DENVER — Along with getting time off work, booking travel and finding the perfect gift, pet owners can add dog boarding accommodations onto their list of holiday headaches this year.
Several pet hotels around the Denver area are already filling up for the holidays as people head out of town.
Sarah Bingham is one of many pet owners who is already struggling to find a place for her two pups. Bingham and her girlfriend are getting ready to head home for the holidays. They were able to get time off of work and arrange their travel, but when they called their normal pet hotel, they found out it was completely booked.
“It kind of makes me nervous more than anything I think because I went ahead and booked my plane ticket not really anticipating any issues. So, now I have my plane ticket and no place to put my dogs,” she said.
The couple is now scrambling to find another facility to house her pet, and Bingham isn’t alone. Shanna Bowden has also been looking for a facility to house her pup during Christmas but was turned down at first.
“We don’t have family here they can just pop over and watch our pets. It’s kind of like if we don’t have a board and they’re not able to take care of the dogs, then we just don’t go on the trip,” Bowden said.
She’s been boarding with the same facility since 2014 and says she normally tries to make arrangements pretty early for vacations. Now, she’s going to have to start calling even further in advance.
“We’ve had a lot more dogs than we had in the last couple of years. Last year, because of the pandemic, of course, people were staying home. But this year, we were already full on our boarding schedule over a week ago,” said Kimberly Rubio, the general manager of Dog-topia on Lincoln.
The daycare and boarding facility in downtown Denver filled up for the Thanksgiving holiday and had people calling from as far away as Fort Collins. Already, the facility is almost completely booked for the week of Christmas, and it’s filling up quickly for New Year’s.
“It’s hard for me because I understand they need a place to put their dogs,” Rubio said.
Down the street at Bark! Denver, general manager Scott Corbridge is experiencing a similar story. The boarding facility and daycare has been booked through the holidays for months and says pet parents are now booking into February.
“The big thing is people are traveling now, and that’s one thing they weren’t able to do last year,” Corbridge said.
He partially attributes the increase in demand to more people traveling but also the increase in pet adoptions over the course of the pandemic.
He is advising pet parents to start making phone calls now to book boarding for the holidays and advises people to be ready to call around to several different facilities.
Because so many facilities are filling up, dog owners might need to drive a little further to have their pups boarded. Some facilities also require a meet-and-greet with the pet to see its temperament before agreeing to board them.
“When it comes to the holidays, definitely the further out the better because it’s going to save you in the long run,” Corbridge said.
As for Bingham, she will keep looking for a facility to board her dog, hoping this booking headache won’t keep her home for the holidays.