Though it’s never easy to leave your dog behind, sometimes it’s the best decision for them. If you take the time to do a little research, you can find a high quality boarding facility that you can feel confident about.

Start by asking your AAHA-accredited veterinarian if they have a boarding facility they recommend, or if they have a boarding facility at the hospital itself. Ask your family, friends, and neighbors where they’ve boarded their pets and whether they were satisfied. You can get specific information, such as whether their pets ever came back ill after boarding and whether the kennel staff was available for questions.

Once you have chosen a few kennels you would like to try, go on a tour . If they don’t allow you to see their facilities, be wary: you may not want to leave your pet in a situation you can’t see for yourself. When you take the tour, take note of the employees. Are there enough of them to care for the animals? Do they seem nice? You can also check whether floors, walls, and cages are clean, there seems to be good air circulation, the temperature seems comfortable, and animals have reasonable access to food and water.

One thing you don’t have to worry too much about is the noise level. The dogs may seem loud when you tour, but they tend to get excited and make a lot of noise when people walk through. They usually stay quiet the other 80 percent of the time.

Remember that the most important thing for your pet will be the attention he receives. You can ask a few important questions before you finish your tour: how much time do the animals spend confined every day, how often are they walked or played with, how often are they fed, and are they walked or played with individually or in a group? You can also ask whether the kennel offers any additional perks. Some boarders offer live web cams that you can watch via your phone or computer.

Other kennels offer additional walks, playtime, and extra attention to pets for an additional charge. No matter which boarding facility you choose, if it’s a place where you feel comfortable and confident leaving your furriest family member, your pet will most likely do fine.