Dog boarding can be a fantastic option when you need to travel for work, or simply take a vacation and you’re not able to take your furry friend with you. However, leaving your beloved family member in someone else’s care can be a source of anxiety for both you and your dog. To ensure a smooth and stress-free experience for your canine companion, proper preparation before their boarding stay is key. In this article, we’ll explore ten essential tips to help you prepare your dog for a boarding stay, ensuring their comfort and well-being while you’re away.
Start with Short Stays
If your dog hasn’t experienced boarding before, it’s a good idea to start with short stays. Begin by leaving your dog at the boarding facility for just a few hours, or give dog daycare a try to help familiarize them with the environment and help them adapt to the new surroundings. Gradually increase the duration of their stays as your dog becomes more comfortable.
Choose a Reputable Dog Boarding Facility
Selecting the right boarding facility is crucial for your dog’s well-being. Research and choose a reputable facility with experienced staff, clean and safe surroundings, and positive reviews from other pet owners. Visit the facility in person before making a decision to ensure it meets your standards and your pet’s needs.
Vaccinations and Health Check
Before boarding your dog, it’s important to ensure they are up-to-date on all of their vaccines. Most boarding facilities will have a list of required vaccines for your dog’s stay and you’ll need to bring proof of vaccination with you. Having a health check done prior to your dog attending a boarding facility is always recommended as it helps to prevent the spread of diseases and to ensure your dog is fit for a boarding environment.
Opt for a Familiar Environment
If your dog is not comfortable with crates or kennels, or they aren’t part of your dog’s daily routine, look for a boarding facility that offers an open-play or home-like environment. Some boarding facilities provide group play areas with ample space for dogs to interact and roam freely. This setup can be more suitable for dogs who feel stressed in confined spaces especially.
Pack Familiar Items
To help provide comfort and familiarity, pack some of your dogs favourite toys, bedding and an item with your scent on it. Having familiar items around can ease anxiety and make your dog feel more at home during their stay.
Maintain Regular Diet and Feeding Schedules
Consistency is essential for dogs, especially in unfamiliar environments. Provide the boarding facility with your dog’s regular food and feeding schedule, as sudden changes in diet can lead to digestive issues.
Leave Emergency Contacts
Ensure you leave multiple emergency contacts, including your own, a close friend or family member, and your dog’s veterinarian. This way, the boarding facility can reach out to someone you trust in case of any issues or emergencies.
Exercise and Socialization
A well-exercised and socialized dog is more likely to have a positive boarding experience. Before dropping off your dog, take them on a long walk or engage in active play to tire them out and reduce any pent-up energy.
Remain Calm and Positive
Dogs are very smart, intuitive creatures and can pick up on even the smallest of emotions shown by their parents. Stay calm and positive when dropping off your dog, as your anxiety or sadness can transfer to your pet. Offer reassuring words and a cheerful demeanour to help alleviate any stress.
When you return to pickup your furry friend, greet them warmly and shower them with affection. Once back home, be sure to observe your dog for any signs of stress or behavioural changes. Give them lots of love and attention and help them readjust to their home environment.
Preparing your dog for a boarding stay may require some effort and planning, but it’s well worth it to ensure their comfort and well-being during their boarding stay. By choosing a familiar environment, selecting a reputable facility and providing familiar items, you can make the boarding experience just as enjoyable for your pet as your vacation will be for you. With proper preparation, you can rest assured that your canine companion will have a safe and pleasant stay while you’re away.