Skip to main content

Do boarding facilities take pets that aren’t cats or dogs? What you need to know

Owning a pet — even a small one — means taking on big responsibilities, but it doesn’t have to mean the death of your vacations. There are a few options to consider when it comes to planning out your pet’s care during your travel. You can take him with you, get a sitter, or look into boarding facilities for small pets. Don’t eliminate boarding as an option before you do some research. Lots of facilities take other animals besides puppies and kitties. But that doesn’t mean you can send him to just any old place. You should investigate a bit before committing to a boarder.

Two ferrets look out of a carrying case
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How long can I leave my animal?

Many pet owners specifically choose small pets because they don’t require the daily walks or hours of playtime that their larger counterparts need. That doesn’t mean they can live without you, though. While a few pets, such as those in some well-equipped aquariums, might get by for a few days alone, your rodent, bunny, bird, or reptile needs at least some daily care. Make sure you have someone who takes care of feeding, tidying, and attention every day while you are gone. Also, some pets will regress if they spend too much time without being touched, so you’ll want someone filling in for you on that front, too.

Where do I find a boarder?

It can be tricky to locate a boarding facility that will accept a small pet. Peruse websites first, but a call to your vet may be in order. In fact, some vet clinics have a boarding facility on-site or have partnered with one. This can save you some of the research since your vet has already looked into them (though still do your own check).

Rabbit in traveling case outdoors
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What should I look for in a facility?

Finding a place might help you breathe a sigh of relief, but don’t stop there. A good boarding spot will have a vet on call, for starters. Your pet needs to relax and adjust to the place as well. Some spots keep different species in the same room, which can stress pets like rabbits and hamsters. You don’t want him staying up all night because of barking dogs. Lastly, find out what the exercise regimen entails. While he probably won’t get quite as much attention and free time as he does at home, you don’t want him stuck in the cage for seven days.

Girl sits beside hamster in cage
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How can I prepare him for the stay?

For big pets, you mostly walk in and transfer them to a crate or pen, but it works differently with a smaller animal. You will need to bring most little pets in a cage. Check on the space requirements and use a travel cage if need be. Bring all toys, food, meds, and extra substrate that he might want during his trip. Adjust your pet’s feeding and grooming schedules to match the boarder’s a few days or a week in advance since that will ease the transition. Lastly, get up to date on all shots and check vaccination requirements when you book.

Are there other options besides boarding?

Yes, and they might work best for you and your pet. Especially if your animal is sensitive and prone to catching something, you might avoid the boarder at all costs. The travel can stress him out, even if it’s just a quick jaunt across town. If possible, get a pet sitter to come over at least once per day to feed, spot-clean, check water or air temperature, and give him a few pats if he’s so inclined. Owners choose this option because it keeps the animal happiest since he doesn’t have to go anywhere and will barely notice your extended absence.

Leaving your pet alone for a while might worry you, but taking the proper precautions should ease your nerves. Remember, breaking your animal’s routine will almost always cause a little stress, and there could be a reintegration period where your pet needs a minute to get used to you when you get back. But these animals also often have short memories, and you’ll be besties again in no time. Give him a bit of extra attention upon return to make up for any missed time. You can also set up (or relocate) pet cams in the area to check in remotely. That may give you peace of mind so you can fully enjoy your vacation.

Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
What you need to know about your cat’s swollen lip – what causes it and how to help it heal
These are the most likely causes and best treatment options for your cat's swollen lip
Woman petting cat

Your sweet furry friend is a wealth of enjoyment and entertainment — from funny sleeping positions to those precious purrs. Cat behavior can be somewhat of a mystery for even the most dedicated kitty lovers, though, and those feline feelings can lead to physical manifestations that puzzle us.

If you've ever looked at your cat and noticed a swelling on the upper or lower lip, here's what you need to know: This common occurrence isn't something to worry about, but it isn't something to ignore, either. While your vet checks your cat's health, you can read up on this confusing condition. Here's what causes a cat's swollen lip.

Read more
Best guard dogs: These 7 breeds will protect you with their life
These dog breeds are some of the best personal guards you'll find
An Akita sitting on the bed

Most dogs are loyal and loving animals. That’s why we know them as humans’ best friends. They’d do anything for us. For some dogs, “anything” means protecting us with their lives. And these breeds make the best guard dogs. For many of them, it’s instinctual. They’ve evolved to protect the family they love. You’ll notice these pups keeping a watchful eye on your property. They may bark to alert you when your company arrives or the mail gets delivered.
Remember, guard animals mean well. They aren’t trying to be vicious, but instead, they want to keep you and your home safe and sound. Some prospective pet parents want this quality in a dog. If that’s you, consider these breeds that make the best guard dogs.

What is the easiest guard dog to train?
There's a whole group of beasties that are often referred to as the guardian breeds — many of them make this list. Those animals with a predisposition toward defending and alerting will likely also learn their duties quickly. However, you'll also need a pup who has been properly socialized. Remember, you only want your guard to go into protection mode when there's a serious threat, not every time the mailman stops by.

Read more
This is how long you can expect your new pet rabbit to live
Follow these tips to help your rabbit live a long and healthy life
Multicolored rabbit on carpet

Rabbits are pleasant house pets — a delight to care for when you know how to keep them happy and healthy. Like other beloved animals, a pet rabbit’s life expectancy depends on their breed, diet, and living conditions. What is a pet rabbit's lifespan? Let’s dig a little deeper and answer some important questions, such as how long your adorable pet rabbit lives and how to extend their years.

How long do rabbits live?
Here’s a fun fact: The oldest rabbit that ever lived was 18 years old! By contrast, wild rabbits only live up to about three years, since many die very young. But there's good news. In the absence of predators, pet rabbits have a life expectancy of eight to 12 years. Like dogs, larger breeds tend to have a shorter lifespan while smaller rabbits often live at least 10 years.

Read more