Owners of area pet boarding schools suggest families research pet accommodations before going out of town.

According to Kelli Coleman, owner of K-9 Kingdom in Richmond Heights, and Howard Perlmutter, president and CEO of The Barkley Pet Hotel & Day Spa in Orange, families should consider boarding options because it’s best for the pet.

“You can’t leave your pet home alone, so families have to find somewhere to take their pet,” Coleman said. “If they don’t have family and friends, boarding is the next best thing. And, they should put their pets somewhere they feel safe, somewhere secure and somewhere they are comfortable with leaving their pet.”

Perlmutter said, “Pets have become part of the family and it’s not like it used to be when the family would go out of town and they had to figure out what to do with their pet. They want to give their pet an experience while they are also out having an experience.”

Selecting the right boarding facility for one’s pet depends on the pet’s needs as well as what the family wants.

“Because their pets are important to them, they deserve quality care when they can’t be with their family,” Perlmutter said. “As far as a boarding facility or pet hotel, there are different strokes for different folks. When you find a reputable facility, they can provide a lot of home-like amenities.”

At the Barkley, staff watch the pets 24/7. This includes 24-hour veterinary transportation and webcam security and surveillance. Pets also have access to a 3-acre campus with grass and turf. K-9 Kingdom prides itself in being a kennel-free facility. Pets are able to roam free, adding to a more home-like stay.

Both professionals said families should consider certain aspects of a facility before committing.

“When families go into a facility, they want to make sure it is clean,” Coleman said. “That is No. 1. You also want to make sure it’s staffed, that there are always people within the facility with their pets. And that those people care about the animals and taken are of them.”

Perlmutter said, “The first and more important thing is choosing a facility that has staff on site for 24 hours a day. If you’re not manned around the clock, especially at night, you’re not paying attention to a pet in their biggest time of need. Second, if you’re choosing a boarding facility, you should understand the pricing model and see what you’re actually getting. You need to do comparisons.”

Perlmutter also suggested families meet a facility’s staff before committing.

Both professionals said boarding options have become so popular due to many owners seeing their pets as members of the family.

“Over the past 15 to 20 years, we’ve humanized our animals and they’ve become such a large part of our family,” Perlmutter said. “Pets become family members and we treat them as we would our children. They deserve a quality place. There has been a definite cultural shift to humanize our pets and make them part of the family.”

Coleman said, “For people who don’t have children, their pets are their children. And people who do have children, they consider their pets as integral members of their family.”

But the most important part of pet boarding is finding a facility one is comfortable with.

“They need to feel 100 percent comfortable with whom they decide to leave their pet with,” Coleman said. “Do your homework. You need to make sure it’s a place you feel comfortable leaving your pet. You shop for children’s daycare and that’s how my pet clients look at it.”

Perlmutter said, “Pets are individuals and they have different wants and needs. Families know their pets best and what they are looking for and what they want to get out of it. They need to feel the facility they have chosen is the most trusted facility in their mind.”

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