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Find the perfect kennel for your pet
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Q. I will be traveling this summer, but I need to leave our two dogs behind in a kennel. Do you have any general advice about choosing a place or what vaccines may be required?

-S. C., via Internet

First, ask around: Word of mouth is still the best endorsement. Also, go online to determine how others feel about various boarding facilities. Most important, visit in person. If you, for whatever reason, feel in the pit of your stomach that something isnít right, walk away. Making sure the dogs get out for a daily walk or romp is important, but itís more important that dog play with others is carefully supervised.

I endorse the idea of a ďtest run.Ē Leave the dogs there for a day or so and see how it goes.

The good news is that your dogs will have each other for company. Leave something behind that smells like you, as well as a few toys and their food and favorite snacks. And, of course, any medication needed.

As for vaccines, proof of rabies is the law. Any legit boarding facility will also want canine distemper and control for canine infectious respiratory disease (kennel cough). Thereís a new kennel cough vaccine, which is given orally. Discuss appropriate vaccinations with your veterinarian.

Q. My cat licks my fingers, one by one, every night before I go to bed, and chews on them a little. Iíve never heard of this. Is this normal?

- D. D., Port Richey, Fla.

It could be your hand lotion or soap that is attracting the cat. If the cat is suckling on your fingers, thatís a kind of infantile behavior; itís an expression of insecurity or affection, but no real harm.

If the behavior is too much to deal with, whenever she goes to lick you, redirect your cat with a CET chew (which is a dental product available through veterinarians). Aside from the dental benefits, it simply takes a few minutes to chomp on and will keep your cat busy doing something else.

Visit pets.usaweekend.com for more from Steve Dale, a certified dog/cat behavior consultant.

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Contributing editor Steve Dale is a certified dog and cat behavior consultant. He writes a twice-weekly syndicated newspaper column and is the host of two syndicated radio shows. Most recently he is the author of two e-books that answer common (and some not-so-common) pet-behavior problems, Good Dog! and Good Cat! (available wherever e-books are sold).