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Boarding A Dog For The First Time

Pets are such a big part of our lives that it is important for us to provide them with the best care possible.  Finding the best boarding facility for their needs while we are away being no exception. Every pet is an individual and this takes special consideration when determining what type of facility is right for your pet.

Which Facility Should I Go To

Dog Boarding

Before picking a boarding facility, it is important to take your pet’s needs into consideration.  Would it be appropriate for your dog to stay in a kennel most of the day with a few walks or does he need more activity that a fenced yard would accommodate?  Dogs like Siberian huskies, German shepherds, and heelers are all high energy dogs that would benefit from more activity while you are away.  However, even if there is a play area an appropriate kennel size for any type of dog is a must.  It needs to allow them to lay, stand, and turn around comfortably.

Even after you have figured out what type of services and needs your pet requires you still have to choose where to take them.  Your veterinarian, Google reviews, and other pet owners are great sources for recommending a boarding facility.  Narrow your search to a few places and ask to visit the facility before you go.  Most places are very accommodating to this request if given some notice.  Ask questions while you are there about routines, requirements, cost, and any concerns you may have.  Facilities usually charge by a dog’s weight, length of stay and some offer discounts for multiple pets.

Boarding At The Vet

Dog Running

Does your dog require any extra services?  Administering medication may be best left to the professionals.  If your dog has multiple health issues and requires things like oral pills, insulin injections, and eye drops it would good to board them at a veterinary facility.  Let them know what works for your pet, does he like his pills hidden in a piece of cheese, bring cheese.  Not only is the staff trained to properly administer and store these medications but if something does happen to your dog they are able to treat promptly.

Boarding Tips

Dog Kennel

All boarding facilities require vaccinations.  Because these dogs are going to be temporarily living in close quarters with one another it is important to update their vaccines beforehand.  Make sure you know what vaccinations are required before boarding.  Many facilities do not offer the vaccinations at their facility and it will prevent the last-minute scramble to get to your veterinarian.  If your pet is already up to date get a printed and signed record from your veterinarian.

Preparing your dog for the stay is just as important.  Make sure your dog is well socialized to other animals and people.  Make sure the staff knows if your dog has any behavior issues, like aggression toward smaller dogs or doesn’t like men.  It is important for the safety of your pet as well as staff and other animals to address any behavior issues.  Any facility wants your pet to have the best experience while at their facility and if they need to be walked and exercised alone they will do that.

Get your dog used to being in a kennel if she isn’t already.  Make it a positive thing by offering treats and praise.  Start by leaving her for short times then gradually increase the time.  It will give your dog her safe place and make her more comfortable.

What To Bring While Boarding

Dog Food

Things to leave with your pet also varies.  Everyone wants to make their dog feel at home.  A favorite toy or blanket should be brought with caution.  Dogs are not monitored 24/7 at most facilities.  It may not be a good idea to bring toys that would pose a choking problem, like rawhide chips or ropes.  It all depends on your dog and how well they do with these items at home.  If your dog has ever had an issue with these things it would better to leave them at home.  Facilities offer clean bedding for your pets so home blankets are not necessary.  Depending on the length of stay they may get bored, chew on their blanket and you got home with scraps.  Most facilities stay very busy with laundry and your blanket may get lost in the mix.

The biggest item to bring is food.  This cannot be emphasized enough.  If the facility feeds the same food your dog is getting great, but if not bring your own.  It may be tempting because it is usually included in the fee, but upset stomachs are not fun for anyone to deal with.  Your dog is already being put in a new environment that may be stressful for them, adding a different diet can cause more issues.  No one at the facility or on your way home wants to deal with the nasty clean up.  Bring their own food and leave detailed instructions about time and amounts.

Dog treats are also acceptable items to bring.  If your dog gets a milk-bone after walks or a cookie before bed, bring those with you.  It is just one small thing that will keep them in their own routine and make them more comfortable.

Boarding Activities

Dog Outside

Most facilities have their own leashes when they take your dog for a walk.  However, it may be a good idea to bring your dog’s harness if they regularly use one.  Many smaller breeds do better with harnesses than a collar on walks to bring your pets because it fits them well.  Short coated dogs may need a sweater in the colder seasons for their outside endeavors as well.

Grooming may be another service that is desired while you are away.  If you are going for an extended period of time it would be nice that your furry companion comes home smelling fresh with her hair and nails done.  Additional services usually cost extra.

Nervous About Boarding

Be Calm

When finally dropping your pet off don’t treat it any differently than when you leave for work.  Too much excitement can cause additional anxiety.  The same for goes when picking them up.  Stay calm and relaxed.  You are both excited to be reunited but it can reinforce unwanted behaviors like jumping and urinating.

Hopefully, the above information has helped answer some common questions about boarding your pet.  Take your pet’s needs into consideration and do some research on the facility.  While you are away you will know that they are being well taken care of and it is one less thing to worry about while you are away.

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