DENVER -- 'Tis the season for holiday travel. You plan for your flight, transportation and parking but animal experts say if you're boarding a pet in a facility those arrangements should be first on the list.
These days you can place your pet in a basic kennel or a luxurious resort like Paradise 4 Paws, which is located right next to Denver International Airport and even has a pet massage room, swimming pool and schedule of fun activities (along with convenient airport parking for a fee for humans).
Regardless of where your pet stays, you won't get through the front door without proper health records showing they've been properly vaccinated.
Paradise 4 Paws General Manager Gina Shlopak says a negative fecal exam is also required, "The health of our pets is the utmost priority (vaccinations) keep diseases from being transmitted from pet to pet."
Noted veterinarian Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald of VCA Alameda East Animal Hospital tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers many pet owners wait until the last minute to get their pet's documentation in order, "they call me an hour before they get on the airplane."
He emphasizes that many vaccines don't provide instant protection to animals "upper respiratory things, just like upper respiratory diseases in people, are very contagious."
Dr. Fitzgerald advises that pet parents book a vet visit weeks before they plan on leaving town, "let’s talk to the vet a month before we travel and get up to date on vaccines to do what we need to keep them safe."
Shlopak tells FOX31 Paradise 4 Paws gets booked up for the holidays as early as August, so it's a good idea to make reservations early, but there is a waiting list available.
She says other preparations include bringing things your pet is familiar with like blankets, toys, treats and even a shirt that smells just like "you." Even if you are leaving your pet with a friend always leave emergency contact information.