PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – When you travel, you may not always be able to take your pet with you. If you’re faced with the decision of how and where to safely board your pet, there are some things you need to know.

First, do your research. Don’t just blindly choose the first place you find. Conduct a thorough background check to learn of its credentials. The Humane Society of the United States suggests that you see if the prospective kennel belongs to the Pet Care Services Association, which promotes professional standards of pet care, and to also check with the Better Business Bureau.

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Ask qualified and trusted people for recommendations. Find out the reputation of the facility. Consult your veterinarian, friends, family anyone who has firsthand experience to give you the pros and cons. But don’t stop there. Go to the facility yourself.

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Ask to see the entire facility, not just one small area. Show them your interest level is high. Ask questions and take note: Is it clean and sanitary? Is there sufficient exercise provided? Is water always provided? Is there enough space? Is it ventilated well? Is there padding for the larger and older dogs to lay down? Will they get individual attention? Is there someone there at all times? Is there protection from the elements, shade etc.? Is the temperature comfortable? Are the dogs housed too close together? How often will they be fed and let out? Are the cats housed safely with adequate room? Are they prepared in case of a fire? How do they care for older pets and the infirm?

Write your thoughts and questions down before you go. And finally, follow your instinct. If you’re not completely satisfied, keep looking for the right one.

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Reported By Nan Talleno, KYW Newsradio