A boarding stay can be a stressful experience for your dog. Even when you only have to put your dog in boarding for a short time, he will still be living in a strange place, being cared for by strangers, and staying near dogs that he doesn’t know.
Because of the stress involved with boarding, paired with the fact that your dog is in close quarters with other dogs, it’s possible for your dog to become sick during his stay. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can keep your dog happy and healthy.
#1 Vaccinate Your Dog Ahead of Time
Make sure that your dog is up to date on all of his vaccines well before his boarding stay. It is best to have your dog vaccinated at least a month before he will be going into boarding.
Most boarding facilities will provide you with a list of specific vaccinations that your dog will need to receive in order to stay at the facility. Be sure to also have your dog vaccinated against kennel cough, an illness which is common when dogs are kept in close quarters.
#2 Find a Top Quality Boarding Facility
The quality of the boarding facility that you use can really influence how healthy and happy your dog is during the stay. Look for a facility which is clean, well-staffed, and which provides the dogs with quality care.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions or visit the facility ahead of your dog’s stay.
#3 Prepare Your Dog With Brief Overnight Stays
If you will be leaving your dog in boarding for a period of more than a few days, then it’s a good idea to introduce your dog to boarding by having him spend a night in the kennel where he will be boarded during your longer trip.
Allowing your dog to get used to a facility can reduce his stress during his longer boarding stay.
#4 Provide Plenty of Food and Medicine for Your Dog
Don’t forget to leave your dog with plenty of his food from home. You should also provide any medicine that he needs.
Make sure that the food and medicine are clearly labeled, and include detailed instructions for feeding amounts and medication administration.
#5 Leave a Shirt or Blanket That Smells Like You
Leave your dog with a shirt or blanket that smells like you. This can be a reassuring item which can help to calm your dog.
#6 Ensure Your Dog will get Plenty of Attention
Before leaving your dog for boarding, you should talk with the kennel to make sure that your dog will receive plenty of attention during his stay. One-on-one attention from staff can help to reduce your dog’s stress.
You should also make sure that your dog will receive frequent walks and exercise opportunities throughout the day, which can help to keep him healthy.
#7 Monitor Your Dog's Health Once He's Home
Once your dog is home, keep a close eye on his health for a few weeks. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, dogs do pick up diseases while in boarding. If you notice that your dog seems under the weather, take him to your vet right away.
With a little planning, you can make your dog’s boarding stay as stress-free as possible. While spending time apart from your dog can be hard, you can be sure that he’ll be thrilled to see you when you pick him up after his stay.