Deciding which boarding facility to go with is not a snap decision. You should not make this call based solely on what is closest to home. Perhaps you have some friends who know of a place that is good. In any event, we'll go over some things you need to look for. Remember, your pet will be in an unfamiliar environment and attention to their needs will be crucial.
The best thing to do is visit any boarding facility you're considering. Ask for a quick tour and keep your eyes open. Observe how the pets are treated, check the cleanliness, and in general get a feel for how well the pets and the facility are maintained. Are the floors nasty? Is there a bad odor over and above what you'd expect?
Some veterinarians offer a pet boarding facility as part of their practice. One thing may come as a surprise to you, however. A veterinary hospital might be a less than ideal choice for boarding your pet, unless they have a dedicated staff and facility just for performing this service.
Consider this from your pet's perspective. If you were a cat or dog, how would you feel hanging out in a human hospital for a few days? Hospitals are what they are. They are places for sick and recovering pets. Your pet is probably will not have much fun staying in a veterinary hospital while you are away, nor are they likely to get the care and exercise they need.
Most vet clinics are ill equipped to provide boarding services. The staff in those facilities is typically going to spend most of their time taking care of sick pets, and those awaiting or going through surgery. It is a pretty good bet, if your pet is boarding at such a facility, he will be cared for only after all the pet "patients" have been taken care of.
As you go about evaluating animal boarding facilities, take a look at the routine they follow when allowing the pets outdoors to exercise and run around. The pets should be supervised by a human at all times. Look at the quality and construction of the fencing to make sure it is secure and doesn't have obvious holes or other damage that a pet could take advantage of and escape.
If you are thinking of boarding a cat at a place that also keeps dogs, make sure these two are kept apart. Each one stresses the other, and it is not a good environment for either. Make sure to find out how often any pet you leave will be fed, exercised, and attended to. There should be a routine or schedule of these activities.
One last thing to consider when visiting and evaluating a pet boarding facility - watch the staff and see how they interact with the animals. To do this job well, one must love animals and have a tremendous amount of patience with them. Not everyone is gifted with this ability. If the people working directly with the pets are impatient and unfriendly with them while you're there, think of how they must act when you leave.
Take enough time to visit different places and evaluate your options. Pick the one you feel will best serve your pet's needs while you are away.