Things to consider when boarding your pet - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Things to consider when boarding your pet

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DECATUR, Ga. -

When we travel during the holiday season to visit family and friends, sometimes we have to leave a loved one behind -- the family pet.

Every day Holly Lariscy drops off her lab, Emma, to the people at Wag-A-Lot in Decatur for doggie day care. But with the holidays approaching, and when Lariscy has to leave town, Emma is also boarded at the facility.

"Now that she's 13, she likes to play, then she likes her sleep time and then she likes to play and then she likes her sleep time. She kind of gets both," said Lariscy.

Dr. Elizabeth Busch, a veterinarian with Briarcliff Animal Clinic, says pets shouldn't be left alone during the holidays.

"Sometimes you can leave your young cats at home for a day or two and have food out, but I really discourage people from leaving their pets for a long time by themselves at home," advised Busch.

Wag-A-Lot owner Craig Koch says many people feel that their pets are their children.

"And our staff feels the same way, we treat your dog as if it was our own child or our own dog," said Koch. "There are simply not enough boarding facilities in Atlanta to meet the demand or the increased demand over the holidays, so plan ahead."

He says reputable facilities will require your pet be up to date on all vaccinations. If the facility also offers day care, your pet will often have to pass a temperament test. Wag a Lot offers cameras that allow you to check in on your pet on the web. But for additional peace of mind, keep their surroundings familiar.

"If they have their own dog bed, their own chew toy, their own food, they're going to feel a little bit more like it's home," said Koch.

If you have a young pet, make sure the facility offers plenty of exercise. An older pet may need more company or lap time.

"At the end of the day, regardless of where you choose to go, I always say it's got to be four things. It has to be safe, clean, thoughtful and fun," said Koch.

Because boarding can get a little messy, it may be a good idea to also schedule a grooming appointment for your pet at the end of your vacation.

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