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'Tis the Season

Thanksgiving and Halloween are now behind us and as much as we don’t want to think about it, the new holiday season will soon be upon us – yes Christmas – and it will be here before we know it.

So now is the time to start making our plans for dinners and get-togethers with family and friends. There will be gifts to buy and wrap or possibly a trip or delayed vacation to a warmer climate. You may have already started your shopping list, but the first and foremost thing on your “to do” list is to make arrangements for your beloved four legged friends.

If you have done your homework, you have already checked out places or family and friends where you can have your pets stay while you are away. If you are entertaining and do not want to have to look after your furry friend at the same time, you should not waste any more time in making these plans.

If you don’t regularly board your pets, take them for day care on a fairly regular basis, and don’t have a family member or good friend to look after him or her while you are busy or away, then you need to start looking as soon as possible. Boarding facilities, either a kennel or a doggy hotel, or even a local person who takes pets into their own home book up very early for the holiday season and some may already be fully booked.

Before jumping the gun and trying to book your four legged friend into a facility for a day, week or an extended period of time, it’s important that you check around to see what is available, what the rates are and what they cover. Some facilities may charge a flat daily fee for the day, but may charge you extra for taking your pup for a walk or having him engage in activities with other pups at the facility.

If your pup is young and playful and well socialized, he would probably be happier if he had the opportunity of having some group playtime or, at the very least, an area where he could run and burn off some energy. If your pup is older and not as playful any more, you may just want to opt for an afternoon walk. If your dog is not well socialized or may be unpredictable with other dogs, you may want to explore other avenues.

You should also know who is or isn’t a good boarding facility. The best guideline is to talk to your friends, relatives or neighbours and ask for recommendations in case they have anything negative to say about a particular place where they have left their pets in the past. Your vet may also be able to recommend a boarding facility.

If you are considering using a local person who boards pets out of their residence, the risk is not as high as there are usually a smaller number of pets being taken care of at any one time. The majority of these people are usually very careful about the pets they bring into their homes. They make sure that the pups are properly vaccinated and free of any type of disease which could possibly be transmitted to another pup in their care.

In any event, unless your pup is going to be confined to a crate with no interaction with any other dogs, you should still ensure that your pet is properly vaccinated and has been treated for all types of diseases including fleas and ticks. You should also provide the caregiver with the name and number of your pet’s vet and give them written permission to take your pet for any required medications or professional care if required.

If you plan on being away over the holiday season or need to board your pup for any reason, please start looking before it’s too late. You should also be prepared to pay a premium rate, especially on Christmas Day and don’t just settle on the first one you check into, or the cheapest. Your pet is part of your family and should be treated as such.

So get busy on your “to do” list sooner rather than later. Remember that the holiday season has a way to sneak up on us!!

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