Boarding FAQ

We get a lot of questions when pets return home after staying with us, whether it be after boarding, daycare, or even surgery. We have decided to write a few of these changes down so you can know what to expect (or at least not be alarmed by). Here are a few of the comments/questions we get…

What time do I need to drop off my pet?

You are welcome to bring in your pet anytime during our business hours, but you will need to be here at least 30 minutes before closing. We will need to get detailed care instructions from you when you drop your pet off, and pets adjust to boarding more easily if they can spend more time with our staff on the day of admission. Even if the pet has stayed with us before, they will have to adjust to being in a different environment, so we recommend coming in earlier rather than later in the day.

Can I bring toys or my pet's regular bed from home?

You may bring any personal items that you wish for your pet to have during their stay with us. Often pets are more comfortable, especially if they have never been boarded before if they have something that smells like home. We do ask that you not bring any items that are irreplaceable, as items are sometimes chewed or destroyed. We use bleach to sanitize our laundry so items may become discolored if we have to wash them. Please note that personal items may be removed if they are chewed to prevent your pet from choking on or ingesting them. We have plenty of bedding, bowls, and toys in the play areas for your pets to enjoy during their stay with us if you choose to not bring anything from home.

What kind of medications can you administer?

We will administer oral, topical, and injectable medications as close as possible to your pet's regular schedule and there is no additional fee for this service. We encourage you to bring any medications that are not given regularly and only as needed so we can make sure that your pet is as comfortable as possible during their stay with us. We strongly recommend that all pets be on a veterinarian-approved flea prevention medication, and have topical products available if you would like for us to apply one to your pet upon admission.

Do I need to bring my pet's food?

We encourage you to bring your pet's regular food if they are on a special diet or if they prefer wet food. We would prefer that all food and treats be in a sealed container or resealable plastic bag. We can store food that requires refrigeration and can also heat food if necessary. If you do not bring your pet's regular food, we feed dogs Royal Canin GI Low Fat, which is a dry food formulated to be gentle on the digestive tract, and cats are given dry Purina ProPlan Chicken and Rice Formula.

How often will my pet be let out?

Dogs are let outside at least four times during the day and have playtime with one of our staff members at least once daily. Playtime activities vary according to what the dog enjoys doing. We can play ball, brush your dog, or just have an extended petting session. Cats are let out individually during the day in the enclosed cat room to exercise, play, or just lounge by the window. The length of time that cats are out varies depending on how many cats are boarding. Typically, playtime for cats is approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour each day.

What vaccinations does my pet need?

We require dogs to have current Rabies, Distemper, and Bordetella vaccinations, and cats must have current Rabies and Feline Distemper vaccinations. Exotic pet vaccination requirements vary by species; please give us a call for specific requirements. We recommend that vaccinations be updated at least a week before your visit, as some required vaccinations are not fully effective until 2-5 days after administration.

We do not administer vaccinations at Four Paws Inn. We require documentation from a veterinarian that vaccinations are current; a Rabies tag is not acceptable proof that the pet has been vaccinated. You may bring your pet's vaccination records with you, or have your veterinarian fax vaccinations to us at 252-329-7295 or email them to If you have any questions about our vaccination requirements, please give us a call. If you'd like to schedule your pet's vaccinations now, please visit one of our full veterinary clinic locations: Animal Hospital of Pitt CountyFiretower Animal Clinic, and Tenth Street Animal Hospital.

“Oscar is acting like he is starving! Did Oscar get fed while he was there?”

Of course!! Oscar was fed the food that his owner brought when he was dropped off, or if his pet owner didn’t drop of his food, Oscar was fed high quality prescription Royal Canin Low Fat Gastrointestinal dry food. Occasionally, pets do not eat as much while they board, so it is “normal” for them to play catch up once they return to their homes.

At daycare, (unless it is a puppy), pets are not fed lunch. Just like my 3-year old son when he gets home from school, they have usually built up a huge appetite playing all day!

Of course, it goes without saying that after a surgery/dental, pets are hungry because they were fasted the morning of the procedure!

"Bailey drank a whole bowl of water when she got home... was she allowed to drink water while she was there?"

All pets have access to water during their stay. That being said, when they are here just for the day, such as for daycare or grooming/bath, they are given water when they are walked. This is to prevent them from splashing and turning over water bowls in the cages (and getting dirty). It is also normal for pets to feel more comfortable drinking water when they return home.

"Fido was really tired and slept the entire evening after I brought him home. He seemed worn out!"

Chances are, Fido is worn out! If we did our job, Fido had lots of play time and exercise while boarding or in daycare. There is so much activity in our hospital that Fido is likely over stimulated and excited. Because of this, his sleeping pattern changes in the time he was here with us. He just needs to catch up on his zzzzz’s!! Typically after a good night’s sleep, Fido feels like playing within the next 24 hours. I usually feel like sleeping a lot when I come home from vacation as well!

“Maggie’s stool is loose. Has she been having diarrhea while she was there??”

First of all, if Maggie was having diarrhea, the staff would have contacted you.

Secondly, pets often experience excitement when returning home. Plus, they are often rewarded with treats/chews upon arriving home. So this “excitement” leads to colitis, a common cause of loose or watery stool. Some pet owners expect it and we arrange to send home medication to prevent diarrhea.

We take every precaution at Four Paws Inn to prevent viruses and parasites from being passed along. Stalls/runs and cages are sterilized with Parvosol and dilute bleach solution. We require dogs to be checked every 6 months for parasites. This is the reason: some of the parasites we see are easily spread between dogs (Coccidia and Giardia) and are not prevented by monthly heartworm preventatives. We have staff that clean/scoop fecal material as soon as it hits the ground. See the previous blog about our resort team and the great job they do!

So, to recap, loose stool/diarrhea is common but please let us know if it continues for more than 24 hours.

Our goal and hope is that your pet returns home happy and healthy! Of course, there is always a chance your pet may get sick while at our inn, but we do everything we can to prevent it. We aim to have smiles and wags all around!

Schedule an Appointment

Request Appointment (252) 329-7297