Summer vacation is just around the corner so if your not planning on bringing your dog with you, now's the time to make those important boarding arrangements. If you're like me, you always feel a little guilty when leaving your furry best friend behind so assauge your conscience by doing a little advance planning to get her the best accommodation possible. Whether it be an upscale dog hotel or a more budget-conscious facility, there are a number of things you should consider before dropping Fido off in someone else's care. Here are some of my recommendations:

– Think about your dogs needs before beginning your search for a boarding facility. If your dog isn't well socialized he likely won't enjoy his stay. Consider instead an in-home service such as or If your dog is an activity freak, make sure the facility you choose has an adequate exercise regime in place as well as space to run off that excess energy. Some boarding facilities provide lengthy nature walks, but expect to pay extra for this feature.

– Don't rush, always visit the boarding facility well in advance of your trip, making sure you get a tour of the sleeping, exercise and feeding areas, as well as a chance to meet and chat with the staff. Doing this will give you ample time to choose an alternate facility should it look disorganized, unclean or otherwise poorly managed.

– Ask for references or customer testimonials.

– If you feel uncomfortable about any aspect of the boarding facility, trust your instincts and look elsewhere. 

– Once you're satisfied with the facility you've chosen, be prepared to complete paperwork outlining your dog's history, veterinarian, your contact info, emergency contact, as well as the policy to follow should your dog require immediate veterinary attention while in their care. You will also need to prove your dog has up-to-date vaccinations. Avoid last-minute frustrations and get this done well in advance of your trip.

– The best boarding facilities are always the first to fill up so if you've left it too late and are not willing to settle, make your reservations for next year or consider either bringing Fido along or staying home. 

 –   Here's my dog Kaya having her own vacation at the Rex Dog Hotel in Vancouver: