If you need to leave your pet at a dog boarding kennel, some planning will make it easier for both of you.
Before taking your dog to a kennel, visit the facility for a personal inspection: Does it appear to be clean, does it smell clean, and is it well lit and ventilated? How is the temperature? Are the cages and runs of adequate size?
You can also contact the American Boarding Kennels Association to determine if the kennel meets accepted standards and is accredited.
After you’ve selected a dog boarding kennel, prepare your dog for the visit. Make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date. A kennel will reject your dog if his rabies vaccination isn’t current. Furthermore, even though you’ve selected a sparklingly clean boarding facility, your dog can be exposed to any number of communicable illnesses present in a boarding population.
If possible, stop by the kennel with your dog for a brief visit. He can meet the staff and become somewhat familiar with the surroundings. An overnight stay will do wonders to prepare the dog for a longer visit.
Always give as much information as possible to the dog boarding kennel staff. Obviously they will need to know about any medications your dog needs, food allergies, whether or not the dog socializes well with other animals, and what, if any, particular fears or phobias your dog has. If you are boarding more than one dog, you might want to request that they be housed in the same pen or allowed to exercise at the same time in the same run.
If your dog requires a special diet, the kennel may request that you provide a supply of food, depending on the extent of the dog’s special requirements.
Make sure the kennel has the name and phone number of your veterinarian and a phone number where they can reach you in case of an emergency.
Most dogs will benefit from having familiar items with them. A special toy, the dog’s blanket, or even one of your slippers will comfort the dog and stave off feelings of being abandoned. Don’t wash the item; familiar smells are important, so don’t destroy them.
When packing and preparing for your trip, do it as calmly and casually as possible. Hectic packing and rushing about will alert your dog that something is amiss, and by the time you’re ready to take the dog to the kennel, he’ll already be under stress. Gather the kennel items and have them in the car before loading your dog.
When dropping off your dog at the dog boarding kennel, remain as nonchalant and as calm as possible. Don’t be overly affectionate or do anything that might cause your dog to attach too much significance to his plight. The objective is to minimize, rather than exaggerate. Keep it low key – no long goodbyes, no tears, and no emotion. After handing the dog’s lead to a kennel staffer, let the staffer distract the dog while you quietly slip out.
If you’re a frequent traveler, your dog will get used to being boarded and in most cases will look forward to the experience, especially if he gets an opportunity to mix with other dogs at the kennel. He’ll get to know the staff and look forward to seeing them.
When both you and your dog get used to the idea of boarding and become comfortable with the experience, being separated will become much less stressful. While away, you will be at peace, confident that your faithful friend is safe and being well cared for. And, your dog will be able to lay back and enjoy his vacation as well.
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