other illnesses, such as Kennel Cough, for example.

Dog Resting In Suitcase

Have you considered boarding your pet? While boarding your pet at a trusted veterinary clinic may provide significant cost savings, pet resorts have become a convenient and trendy alternative as well. In addition to all scheduled feedings, pet hotels offer a variety of additional programs for your pooch. Doggy day care typically includes obstacle courses, canine companionship and one-on-one time with staff. At many facilities, grooming services are often offered as well.

We’ve compiled a few tips to consider before boarding your pet:

  • Update Vaccines and Medical Records

All annual vaccines and medical data should be up to date before you even consider boarding. Keep all medical information and vet records in a portable file that you can bring with you to the facility. Also, be sure your emergency contact information is up to date on the facility’s side as well.

  • Research. Research. Research.

The Internet provides a wealth of resources for pet owners. To make the best decision for your pet, be sure to research all facilities in your area. Consider the cost, experience of staff, quality of facilities and reviews from other pet owners in your analysis.

  • Don’t Separate Your Babies

If you have multiple pets, it may be best to keep them together while you’re away. Many facilities offer discounts for more than one dog, and most rooms in pet hotels can easily accommodate two dogs.

  • Request a Tour

Don’t hesitate to request a tour before you book. Be sure to explore the living conditions and quality of life of the other animals in the facility. Are water bowls full? Do the living quarters look sanitary? If the answer is no to either of these questions, it’s best to look elsewhere.

  • Be a Helicopter Mom (or Dad!)

It’s 100% acceptable to call the facility on a daily basis to check in on your beloved pooch. If your pup is staying in a pet hotel, ask the staff if he or she is behaving. It’s not uncommon that appetites may fluctuate slightly, but you will also want to be sure your dog is eating a healthy amount of food.

Have you had success with boarding or pet hotels? Do you prefer to travel with your pet instead? We’d love to hear from you! Share your experiences in the comment section below. Woof!